Learn the basics of Indian food and curries with 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer, including primers on Cooking Rice and how to make Ghee, or Clarified Butter; and a recipe for Stewed Pineapple with Raisins and Chiles (Anaras Ambol).
There are many ways to cook basmati (and all other kinds of rice). The two ideal ways are the absorption/steeping method and the open-pot pasta method. Some people use rice cookers and even pressure cookers to cook this delicate grain, and I find that they generate too intense a heat, resulting in a mushy, overcooked texture. To salt or not to salt the rice is the Shakespearean query. In my curry recipes I use just enough salt to bring out the flavors, so I do recommend salting.
Makes 3 cups
1. Place the rice in a medium-size saucepan. Fill the pan halfway with water, to cover the rice. Gently rub the slender grains through your fingers, without breaking them, to wash off any dust or light foreign objects, like loose husks, which will float to the surface. The water will become cloudy. Drain this water. Repeat three or four times, until the water remains relatively clear; drain. Now add 1-1/2 cups cold water and let it sit at room temperature until the grains soften, 20 to 30 minutes.
2. Stir in the salt, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until the water has evaporated from the surface and craters are starting to appear in the rice, 5 to 8 minutes. Now (and not until now), stir once to bring the partially cooked layer from the bottom of the pan to the surface. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid, reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes (8 for an electric burner, 10 for a gas burner). Then turn off the heat and let the pan stand on that burner, undisturbed, for 10 minutes.
3. Remove the lid, fluff the rice with a fork, and serve.
Makes 3 cups
1. Fill a large saucepan halfway with water, and bring it to a rolling boil over medium-high heat.
2. While the water is heating, place the rice in a medium-size saucepan. Fill the pan halfway with water, to cover the rice. Gently rub the slender grains through your fingers, without breaking them, to wash off any dust or light foreign objects, like loose husks, which will float to the surface. The water will become cloudy. Drain this water. Repeat three or four times, until the water remains relatively clear; drain.
3. Add the rice to the boiling water, and stir once or twice. Bring the water to a boil again and continue to boil the rice vigorously, uncovered, stirring very rarely and only to test the kernels, until they are tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Immediately drain the rice into a colander and run cold water through it to stop the rice from continuing to cook. (The problem with his method is that the grain will go from just-right to overcooked in mere seconds if you are not attentive.)
4. Transfer the rice to a microwave-safe dish and stir in the salt. Just before you serve it, rewarm it at full power, covered, for 2 to 4 minutes.
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This page created July 2008
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