A guide to no soak sona masoori rice including brands that are top notch.
Sona Masoori is a type of medium grain unpolished rice that is widely popular in India, especially in the southern states. The rice variety is also widely exported and can be often found abroad.
It is also known as Bangaru Theegalu, Samba Masuri, or simply Masuri rice.
It is valued for its distinct aroma, delicate flavor, and soft texture.
This rice variety is a hybrid of two rice varieties – Sona and Masoori. Sona rice is known for its aroma and Masoori rice is known for its soft texture. The combination of these two varieties gave rise to Sona Masoori.
It is a type of Indian rice very commonly available in the US along with Basmati Rice. (I’ve seen it at Costco in the US).
It is a great alternative to basmati rice and can be used to make Tamarind Rice or Puliogare, Coconut Rice, and sweet pongal to name a few.
In this post learn about how to cook sona masoori white and brown rice, popular brands, and the difference between it and basmati rice.
What makes this Sona Masoori rice so good?
- Subtle aroma that is often described as nutty or popcorn-like
- Flavor is delicate and slightly sweet
- Texture of this rice is soft and fluffy when cooked
- It is not mushy, so the grains remain separated
Similar to Basmati Rice, it is available in both white and brown varieties.
which makes it perfect for dishes like biryani, pulao, and khichdi. for making dosas and idlis.
One of the unique characteristics of Sona Masoori rice is that it is low-starch rice. The low-starch content also means that this rice does not stick together when cooked, making it perfect for making fluffy rice dishes.
- Dry rice
- Ghee or oil
- Whole spices (optional)
Brands of Sona Masuri
Keep an eye out for aged masuri rice which is premium quality rice. There are many brands available at Indian grocery stores you can check out.
|Brand||White or Brown||Organic or Conventional|
|1||Laxmi sona masoori rice||Both||Conventional|
Wash the Rice
Remove excess starch by washing the dry grains 2-3 times or until the water goes from cloudy to clear. I usually wash mine 4 times to remove extra starch.
How To Cook (White and Brown)
The method is the same for each approach. However, the water-to-rice ratio may change dependent on the brand of rice and your preferences. The water and cooking time also depends on the variety, age of the rice, and altitude of the location.
|Method||Water (cups) to Dry Rice Ratio||Cook Time||Model used|
|White Sona Masoori Rice|
|Stovetop||2:1||15-17 minutes, let sit 10 minutes uncovered||Non-stick pot|
|Rice cooker||2:1||~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||2:1||5 minutes – at least 12 minutes of natural release Select the PRESSURE COOK/MANUAL (High Pressure)||Instant Pot Duo|
|Brown Sona Masoori Rice|
|Stovetop||2 ¼ : 1||45 minutes, let sit 10 minutes uncovered||Non-stick pot|
|Rice cooker||2 ¼ : 1|| ~15 minutes (let run on Cook setting), then let sit 10-15 minutes covered once done|
If you have brown rice setting, use that!
| Hamilton Beach rice cooker (it is a basic rice cooker with only Cook and Warm options)|
|Instant Pot||2:1||22 minutes 20 minutes for perfectly cooked, but firm rice with a chewy texture (al dente rice) 22 to 24 minutes for softer rice||Instant Pot Duo|
Rice to water ratio: For soft, fluffy, nonsticky sona masuri rice: 2 cups of water for 1 cup of rice. For curd rice: 2.5 cups of water for 1 cup of rice. For fried rice, you can use 1 ¾ cups of water for 1 cup of rice.
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.
- Perfect side dish: for dals like dal fry or spinach dal.
- Fried rice: you can use leftover basmati rice to make Indian-style paneer fried rice.
- Vegetable dishes: Pair it with Gobi Matar (peas cauliflower shaak) or Bhinda Nu shaak (okra)
Make sure to keep leftover rice refrigerated in an airtight container.
Basmati Rice Vs Sona Masoori Rice
Sona masoori rice is unpolished, unlike basmati which is usually polished (except brown basmati rice). As a result, it is a preferable option for nutrient content, as the polishing process of basmati rice leads to a loss of nutrients. Additionally, it contains lower levels of starch and calories compared to basmati rice.
|Category||Basmati Rice||Sona Masoori Rice|
|Origin||Northern Indian + Pakistan||Southern Indian|
|Grain length||Long grain||Medium grain|
|Grain shape||Slender and pointed||Short and round|
|Aroma||Highly floral and nutty||Milder aroma|
|Texture||Fluffy and separate||Separate and fluffy but a little softer – easier to become sticky|
|Cooking time||Longer – polished rice||Shorter – unpolished rice|
|Uses||Best for biryanis, pilafs, and other rice dishes||Good for daily cooking, idlis, and dosas|
Perfect Sona Masoori Rice (Stovetop,Instant Pot, Rice Cooker)
- 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 it 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 (2¼:1 cups of water to rice ratio) and close the rice cooker with its lid.
- If your rice cooker has options, select brown 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,2 cups water and salt. Mix well.
- Close the lid, secure the valve. Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Naturally release the pressure for 12 minutes. Then do manual release.
- 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 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.