Vegetarian and Vegan
Cook basmati rice Indian style! It is a great and easy side dish or accompaniment to MANY Indian dishes.
What makes the best basmati rice?
- It is not mushy, so the grains remain separated
- The rice is fluffy when cooked
- A floral, nutty aroma
- Delicious, almost buttery taste!
summary key tips for good Indian Basmati Rice (Details below)
- Wash thoroughly – removing excess starch is important. I wash a minimum of 5 times or until the water runs clear.
- Coat basmati grains in heated ghee or oil before adding water to pot (optionally temper the oil/ghee for MORE flavor)
- Get the water ratio correct (may be different brand to brand depending on age of your rice)
- Look for visual cues that the rice is cooked (see picture below)
- Use a good brand of aged authentic Indian basmati rice (this is KEY)
Note: This recipe covers white basmati rice Indian style. Jeera rice is an excellent example of a flavored white basmati rice. Brown basmati rice is cooked a little differently.
- Dry rice
- Ghee or oil
- Whole spices (optional)
Use a Good Quality of Indian Basmati rice
Using a good quality basmati is important. Keep an eye out for long grain, aged basmati rice.
Aged basmati rice is better because it produces a lighter and fluffier grain which is key to the best basmati rice. Aging the rice ensures it is dried completely which is what lends the grain to a better texture.
The best basmati rice is India Gate. India gate basmati rice is the brand my family uses and has produced the best results for us. It is aged rice and produces extra long grains. The Royal brand is also aged rice and it produces good results as well. Find either at your local grocery store or online.
Signs of aged basmati rice
- The grains are slender and long as you can see above. When cooked, basmati rice grains will elongate to nearly twice to its length.
- Notice the tapered ends of the rice as well, this is another indication of good basmati rice.
- The color is also a brownish/golden hue, a sign of aged rice.
Wash the Rice
Remove excess starch by washing the dry grains until the water goes from cloudy to clear. I usually wash mine 5 times to remove extra starch.
The easiest way to wash basmati rice is to use a mesh colander to rinse until water runs clear.
Adding flavor to Basmati rice
The traditional way of adding flavor is to do a tadka or tempering of oil with spices. This tadka (heated oil with spices) is done first in the pot into which your rice grains will be added. Tadkas are a common part of Indian cooking.
I have often heard of people refer to rice prepared this way as “restaurant style Indian basmati rice.” But, it is really just a common way of making it in Indian homes so you see it an Indian restaurants!
One of the most popular authentic basmati rice dishes prepared this way is jeera rice. It uses cumin, cinnamon sticks, cloves and ghee and it is a huge favorite. I have also substituted olive oil for ghee and it still gives such a delicious taste.
Some optional ideas for other whole spices to use include:
- Cinnamon sticks
- Cumin seeds
- Bay leaf
- Cardamom pods
If you notice each grain looks separated and slightly turned up in the above picture, that is a sign the rice is fully cooked with separated grains. In Gujarati, you would say “kheeligya.” Meaning the rice “bloomed.”
Three Methods for No Soak Basmati Rice: Stove top, Rice Cooker or Instant Pot
The method is the same for each approach. However, the water ratio may change dependent on the brand of rice and your preferences.
|Method||Water (cups) to Dry Rice Ratio||Cook Time||Model used|
|Stove top||2 1/2: 1||~16 minutes, then let sit covered for 10 minutes||Non-stick pot|
|Rice cooker||1 1/4: 1||~15 minutes (let run on Cook setting), then let sit 10-15 minutes covered once done||Hamilton Beach rice cooker (it is a basic rice cooker with only Cook and Warm options)|
|Instant Pot||1 1/4: 1||6 minutes High Pressure|
15 minutes NPR (natural pressure release)
|Instant Pot Duo|
To soak or not to soak?
Soaking basmati rice is not necessary. There I said it. If you washed your rice until the water is clear and not cloudy from excess starch AND you use a good quality aged basmati, it is okay to skip the soak.
If you have time and soak basmati rice what happens? You will save a few minutes cooking time, but you are adding on soaking time. It may also enhance the aroma of the rice due to the lower amount of cooking time. Ultimately it is up to your preference on texture and method of cooking.
If you like to soak it, 25-30 minutes in cold water is a good amount of time but you will have to adjust the cook time.
What can you eat with basmati rice?
- Fried rice: you can use leftover basmati rice to make Indian style paneer fried rice.
Make sure to keep leftover rice refrigerated in an airtight container.
Authentic Indian Basmati Rice: Stovetop, Rice Cooker or Instant Pot
- 1 Pot For Stovetop method
- 1 rice cooker For rice cooker method
- 1 Instant Pot For Instant Pot method
- 1 cup aged basmati rice (rinsed at least 3 times) I use an aged long grain basmati rice – India Gate brand
- 1 tbsp Ghee or oil I use ghee or olive oil.
- 1 cup water* *Depends on method used, water to rice rations: Rice cooker 1:1, Stovetop 2 3/4:1 Instant Pot 1 1/4:1
- ⅓ tsp salt Adjust to your preference
Stove top Method
- Rinse rice (3-5 times) and drain until water is not cloudy. Use a mesh strainer for an easier way to rinse until water runs clear.
- Melt ghee on medium-high in pan.
- Add rice and mix thoroughly with ghee/oil, coating grains well in it.
- Add 2.5 cups water (make sure atleast 1 inch of water above the rice) and salt. Bring to boil (about 6 minutes). Once iy comes to boil cover and cook on medium for 10 minutes. Turn off gas and let it sit covered 10 more minutes.
- You will see the rice cooked and pointing up (see post for pics). Fluff the rice with a fork and enjoy.
Rice Cooker Method
- Wash dry rice grains well until water runs clear (about 3-5 times)
- Turn on rice cooker on Cook and melt ghee
- Add rinsed and well drained rice to melted ghee in pot and mix well
- Add water (1¼:1 cups of water to rice ratio) and close the rice cooker with its lid.
- If your rice cooker has options, select white rice, or else start the cook button.
- Once cook time is over, let sit 5-7 minutes. Open lid and fluff rice before serving.
Instant Pot Method
- Wash dry rice grains well until water runs clear (about 3-5 times)
- Press the sauté button on your Instant Pot. Let it heat up 2 minutes and add ghee to melt or oil. Mover it around the pot to provide a coating and prevent sticking.
- Add washed rice, 1¼ cup water and salt. Mix well.
- Close the lid, secure the valve. Cook on high pressure for 6 minutes. Naturally release the pressure 15 minutes.
- Fluff the rice with a fork and enjoy.
- Wash thoroughly – remove excess starch is important. I wash a minimum of 4-5 times or until the water runs clear
- Coat basmati grains in ghee or oil before adding water
- Look for visual cues that the rice is ready (pics in post)
- Use a good brand of aged authentic Indian basmati rice such as India Gate (this is KEY)
- If you want a softer texture, add 3-4 tbsp water more and cook 4-5 minutes longer covered.