Basmati rice is popular for its aroma and taste yet cooking it can be tricky if you are not well familiar with it. I found out that simple techniques like soaking, incorrect water ratio, and not adding oil and salt, are the 3 common mistakes people make while cooking basmati rice.
Having a taste of basmati rice takes you to the Middle East where spices and herbs, nuts and aromatics overpower your senses.
It has its unique and distinct characteristics that make basmati rice stand out among the other rice variants.
Together with jasmine rice, basmati rice has also captured the world’s attention because of its fragrance especially when cooked.
However, a lot of people still find it hard to cook basmati rice.
Basmati rice is not only popular for its aroma but also for its texture which is soft and fluffy. Its grains are separated when cooked and its size lengthens to a certain proportion when soaked.
A lot of people say that both jasmine and basmati rice have the same aroma but for me, basmati rice has a more distinct and stronger scent.
Another special characteristic of basmati rice is that as gets aged, the more it releases an aroma. This is why most authentic brands offer aged basmati with 2 years minimum.
To get a perfect bowl of basmati rice, here are the 3 common mistakes people make while cooking basmati rice:
3 Common Mistakes People Make While Cooking Basmati Rice
Cooking homemade basmati rice need not be complicated as long as you understand the cooking techniques. You can achieve those long and soft grains that make this grain unique apart from its aroma.
Find out how to cook the perfect basmati rice by avoiding these 3 common mistakes:
For most rice varieties, washing and rinsing is a crucial step. In cooking basmati rice, aside from washing, soaking the grains is highly essential.
In my many attempts to cook the perfect basmati rice, I realized that I was always in a hurry to do it not knowing that its perfection comes from a simple step- soaking.
I searched it through most Middle Eastern recipes and found out that soaking basmati rice helps the grain expand and shortens cooking time.
Soaking also retains most of its flavor and texture, making sure you get the most of its taste and aroma by locking it through soaking.
- Measure desired basmati rice to cook. Put in a large bowl.
- Add in cold running water and rinse at least 3 times.
- After rinsing, add more water, just enough to cover the grains. Soak for about 30 minutes. The longer time you soak, the lesser cooking time you’ll get.
- Drain the water after 30 minutes and cook the rice.
Correct Water Ratio for Basmati Rice
Again and again, you always read that water plays an important role in cooking different rice grains and varieties. However, the only thing that differs is the amount needed.
For white rice, the general rule is 1:1 rice to water ratio. However, the water ratio increases based on the size, and hardness of the grains.
If you notice, colored grains such as brown rice, red, black, and the wild needs more water than any other varieties. Basmati rice, on the other hand, needs about a half cup more.
Basmati rice is different from other East Asian rice varieties. It has lesser starch, this is the content which absorbs much water, so basmati rice only needs less water.
So if you are cooking one cup of basmati rice, you need to add 1 and 1/2 cup of water. But, note that if you are cooking larger quantities, you need to adjust the water level.
For example, if you intend to cook 2 cups of basmati rice, you need to add 2 and 1/2 cups of water.
Seasoning Basmati Rice
Although homemade basmati rice does not need optional ingredients, however, if you wish to enhance the flavor, adding salt and oil greatly helps.
Oil locks in the water and avoid any spill-overs while salt releases much of its aroma when cooking plus adding extra flavor to your rice.
If you go to restaurants, you will notice that their basmati rice tastes way better, as always.
These two ingredients are actually their not-so-secret elements.
Seasoning basmati rice also makes it ready for different rice dishes you wish to prepare.
- After adding the correct amount of water into your basmati rice, add a pinch of salt and a splash of oil to seal in the flavor and aroma.
- For authentic Indian-style or Middle Eastern basmati recipe, you can substitute ghee instead of regular oil.
Bonus Cooking Tips
Apart from these 3 common mistakes, people make while cooking basmati rice, another bonus factor is the type of basmati rice used.
There are some authentic brands from India, and the Middle East, but only a handful of them has high-quality.
They have soft, separate, fluffy grains, perfect for a bowl of restaurant-style basmati rice.
Yellow Basmati Rice
Some cooked basmati rice has a yellow color which is achieved by adding saffron or turmeric. You can also add this great optional ingredient in your next homemade basmati rice.
- Warm at least a tablespoon of water or milk (whichever you prefer) in the microwave.
- Pulverize the saffron with your fingers and then add it to the warm liquid.
- Let it sit for about 10-20 minutes. This is perfect when you are cooking basmati rice on the side
- When the rice is cooked, get a quarter cup of cooked basmati and mix with your saffron.
- Add the yellow rice with the white and serve!
If you don’t want the strong scent of saffron, you can alternatively use turmeric.
You can do the same procedure as the saffron, but only replace it with turmeric.
- You can use an eighth teaspoon of turmeric and a tablespoon of water.
- Mix 1/4 cup of cooked basmati rice into your mixture.
- Add it back to the white rice and serve
Spices and Herbs
Indian-style basmati rice is infused with a lot of herbs and spices.
They mostly use different kinds of spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, bay leaves, and cumin seeds.
These herbs and spices make basmati rice more enticing and exciting to eat.
Whew! I can only imagine its goodness! It makes me crave for it! 😛
Making rice may have a general rule but then every variant has its own characteristics and cooking techniques. Just like today’s topic, there are 3 common mistakes people make while cooking basmati rice.
Soaking, water ratio, and seasoning the rice are the keys to achieving an excellent bowl of basmati goodness. I hope you get to note down the essential notes why these 3 are the topmost important considerations.
Have you tried cooking basmati rice? Let us know your cooking tips in the comments below!