The Perfect Basmati Rice Recipe is a must have if you're a lover of South Asian Cuisine! This rice, well known for its fragrance and long grain, makes a delicious side dish for any meal. This easy stove top recipe will show you how to cook perfectly fluffy rice every time.
My favorite way to eat it is with a bowl of my Hyderabadi Dal, as part of my Korean Beef Bowls (yes, I swap the traditional jasmine rice for this) or a bowl of chicken curry!
Basmati rice is a dish that’s incredibly near and dear to my heart. A staple in my house growing up, I first learned how to cook perfect Basmati rice when I was 15-years-old by my maternal grandmother.
With her cooking method, I’ve figured out how to avoid mushy rice and end up with delicious fluffy grains every single time. Now I’m excited to share all of my family’s Basmati rice secrets with you.
Why I Love Basmati Rice
Of the 40,000 types of rice in the world, I have to admit that white Basmati rice is my favorite. A long grain variety of rice, Basmati rice has been harvested throughout South Asia for thousands of years, although India and Pakistan are now the two main producers.
It’s known for having a nutty taste and a richly floral aroma that compliments curries and traditional Indian and Pakistani flavors.
The Perfect Basmati Rice Recipe
Even though Basmati rice is extremely versatile, healthy, and uniquely tasty, it’s gained a reputation for being difficult to cook correctly. I promise that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
With only a few important tricks, Basmati rice will become one of those easy recipes that you can make without a rice cooker, pressure cooker or Instant Pot - just a medium saucepan and a little patience.
Infact, of the one thing I teach in my Cooking Classes this has proven to be everyone's favorite thing to learn!
Why Do You Need To Rinse The Rice?
I know that rinsing your rice may seem like an unnecessary step that only adds more time and dirty dishes, but trust me - it’s important. Rinsing the Basmati rice before cooking takes care of two important steps: Cleaning and prepping.
First, by rinsing the Basmati rice you’re washing away any lingering dust, dirt, or debris to ensure you’re cooking with clean rice. The rinsing process also gets rid of some of the starch on the rice’s surface.
This excess starch is the reason why rice can become gummy and clump together during cooking. With just a few minutes of rinsing, you can avoid all of those common rice mistakes and have perfect rice every time!
Why Do You Need To Soak Your Rice?
Just like rinsing, soaking the Basmati rice is a step you don’t want to skip. A good rice soak in water for about 15 minutes can drastically shorten the total cooking time. Soaked Basmati rice will also produce a softer, plumper texture, separate grains, and an even more aromatic flavor.
Not to mention, soaking Basmati rice will help remove arsenic and eliminate the phytic acid - a natural compound in rice that actually prevents your body from absorbing the important nutrients in rice like iron and calcium.
- Basmati rice - I normally use white Basmati rice in my cooking, my two go to brands are Royal or Zebra.
- Oil - I like to use Olive oil as it tastes and smells delicious on the rice.
- Salt - I usually opt for coarse kosher salt, but any salt you have on hand will do.
- Water - the rice to water ratio is key to fluffy basmati
- Place the rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse the rice with cold water until the water runs clear.
- Soak the rinsed rice in about 6 cups of water for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, strain the rice to remove all of the excess water.
- Fill a 5-quart pot with the 3 cups of cooking water, the salt and 2 tablespoons of the cooking oil.
- Cook on high, stirring only once, until there is only about ¼ cup of water left at the bottom.
- Reduce the flame to the lowest setting as soon as this happens.
- Cover the rice with foil and then the lid of the pot and seal tightly to trap all steam.
- Leave untouched for 15 minutes.
- Remove the foil gently, drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil on top and gently fluff the rice with a fork and serve.
Some ingredient substitutions to the list above.
- Oil - If you don’t have olive oil, you can substitute any other neutral cooking oils like grapeseed oil or canola oil.
- Basmati rice - You can easily swap white Basmati rice out for brown Basmati rice.
- Salt - You can use other types of salt as an alternative to iodized salt. However, keep in mind that other salt variations may taste saltier, so you may need to adjust the measurements to meet your preferences.
Suggested Recipes To Pair With
Basmati rice is so versatile that it can be added to almost any meal. In my kitchen though, I love to pair it with lentils, butter chicken and aloo gosht. Here are a few of the pairings you can use with your Perfect Basmati Rice Recipe.
- Kaali Masoor Ki Daal - Fragrant brown lentils that, when paired with Basmati rice, are a favorite Pakistani comfort food.
- Easy Pakistani Butter Chicken - Boneless chicken in a mildly spiced, creamy tomato sauce that tastes delicious with Basmati rice.
- Aloo Gosht (Pakistani Meat & Potato Curry)- A delicious curry that tastes positively heavenly with plain white rice!
Cooked Basmati rice should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or in the freezer. The Basmati rice will keep for up to four days in the refrigerator or up to a month in the freezer.
When you’re ready to reheat the Basmati rice, microwave it on medium heat for about one minute. Place a wet paper towel over the rice while it cooks to ensure that it remains soft and tender in the process.
Fluff your Basmati rice - Once the rice has finished cooking, fluff it with a fork or spatula. As the Basmati rice rests after cooking, the excess starch will become sticky and create large clumps in the rice. By fluffing the cooked rice, you’ll add extra air and let the rice grains separate, leaving you with perfect Basmati rice.
I also like to add a drizzle of fresh olive oil at this point, just like you would with pasta! It helps keep each grain of rice totally separate.
Basmati rice is actually incredibly healthy. In comparison to other grains, Basmati rice is much lower on the glycemic index and also low in fat and high in fiber. Plus, this grain is filled with important vitamins and minerals like Folate, Iron, Thiamine, and Zinc.
Yes! Basmati rice is naturally gluten free and a delicious dish to serve to anyone with Celiac Disease or a gluten intolerance
Trace amounts of arsenic are incredibly common in all types of rice, but no, you shouldn’t be concerned. The amounts of arsenic are so small that it won’t cause any health problems whatsoever. Plus, of all rice types and variations, Basmati rice has the least amount of arsenic.
Feel free to use any brand of Basmati rice that you feel comfortable with, but my personal favorite is Zebra Brand Sela Rice.
Yes, you can absolutely make Basmati rice in the Instant Pot. To adapt this recipe to the Instant Pot, rinse the rice but don’t worry about soaking it. Reduce the 3 cups of water to 2 cups and add all of the ingredients into the Instant Pot. From here, you’ll need to seal and cook on high pressure for 4 minutes before doing a slow release for 15 minutes.
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The Perfect Basmati Rice Recipe
- 2 cups Rice
- 3 cups Water
- 1 tsp Salt
- 3 tbsp Oil
- Rinse the rice and set it to soak for 15 minutes.
- Throw the water the rice has been soaking in after 15 minutes and put the rice, 3 cups of water, salt and 2 tbsps of oil on the stove on high.
- Cook on high till the rice has absorbed all but about 2 Tablespoons of the water.
- reduce your heat to the lowest setting, cover the pot with foil, sealing tightly around the edges and cover with the lid.
- After 15 minutes turn your stove off, remove the foil carefully as the steam that's released can cause burns and fluff your rice with a fork.
- Drizzle the remaining 1 tbsp of oil before serving.
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