Sunday, 4 December 2011

Basmati Rice: The Fragrant One

 I often use Basmati rice to accompany my curries. This is perfumed long grain rice grown mostly in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is without a doubt (but of course I’m not biased) the most elegant rice in the rice world, and there are over 40,000 varieties competing for that title with only ten of these grown commercially!* Further proof, the word Basmati in Sanskrit means ‘the fragrant one’. I arrest my case!

 Prepping the rice

The secret to cooking perfect Basmati rice is to prep it! Yes as simple as that folks! You need to wash the rice a couple of times. Swish the grains around the water to release the starch –the water should turn cloudy (the feel of rice in your hand is a nice stress releaser). After washing, leave the rice to stand in a bowl of cold water for an hour or so (30 minutes will do if you are in a hurry). I sometimes add a squeeze of lemon juice to the boiling rice water; this keeps the rice from clumping as well as brightening it up. The cloves add an extra aromatic spin to the final result.
Serves four people:
240g of Basmati rice (60g per person)
Enough water to cover all the rice
Four cloves (or cardamoms)
Lemon juice
1.  Put the rice in a heavy-bottomed pan with fresh cold water. Throw in the  cloves and add a squeeze of lemon juice.
2.  Boil for 10 minutes or until cooked – keep an eye on the stove, if you  overcook either the rice will stick to the bottom of the pan and/ or the rice will turn to mush!
3.   Drain and serve immediately.
4.   Fluff up the rice with a fork but don’t stir the rice to avoid breaking the grains.

* Figures taken from

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