Perfect Basmati Rice recipe with 9 tips

Who does not like a steaming, fluffy pile of perfect basmati rice? But, cooking is tricky sometimes. Does your basmati rice end up sticky or mushy and does not hold its shape? With this Basmati Rice recipe, learn how to cook basmati rice with the absorption method that will give perfectly cooked fluffy, non-sticky, long grains, and each grain separate. Step-by-step instructions will make this the best and easiest method to cook rice on a stovetop.

If it’s your first time cooking rice on the stovetop, you are likely to have a lot of assumptions about the process. 1. It will take a long time to cook. 2. The rice may burn. 3. The rice will not be as good as Indian restaurants or dhabas.

With tips and correct rice to water ratio, just stick to this basmati rice recipe and you will never go wrong.

long grain basmati rice

What is Basmati rice?

Rice is the most important grain in the world. As per size, rice is classified into different groups. There is long-grain (Basmati, Jasmine, and American long-grain), medium-grain (Valencia or Arborio), and short-grain (Sushi rice or American brown rice).

Basmati Rice is a variety of rice. Wondering, what’s with the name? “Basmati” is in fact a Sanskrit word “vasmati” that literally means “scented one” or “fragrant.” Compared to different rice varieties, basmati rice has a floral aroma and a slightly sweet taste once cooked. It is considered to be one of the premium-quality white rice.

Basmati rice is popular for its unique aroma, tantalizing flavor, long grains, and delicate fluffy texture. It is the longest grain and fluffiest in rice varieties.

India is the world’s largest producer of rice and the leading exporter of basmati rice. Hence, you see several varieties of basmati rice available in the market.

Basmati rice is an integral part of Indian cuisine. In restaurants, long-grain rice is preferred for many dishes like biryani, bagara rice, jeera rice, plain rice, fried rice, saffron rice, and pulao. In North India, basmati rice is usually paired with rajma masala, chole curry, Punjabi kadhi, shahi paneer, or dal makhani.

Basmati rice is also used to make many Indo-Chinese dishes like fried rice (veg, egg, chicken), or tawa pulao, or biryani. For Indo-Chinese dishes, refrigerate the cooked rice for a few hours or best if left in the fridge for overnight. By this, the rice grains will firm up and decrease the chances of rice grains breaking while making fried rice.

Characteristics of Basmati rice

To get your hands on premium variety, you should look for:

Length: The longer the grain, the better is the quality.

Color: The premium quality basmati rice is not white as short-grain rice. Long-grain rice will have a slightly golden hue as the premium brands age basmati rice for as long as 18 months or even longer.

Shape: The grains should be slightly tapered on the ends and never flat.

Also, look for words like basmati, extra long, or premium on the pack, and aged for a year or two. My recommendations for a few brands are:

Daawat Biryani Basmati Rice.
Kohinoor Extra Long Grain Basmati Rice.
Aeroplane La Taste Long Grain Basmati Rice.
India Gate Basmati Rice.
Lal Qilla Traditional Basmati Rice.
Tilda Pure Basmati Rice (Outside India).

Why is Premium quality Basmati Rice Expensive?

The region with cold weather is suitable for Basmati rice cultivation. For centuries basmati rice is being cultivated at the foothills of the Himalayan mountain ranges. The rice field gets irrigation from the melting snow on the Himalayas and lends its unique texture and subtle fragrance.

In India, Basmati rice is mainly grown only in the Northern Indian states of Punjab, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, and parts of western Uttar Pradesh and J&K. This region has been earmarked as the ‘Basmati growing regions’.

Unlike normal/short-grain rice, it is very delicate. Basmati rice needs extra care, as it can easily lose its taste and texture if the processing goes wrong.

Apart from these, the aging process is another reason for the high price. The best comparison is with fine wine, basmati improves with age. Most producers age their basmati rice for as long as 18 months or even a few years to bring out the perfect color, grain length, and flavor.

Different techniques of cooking Basmati rice

  • Drain method:

Cook rice in an open pot in lots of water. When the rice is cooked, drain the water. But this method needs a constant watch to keep checking the rice. This method was followed by my grandmother and mother. After the use of pressure cooker and electric cooker, this method had been slowly fading away. Rice cooked with the drain method is less fragrant as the water is drained.

  • Absorption method:

This method follows specific rice: water ratio and is cooked in a heavy bottom pan with a tight-fitting lid. The cooked rice is more fragrant as the pot is tightly sealed. Also, this is the best method to retain rice’s nutrients.

This is my preferred method. All it needs is a pot and a lid.

  • Pressure cooker:

This method is common in Indian houses. It saves time, does not need babysitting, just count the number of whistles and the rice is ready.

The basmati rice cooked in the pressure cooker is a bit sticky (more moisture). The rice: water ratio varies depending on the variety and brand of basmati rice. If the cooker has any issue, the rice can be undercooked or mushy. Also, the cooked rice is less fragrant. So, I do not prefer this method.

The perfect basmati rice recipe depends on the method you use. For non-sticky grains, it’s important to use the correct rice: water ratio, and it varies based on the method.

Today’s recipe is about the Absorption method, in a pot or pan and it is the best method to cook basmati rice. It is the same as Dum cooking in Hyderabadi cuisine.

Perfect Basmati Rice recipe

Cooking rice is one of the easiest recipes. But, cooking basmati rice can be tricky sometimes, as there are different brands and varieties of long-grain rice.

While experimenting with different brands, I noticed the rice: water ratio varied. You can notice the same in many recipes on the internet too. After a few trials and errors, I came up with the exact rice: water ratio that works for most of the brands.

My Basmati rice recipe is easy and simple, add water to a pot, bring it to a boil, add soaked rice, let it boil again, cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed. With this basmati rice recipe, the rice will cook perfectly without a slight bite or al dente.

This no-fail Basmati Rice recipe is guaranteed to become one of your favorite recipes!

Reasons to make it

Naturally Gluten-free

OPOS – One-pot basmati rice recipe

Aromatic and fluffy rice grains

Rice grains retain the length

Cooked rice has a perfect bite

Non-sticky and the grains remain separated after cooking

Ingredients

For the perfect basmati rice recipe, you will need only 5 key ingredients.

Rice: I have used Daawat Biryani basmati rice. The signature of this rice is the length and its perfectly aged.

Water: You need 2 cups of water for 1 cup of rice. Use the water in which rice was soaked.

Ghee: It is added to prevent the rice grains from sticking and adds wonderful flavor.

Lemon juice: A few drops of lemon will help you get that sparkling white rice!

Pinch of salt: Add a pinch of salt to the boiling water. Rice grains absorb the salt better compared to adding it after the rice is cooked.

Tips for no-fail basmati rice recipe

Wash the rice: The texture of cooked rice mainly depends on rinsing the rice. Basmati rice has starch, but less compared to short-grain rice. But, it’s important to remove the starch so that rice grains are non-sticky. Wash the rice 2-3 times so that excess starch washes away. Do not skip this process.

No matter which cooking method you follow, always wash the rice well.

Soak the rice: Soaking the rice kick starts the absorption process, which reduces its cooking time. The aroma of basmati rice is heat-sensitive. The more time you cook, the less aromatic it will be. Soaking the rice shortens the cooking time, so you get the best flavorful result.

Also, the color of soaked rice turns out to be whiter than the non-soaked ones. 

Use soaked water for cooking rice: The soaked water has the aroma of basmati rice. So using the same water will only enhance the aroma. If soaked in plenty of water, use only twice the quantity of rice and discard the remaining.

Add a few drops of lemon juice: Adding lemon juice when cooking vegetables or rice, helps to keep their color bright. Also, prevents the rice from sticking together.

Do not stir the rice repeatedly: Basmati rice is a delicate grain. Only stir the rice twice, after adding to the boiling water to avoid lumps and after adding salt. If you stir the rice, again and again, the rice grains will break while cooking.

Wide pot or pan: Basmati rice expands to about twice or three times its original length. So select a cooking pot accordingly. I use a handi which is apt to make basmati rice varieties. You can also use a non-stick pan.

Do not open the lid while simmering: In the absorption method, steam is an important part of the cooking process. If you open the lid, all the steam will escape and it will affect the rice texture.

Cooking time: For basmati rice, the exact cooking time cannot be predicted. For me, it takes 12 minutes. It can take 10-15 minutes, depending on rice variety, age of the rice, hardness of water, the flame of the burner. Without soaking, the cooking time will be more (20-25 minutes).

Resting time: Once the rice is fully cooked, remove it from the heat and let it rest for 10 mins. The aroma will tempt you to open but don’t. Because of the steam inside the pot, the rice is still wet, sticky, and hasn’t finished cooking. If you stir the hot rice, grains will break as they are still soft and moist.

The resting time allows the moisture to settle down. Rice will continue to steam, absorb all the moisture and get firm.

Step By Step instructions

Step-by-step instructions for basmati rice recipe can not get simpler my friends.

Preparation

Rinse and soak the rice: Measure1 cup of rice. Rinse it well 2-3 times, until the water runs clear (as seen in pic below).

Add water and soak for at least 30 minutes.

rinse the rice and soak in water

Cooking the basmati rice

1.Add 2 cups of water (use soaked rice water) to a pot or pan and let it come to a rolling boil – the middle should be bubbling.

add soaked rice water to a pot and let it come to a boil

2.Add ghee/clarified butter, a pinch of salt, and 1tsp lemon juice to the water.

3.Add the soaked rice and give a good mix.

4.Let the rice cook on a high flame till the water level is just above the rice.

5.Turn the flame to low and cover the pot with a lid. I put a heavyweight on the lid so that steam does not escape. Cook for exactly 12 minutes. Turn off the flame and rest for 10 minutes.

6.Open the lid and fluff with a spatula.

Serving Suggestions

The aroma, flavor, and fragrance of basmati rice make it a versatile side dish that pairs with anything or as a bed to your favorite Indian spicy curries. For me, rice and spicy non-veg curry are made for each other. Other curry options are;

Basmati rice with rajma masala

Storage Suggestions

Refrigerate: Cool it completely and transfer to an air-tight container. You can store leftovers in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Freezer: To store beyond 3-4 days, you can freeze the cooked basmati rice. Will suggest freezing in small portions. Cool completely, transfer to a zip lock bag or freezer bag/freezer-safe airtight container. If you use a bag, squeeze out as much excess air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, keep the frozen rice bag/container overnight in the refrigerator.

How to Reheat leftover rice?

Refrigerated rice gets dry. So you need to rehydrate the grains while reheating

Microwave: Take rice in a microwave-safe container and sprinkle little water all over it. Microwave for 60-90 seconds or until warm.

Stovetop: Add rice to a non-stick pan and sprinkle water all over it. Heat over medium heat, stirring often until warm.

Pressure cooker: Add the rice to a container, place it in the pressure cooker and cook for 1 whistle on high flame.

Tried this Basmati Rice recipe? Let us know how it went in the comments below! You can also follow me on Instagram to see what’s latest in my kitchen!

Recipe card

how to cook basmati rice

Perfect Basmati Rice recipe

Author: Santosh Allada
Learn how to cook basmati rice with a simple method called the absorption method. Simple and easy basmati rice recipe for fluffy, non-sticky grains every time you cook.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Soaking time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 3 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup Basmati Rice
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1 tsp Ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 tsp Lemon juice
  • 1/2-1tsp Salt

Instructions
 

Preparation

  • Wash the basmati rice 2-3 times or until the water runs clear.
  • Soak the rice in enough water for at least 30 minutes.

Cooking the basmati rice

  • Add 2 cups water to a pot and let it come to a rolling boil.
  • Add salt, ghee, and lemon juice to the boiling water and give a mix.
  • Add the soaked rice and mix gently.
  • Continue to cook the rice on a high flame till the water level is just above the rice.
  • Turn the flame to low and cover the pot with a lid. I put a heavyweight on the lid so that steam does not escape.
  • Cook for exactly 12 minutes. Turn off the flame and rest for 10 minutes.
  • Open the lid and fluff with a spatula.

Notes

The measurements are for aged rice. If you are using new rice, the quantity of water and cooking time will vary.
Always wash the rice till the water runs clear.
Soak the rice for at least 3o minutes.
Only stir the rice as mentioned in the recipe. If you stir the rice too much, it’ll become sticky. 
 
 


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