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What Is Basmati Rice?
Basmati is an aromatic long-grain white rice common in Indian cooking. Long-grain rice refers to rice that is about four times as long as it is wide. Basmati grains have a unique, nutty aroma and the rice has a light, airy texture when cooked. It is gluten-free.
Basmati rice is extraordinarily versatile and can be prepared with butter or olive oil and fresh herbs as an accompaniment or side dish to curries and braised meats, as well as pilaf dishes.
What Is the Difference Between Long, Medium, and Short Grain Rice?
There are some key differences between these three types of rice.
- Long-grain rice has a unique starch composition that means that it does not stick together like other types of rice. Long-grain rice varieties include long-grain white and brown rice, white and brown Basmati rice, and Jasmine rice. Learn more about cooking Jasmine rice in our comprehensive guide.
- Medium-grain rice, like arborio, is slightly shorter and has more starch content. Arborio rice is frequently used in risottos, like this easy mushroom risotto recipe by Wolfgang Puck.
- Short-grain rice is the starchiest and stickiest of all rice—think sushi rice, the classic in this category. Learn to make the perfect homemade sushi rice with this recipe.
What Is the Difference Between Basmati Rice and Plain Rice?
Just like plain rice, basmati rice comes in both white and brown varieties. There are a few key differences between basmati rice and plain rice:
- Basmati rice is lighter and fluffier than plain long-grain rice
- It has a slightly nutty flavor and fragrant, rich aroma
- Basmati rice has less starch than plain white rice
How to Cook Basmati Rice in 4 Steps
Cooking basmati rice is easy and requires minimal preparation.
- Wash. Washing basmati before cooking is essential to ensure that the starch is removed. You do not need to wash the rice until the water runs clear, like sushi rice, but you should wash it a couple of times either in a fine-mesh sieve or filling a pot with cold water, stirring the rice with your hands, then draining and repeating.
- Soak. Soaking the rice can produce softer rice, though it is not necessary.
- Add water. Remember, for every cup of basmati rice, add a cup and a half of water.
- Cook. To cook rice, use a rice cooker or a heavy-bottomed pot over the stove.
Stovetop White Basmati Rice Recipe
Prep Time10 min
Total Time40 min
Cook Time30 min
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 3 cups water
- Salt (to taste)
- Rinse the rice using a fine-mesh sieve or strainer and cold running water. You can also try an alternative to this rinsing method: measure the rice into a heavy bottom pot and cover with cold running water. Stir, drain, and repeat.
- Soak the rice for up to an hour (optional).
- Pour water into the pot, add salt, cover with a lid, and bring to a boil on medium heat.
- Immediately turn down boiling water to a low simmer and let simmer, covered and undisturbed, for 15 minutes.
- Turn off heat and let steam for 5 minutes.
- Uncover, fluff with a fork and serve.
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