I used not to know a lot about cooking rice. In fact I was practically dependent on those rice packets which you shove directly into boiling water and leave there until it overcooks, becomes mushy and inedible. All that until I discovered basmati rice, which at this point is my favourite type of rice. I had to do a thorough research before I actually learned how to handle that fellow. It all paid off in the end. My current knowledge in this topic comes from different sources, starting from my parents and ending on the Internet. Here are a couple of simple steps you have to take in order to cook a decent basmati rice. Don’t treat them as strict guidelines though. Experiment and decide which way works best for you. This post gets dedicated to my fiancé who always says he can’t cook rice the way I do ;)
1. Get rid of the starch
This step is a must. As much as you can fiddle with other steps this one is indispensable. Although in some types of rice starch is welcome while preparing risotto for example, here you really want to get rid of it. First of all soak your rice in cold water for around 30 minutes. Then pour the water out and rinse rice until the water becomes clear. Initially it will be a bit milky since it will be washing out the starch. It may take 5 or 6 good rinses. Drain the rice.
Personally I skip this step unless I flavour the rice. Make a well in the rice and add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Then add spices of your choice (cardamon, cumin, chili, coriander, ginger, garlic, etc) and fry a couple of seconds. Of course you can skip the spices if you want to cook plain basmati rice. Mix everything well and fry for around one minute until you notice some parts of the rice turning milky white.
Add boiling water. For two cups of rice add 2,5-3 cups of water. At this point you can add a pinch of salt. Stir vigorously once and cover with lid immediately. Boil on low heat until all the water evaporates. It is absolutely essential at no point during the cooking to lift the lid or stir the rice. You need to be careful not to leave it cooking for too long. Water evaporates pretty fast. It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes. To check if all water is gone just put in your spoon and make a small well to the bottom to understand if the liquid is gone. Although it may seem that we added too little water and rice didn’t cook well yet, it is essential at this point to turn of the cooking hob and cover the pot and let the rice steam for another 10-15 minutes. If everything went well each grain of rice should be beautifully cooked and not sticky.