How to cook perfect basmati rice

How to cook perfect basmati rice

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Cooking rice is relatively easy but it can also go horribly wrong very quickly. I have been cooking rice for over two decades and can not remember how many times I’ve managed to burn, yes burn my rice.

Rice in India is as much of a staple as Bread and Potatoes in the UK. So growing up it featured heavily in the weekly meal plan. Rice is popular for many reasons – it pairs well with majority of curries and is relatively cheap. But like other starch-heavy foods, it isn’t great for you eaten in large quantities.

1 cup of cooked Basmati White Rice is roughly 191 calories. Contains 0.61g fat, 5.59g protein and 39.85g Carbs.


There is good news. The way majority of Indian families cook rice is very different to the way in which you may cook rice. As rice was such a staple and eaten (in most families) everyday, the starch had to be removed (YES THIS IS A THING!).

The way my mum cooks rice is a little different to the way I cook mine. First you wash the rice, then quick boil it for 4-5 mins, drain out all the water (and the starch). At this point you add clean water, salt and finish cooking until the water has evaporated. The risk of cooking rice this way is that it is easy to over-cook your rice and end up with a softer, soggier rice.

When I cook rice these days I omit the draining water part (sshh don’t tell my mum!). I find it gives me firmer rice with less chance of it over-cooking and burning. As we have rice only once a week (at most) I’m less concerned about omitting all the starch.

My method of cooking rice still gets rid of some of the starch but not quite as much as my mums method.

Finally there are many different methods for cooking rice, but the simplest is the absorption method. This is how my family have been cooking rice for decades. The rice is cooked in a measured amount of water so that by the time the rice is cooked, all the water has been absorbed. As the water is absorbed the trapped steam finishes the cooking.


1 x full Cup of uncooked Tilda basmati rice serves a family of 4. You may need more Tilda recommend 60g dry rice per person. 1 Cup works for my family of 4 but obviously the girls eat smaller portions than myself or my husband.

1 tsp salt

2 cups water (use more if necessary)


Make sure you buy good quality rice. I tend to go for Tilda Basmati as this is not sticky and works well for Gujrati dishes. If cooked correctly. Like I’ve mentioned it’s easy to burn or over-cook and have soggy rice.

1: Wash the rice in cold water before use it to get rid of the starch..  Don’t handle it too much or you’ll break up the kernels.  Just pour some cold water in, stir it gently with your fingers and then pour the water out.  Do this 5 or 6 times (yes it’s a pain and depending on how cold the water is your fingers may go numb) you’ll see the water changing from a milky white colour to a clear colour.

2: Soak for 20-30 mins in clean cold water.

3: Drain the water and add 2 cups of clean boiling water and 1 tsp salt and place this on the stove on a medium heat (keep pan lid partially off so that the steam can escape).

4: Continue to cook this on a low heat with the lid partially off for approx 8-10 mins. Keep an eye on your rice as it may cook faster than this or need a little more water.

5: After 10 mins your rice should look very slightly undercooked (with most of the water having been absorbed) this is perfect. Switch off the cooker and close the pan lid shut firm. Leave for 15-20 mins and the steam will continue cooking your rice.

The key to cooking rice this way is to figure out the correct amount of water. You may need to experiment to find the amount you like and also different rice will absorb different amounts fo water. Wild rice and Brown rice for example require longer cooking and more water.

The other important element is a heavy-based pot (to prevent scorching on the bottom) with a tight-fitting lid that keeps the steam in.

A NOTE TO MY GIRLS: You both love rice.  You prefer your rice firm and with butter.  You will most likely burn your rice or over cook it when you first try but remember one thing – even Daddy can cook the perfect rice and lets face it Daddy is not the best in the kitchen. 


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