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Basmati means "the fragrant one" in Hindi. Basmati rice is mostly cultivated in the Indian subcontinent at the Himalayan foothills. India and Pakistan are the largest cultivators and exporters of this grain.
Basmati is a variety of long grain rice, famous for its subtle aroma and delicious taste. The grains are much longer than others. They are wide and grow even longer as they cook. They stay firm and separate, not sticky, after cooking.
When cooked, this rice puffs up length-wise and becomes very fluffy, which is fantastic for mingling with spicy foods and sauces.
Due to the high amount of starch clinging to the rice grains, many cooks wash this rice before cooking it. Soaking it for half an hour to two hours before cooking makes the grains less likely to break during cooking.
Basmati rice has a Medium Glycemic Index (GI) of between 56 and 69, as compared to certain other grains and products made from white flour.
- Put the rice into a medium saucepan. Rinse it with cold water thoroughly before cooking, because there is so much starch clinging to its grains. Wash 2 to 3 times with your hands.
- Drain the water again and then fill with fresh water. The quantity should be 1 cup of rice and 1 1/2 cups water to boil if you want firm rice.
- Add the correct amount of water and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Bring to a boil.
- Make sure you cook it in a heavy pot and do not disturb the rice or take a peek while it's in the middle of cooking.
- When it boils, lower the heat, simmer for 12-14 minutes before turning off the heat.
- Remove from heat and stand covered, for another 5-10 minutes. until you're ready to serve. The rice should have absorbed all the water and will just need fluffing up with a spoon.
Cooking Basmati Rice Using the Rice Cooker
If you are not comfortable using the stove-top method, you can always use the rice cooker as an alternative. Using a rice cooker to cook this grain is simple and convenient.
- Put the desired amount of rice you need in the bowl of the cooker.
- Wash the rice, and adjust the quantity of water.
- Example: If you use 2 cups of basmati, the water level in the cooker should be 2 1/2 level, if you like your grains more tender.
- Or if you used 2 cups of rice, the water should be in 2 levels of the rice cooker if you want firm rice.
When the rice is cooked, the rice cooker will automatically turn down the heat, so the rice will not burn.
Some More Tips in Cooking Basmati Rice
In some cookbooks, it is recommended that, to make sure you get lovely and fluffy rice, wash it in several changes of cold water, then leave to soak for about 30 minutes in fresh cold water.
It is also recommended to experiment, using the different brand of basmati rice to find the proportions which work best for you.