Basmati rice Recipe

One taste and imported white basmati rice will become your favorite—we guarantee it.

We have many friends who go from store to store looking for a brand they picked up on a whim, fell in love with, and want to find again.

It can be packaged in boxes, plastic bags, even burlap sacks.

Basmati is ever so delightfully delicate both in texture and flavor. It gives credence to the label “aromatic” rice.

The best grades are Dehraduni and Patna basmati, but just look in the box: the rather small, needle-like grains should all be whole, rather than broken.

Basmati is aged from six months to a year in burlap sacks layered with neem leaves—an ancient tree native to East India that is a natural insecticide—to dry it out and develop its flavor; basmati should never smell musty.

As it cooks, the grain elongates up to three times its length, rather than plumping out. Basmati cooks in a very short time, around 30 minutes usually, depending on the freshness of the rice (older rice will take longer).

This is also the recipe to use for domestic Della white basmati, Lundberg white basmati, and the lesser known imported Indian Tohfa and Kohinoor basmatis.

  • MACHINE: Medium (6-cup) rice cooker ;
  • fuzzy logic or on/off
  • CYCLE: Regular
  • YIELD: Serves 4
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1½ cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

1. Place the rice in a bowl and fill with cold water. Swish it around with your fingers. Bits of grain will float to the top; the water will foam around the edges and become murky.

Carefully pour off the water and rinse a second time. If the rice water is still murky, rinse and drain again; basmati usually takes two to four rinsings.

Discard the rinse water. An optional step is to let the basmati air-dry in the strainer for 30 minutes or to soak it in a bowl, covered with cold water, for 30 minutes. Drain well.

(Traditional recipes call for the basmati to be cooked in its soaking liquid. If you’d like, you can pour this off into a measuring cup and use it for cooking.)

2. Place the rice in the rice cooker bowl. Add the water and salt; swirl to combine. Close the cover and set for the regular cycle.

3. When the machine switches to the Keep Warm cycle, let the rice steam for 10 minutes. Fluff the rice with a wooden or plastic rice paddle or wooden spoon. This rice will hold on Keep Warm for hours. Serve hot.

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