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What Is Basmati Rice?
Basmati is a long-grain rice, which means that the grain of rice is about four times as long as it is wide. Basmati has a unique, nutty aroma and has a light, airy texture when cooked.
Basmati rice is extraordinarily versatile and can be prepared with butter and fresh herbs as an accompaniment to curries and braised meats. It’s healthier than white rice because it has less starch, which also allows whatever flavorful sauce you might use to completely coat the rice.
Long, Medium, and Short Grain Rice: What Are the Differences?
The unique starch composition of long-grain rice means that it does not stick together like other types of rice.
Medium-grain rice, like arborio (used frequently in risotto), is slightly shorter and has more starch content.
Short-grain rice is the starchiest and stickiest of all rice—think sushi rice, the classic in this category.
How to Cook Basmati Rice
Cooking basmati 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, use a rice cooker or a heavy-bottomed pot over the stove.
Rinse the rice using a fine mesh sieve and cold running water; or 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 pot, add salt, cover with a lid, and bring to a boil. 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.
Recipe: Cheesy Herbed Basmati Rice
- 1 tbs. olive oil
- 1 cup basmati rice (uncooked)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup broth (chicken, beef, vegetable)
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ cup green onions
- ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
- 3 tbs. fresh Parmesan cheese, Grated
- 1 tbs. fresh basil
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme
- ½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in large sauté pan. Add rice and garlic to the pan and cook until rice is slightly toasted (approximately 2 minutes). Add water, broth, and salt to the pan. Cover and reduce heat to simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender (approximately 15 minutes). Stir in remaining ingredients for a perfect rice dish.