Basic Basmati




I came across a way of cooking Basmati rice in one of your emails and just HAD to send this one out. First of all, let me tell you a little about myself. I am from Pakistan and all my life, at least one of my daily meals has had to have rice as the staple. Having said that, I wanted to give your readers a few tips on how to make fool-proof basmati rice. Here goes:
Put the rice in a strainer with a bowl underneath and wash in running cold water until the water runs clear. Then, fill up the strainer with water and add a couple of tablespoons of regular garden-variety white vinegar. Swirl the rice around in the "vinegared water". You'll see the water turning real cloudy. If you want, let it sit in this solution for a few minutes, then rinse again in running water from the faucet until the water runs clear. Otherwise just go ahead and wash it out under running water. I know a lot of recipes tell you to soak the rice. Personally I have never felt the need to.
Drain the water. Now fill your cooking pan with water, measurements would be one and a half times water for every measure of rice. For example, for each cup of rice, use 1 and a 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and add the rice.
Cook on high heat until the water evaporates and you start to see the top layer of rice. At this point, cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and put in a preheated 275 degrees oven for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, turn the oven off, fluff the rice and leave in the oven for at least another 5 minutes. I know it sounds involved but once you do it you realize it isn't. Now for ways to jazz it up. And there are plenty of them.
Add a teaspoon of salt to the cooking water.
Saute half a medium sliced onion in two tablespoons of rice, add half a teaspoon of whole cumin seeds, add the drained rice and half a teaspoon of salt, fry for a few seconds, add the measured amount of water and cook as above. (DELICIOUS!).
If you're feeling especially adventurous, saute the onion, add a teaspoon each of minced garlic and mined ginger, add cumin seeds, one cardamom, a sprinkle of whole mace, a sprinkle of powdered nutmeg, half a teaspoon of whole black pepper and proceed as above.
I hope you can use these tips in your newsletter because whereas I have found Americans to love rice, I feel they are not getting the true rice experience because of the fluffy mush that gets passed around as rice. Cooking rice has been a kind of initiation for most Pakistani and Indian cooks. it seems to be one of the "gold standards" of measuring a cook's ability. Zeba Gill,




16.0 servings


Wednesday, February 10, 2010 - 6:52pm



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