The aroma of freshly prepared basmati rice is one that conjures up memories, both old and new. For many patrons, the smell of fresh basmati rice cooking in an Indian restaurant or in your grandmother’s kitchen can elicit nostalgic memories and bring back fond recollections. The aroma is welcoming and instantly recognizable when one walks into such an establishment and can quickly transport you to different places across the globe.
Basmati rice pairs perfectly with all kinds of Indian dishes, from curries to biryanis and pulaos. Learning how to cook rice is a fundamental culinary skill that all of us should know. With just a few simple tips on how to choose the right rice, cooking method, useful tips to cook it perfectly every time – you too can master the art of preparing tasteful and healthy Indian style Basmati Rice!
WHAT IS BASMATI RICE
Rice is one of the oldest and most consumed grains in the world. In India, rice has been a staple food since ancient times, and many families have their own recipes and traditions around it. Basmati rice is a fragrant, nutty-tasting long grain rice grown in the Himalayas and Pakistan. “Bas” in Hindi language means “aroma” and “mati” means “full of”, hence the word Basmati literally translates to “full of aroma.”
Basmati rice is a long-grain rice that is native to the Indian subcontinent. It is known for its delicate flavor and fluffy texture. Basmati rice is low in fat and cholesterol free, it makes a healthy addition to any meal. It is the most popular rice variety in India and is an integral part of Indian cuisine. Basmati rice is used to make traditional dishes such as biryani, pulao, and even desserts like kheer or phirni, both a form of rice pudding!
IMPORTANCE OF BASMATI RICE IN INDIAN CULTURE
Basmati rice holds a special place in Indian culture since it’s associated with many fond memories. From family dinners to wedding celebrations, basmati rice has been a staple at these events for centuries. It also carries spiritual significance in many cultures due to its long grain that symbolizes longevity. The aroma of this special variety makes it even more sought after as it adds flavor and aroma to any dish it’s cooked with.
As a part of spiritual rituals and ceremonies in India, rice is offered to gods during puja/ worship or used to decorate temples during festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi. Ganesh Chaturthi is a Hindu festival commemorating the birth of the Hindu deity Ganesha, the god of prosperity and wisdom… also known as the Elephant headed Indian god in the west.
Rice also played a role in ayurvedic healing practices where poultices made from boiled rice were applied to cure ailments like skin rashes or headaches.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT RICE
To ensure you purchase the highest quality grains available, look for brownish colored grains with a uniform size and shape. This usually indicates better taste and texture than white grain varieties. Rice develops the brownish tinge over time,more aged the rice more brownish it will be.
Also check that your chosen brand has been aged at least 12 months before packaging. Aging helps develop flavor more naturally by allowing starches to break down slowly over time. Additionally, try to buy organic if possible as this helps reduce exposure to pesticides which may contain harmful toxins.
Finally, considering nutrition is also important when choosing Basmati Rice since not all types offer equal health benefits due to varying levels of fiber content and micronutrients like iron, magnesium and zinc present in them. Generally speaking all forms of rice are low fat and cholesterol free, so they do make a great addition to any meal plan!
When it comes to choosing the right type of Basmati Rice, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. The most important factor is to decide what type of dish you will be using the rice for – boiled, fried or steamed. Different varieties of basmati rice have been developed over time based on their intended use and cooking method.
BENEFITS OF EATING BASMATI RICE
Here are some of the benefits of eating basmati rice:
- Basmati rice is a superb source of energy-giving carbs.
- Regulate your digestion by eating basmati rice as it is a good source of fiber.
- Iron, which is necessary for the creation of red blood cells, is present in basmati rice in adequate amounts.
- Since basmati rice contains a lot of magnesium, it benefits both bone health and muscular health.
- Eating basmati rice contributes to active metabolism and bone health, as it has good quantity of manganese present in it.
STEPS TO FOLLOW BEFORE COOKING RICE
- Washing and rinsing – Before cooking Basmati Rice, it is important to properly wash and soak the rice. Washing the grains helps get rid of any dirt or debris that may be present while also helping remove some of the starch which can lead to a sticky texture when cooked.
To do this, simply place your desired amount of rice in a bowl and fill it with cold water before gently stirring and rubbing the grains together with your fingertips for about two minutes. Drain off the cloudy water. Rinse the rice two or three times, until all traces of dirt are removed from the grain.
- Soaking – Once you’ve finished washing, soaking is necessary as it allows each grain to absorb enough moisture so that they will cook evenly without becoming too dry or mushy during cooking. Place your washed rice in a container large enough for them to move freely around in then add an equal amount of cold water (for example 1 cup rice : 1 cup water).
Let this sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before draining off any excess liquid – you should now be ready start preparing delicious Indian style Basmati Rice!
STEPS ON HOW TO COOK BASMATI RICE
To begin with, the key to perfectly cooked Basmati Rice is to use the right ratio of rice to water while cooking. This in turn depends on how long you soak your grains for, irrespective of . If you soak rice in water for more than 30 minutes, then use a 1:5 ratio to cook basmati rice. For shorter soaking times use a 1: 2 ratio for cooking rice.
Once the correct proportions have been established, place your pot containing the rice and water over medium-low heat without lid. Bring it to a boil before reducing the temperature slightly so that it simmers gently. At this point, put the lid on to let the rice cook evenly at medium low heat, basically the lowest setting on your stove. This takes around 10-15 minutes depending on how much was cooked earlier.
When done, reduce heat even further until there is no visible steam rising from the pot and turn off completely when there’s just one bubble every few seconds – this indicates that all excess liquid has been absorbed by the grains, and they are now ready to eat! Finally, fluff up your Basmati Rice using a fork or spoon before serving as this helps separate each grain from each other creating light fluffy pieces of deliciousness!
Once you have finished cooking your Basmati Rice, it is important to immediately remove the pot from heat and allow the grains to rest for a few minutes before serving. This helps ensure that each grain is cooked evenly as any remaining steam will finish cooking them during this time.
Additionally, allowing the rice to settle in its own heat ensures there won’t be too much moisture present when served.Otherwise, rice can turn out to be clumpy or soggy. To really take your Basmati Rice dish up a notch – fluff with a fork or spoon just before serving, this makes all the difference! This simple step adds an extra bit of lightness and fluffiness making every bite an absolute delight!
To do this, simply use a long-handled utensil such as a fork or spoon and gently mix around the grains being careful not to break them apart. Doing so separates each piece from its neighbors while also releasing some of their natural aroma leading to tastier results overall – perfect for impressing your guests at dinner parties or special occasions!
DIFFERENT TYPES OF BASMATI RICE AVAILABLE TO USE
The key to making perfect basmati rice is to start with a high-quality brand of rice, preferably one imported from India or Pakistan. The one I prefer to use is DUNAR’S – Elonga “Extra long basmati rice” in a 10 lbs. (4.54 Kgs) bag available at most Indian grocery stores. As of November 2022, this bag costs . A 10 lbs. bag is roughly 21-23 cups of uncooked rice.
Few other varieties of basmati rice available in US:
|Amazon, Better deals at Indian grocery stores
|Sam’s Club @ $20.78,
|Walmart @ $21.64,
Since different varieties of rice grains are different in size, volume and weight, you would need to specify the kind of rice for accurate conversion. Cups are a volume measure which you need for various recipes as compared to weight.
- Basmati rice – Choose a variety you like for it’s taste, fragrance and of course, the price!
- Water – Fresh drinking water is required for soaking, rinsing and cooking rice. I refrain from soaking rice, lentils or other food products in heavy chemically treated water.
- Salt – A tiny pinch of salt goes a long way to in enhancing the natural flavor of basmati rice.
- Ghee, cooking oil or butter – I prefer to cook with ghee. However, it is a matter of personal choice, use the fat you like to cook your rice with.
- Whole spices – I used whole spices like mace, black cardamom, star anise, bay leaves, cumin seeds for this recipe. These can be substituted with green cardamoms, cinnamon barks, shahi jeera (caraway seeds), dried mint, etc.
NUTRITION : CALORIES PER 100g (FOR DIFFERENT TYPES OF RICE)
The table below shows the differences in calories per 100g of rice for different kinds. As you can see, there is little difference in calories between each type, with the average value being around 350kcal per 100 dry rice.
100g of dry rice is considered a large portion, and once cooked, it will weigh around 300g due to water absorption. A regular portion of rice weighs 75g, contains 263kcal, and will weigh around 225g once cooked.
|Calories Per 100g (dry weight)
|Long-grain white rice
|Brown (whole grain) rice
|Risotto rice (Arborio)
MULTIPLE WAYS TO COOK BASMATI RICE:
- The traditional way to cook basmati rice is to use a pot on the stove. To do this, rinse the rice in cold water until the water runs clear. Then, combine the rice and water in a pot in a 2:1 ratio. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let the rice sit for 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
- You can also cook basmati rice in a rice cooker. To do this, rinse the rice in cold water until the water runs clear. Then, combine the rice and water in the rice cooker in a 2:1 ratio. Add a pinch of salt and close the lid. Press the “Cook” button and let the rice cook until it is done.
- You can also cook basmati rice in the microwave. To do this, rinse the rice in cold water until the water runs clear. Then, combine the rice and water in a microwave-safe bowl in a 2:1 ratio. Add a pinch of salt and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Microwave the rice on high for 5 minutes, then stir. Microwave the rice for an additional 5 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through.
No matter how you choose to cook it, basmati rice is a delicious and versatile grain that can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes.
Basmati rice – Indian Recipe
- Basmati rice soaked for 15-20 minutes and drained 1 1/2 cup
- Ghee 2 tablespoons
- Bay leaves 2
- Cloves 4-5
- Green cardamoms 3-4
- Black peppercorns 5-6
- Caraway seeds 1/2 teaspoon
- Salt to taste
- Saffron strands a few
- Heat ghee in a deep non-stick pan, add bay leaves, cloves, green cardamoms, peppercorns and caraway seeds and sauté till fragrant.
- Add 5 cups water, salt and saffron, mix and bring the mixture to boil.
- Add rice, mix and cook till ¾ done. Drain in a colander.
- Spread on a tray, cool and use as required.
Basmati rice is a delicious and versatile rice that can be used in a variety of dishes. With these tips, you can cook perfect basmati rice like Indians every time.
- Type of Rice – Use a good quality basmati rice. The quality of the rice will make a big difference in the final result.
- When cooked right, the size of basmati grain literally doubles to the original size… as seen in one of the images in this post.
- Prep Before Cooking – It’s also important to rinse the rice under running water for a minute or two before cooking. This will remove any excess starch, prevents the grains from sticking together once cooked and make the rice fluffier.
- Use the correct ratio of rice to water. For every cup of rice, use 2 cups of water.
- Equipment – Use the proper-sized pot. The rice cooks unevenly and tends to be stickier at the bottom if you cook large quantity of rice in a small pan.
- Heavy & tight fitting lid – In addition to proper-sized pot, a heavy & tight fitting lid is essential to perfectly cooked rice. A loose or lightweight lid results in loss of water when it overflows, as well as steam.
- During Cooking – Let the rice rest for 10 minutes before serving. Rice that has just been cooked is typically moist, sticky, and half cooked. While they are at rest, the grains absorb the liquid and turns less sticky.
- Toast the rice in a dry pan before cooking for a nutty flavor.
- Add a bay leaf or cardamom pods to the water for a more aromatic rice.
- Do not peek while the rice is cooking because doing so results in steam escaping and uneven cooking. This is applicable to all varieties of rice you cook and eat.
- Resist the urge to poke the rice with spatula, doing so will result in broken grains of rice.
- Don’t overcook the rice. Overcooked rice will be mushy.
- Add a pinch of saffron to the water for a more flavorful rice.
- After Cooking – Let the rice rest after cooking. Mainly to allow the rice to absorb any remaining water and become fluffy.
- Serve the rice with your favorite Indian curry or dal.
With these simple tips in mind, you too can master the art of preparing delicious Indian style Basmati Rice easily at home. Feel free to share any tips or tricks you use to prepare basmati rice under the comments section.
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