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The particular Basmati rice I normally use (Aldi own brand), cooks perfectly with seperate, non-sticky grains using the following method. In a large pan of cold water (3 or 4 times the volume of rice), bring rice to the boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently for 5 minutes over a low heat. Drain well, add back to the pan, cover, remove from heat and let it steam in its own residual heat for 5-10 minutes. No washing or pre-soaking is required.

I tried this the other night with a different white Basmati brand (Tilda), the rice was al-dente and was still uncooked in the middle when I split it open with my thumbnail before I let it rest to steam. I simmered it in fresh boiling water for another few minutes, let it steam for 5, but by then it was overcooked.

Unfortunately, I have disposed the original packet with the cooking times on it. Could I have got away with just letting it steam for 5 minutes as normal, would this have cooked the rice right through? I remember as a poor student a long time ago just bringing rice to the boil in a pan, covering, turning the heat off, and leaving it to steep until it was the right consistency. Would this method be safe provided the rice was eaten as soon as it was cooked?

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  • If you really want to know minimal temperature, then this is related: cooking.stackexchange.com/q/108785/67
    – Joe
    Feb 12 at 18:37
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    I've found significant differences in how long brown basmati rice from different brands takes to cook using the exact same method – from ~20 minutes for one to ~40 minutes for another. I was pretty shocked as I had assumed rice of one type was pretty much standard. In the absence of a suggested time on the packet, I would follow a method that lets you see when the rice is ready rather than assuming one brand will behave the same as another.
    – dbmag9
    Mar 14 at 16:10
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    "I simmered it in fresh boiling water for another few minutes, let it steam for 5, but by then it was overcooked." I'm curious as to what you mean by "overcooked". My standard Persian steaming rice method involves steaming the rice for 45 min, so I'm a bit confused how 5 minutes could cause it to be "overcooked". What are you trying for here?
    – FuzzyChef
    Mar 15 at 20:46
  • It was starting to go slightly mushy, and the grains were sticking together. What I'm aiming for is seperate grains that are cooked through.
    – Greybeard
    Mar 17 at 18:39

2 Answers 2

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I wouldn't take the risk of messing around with the temperatures to be honest. Rice can cause food poisoning if not cooked or kept at proper temparatures. Also it seems like the method you are using is too complicated IMHO.

You could try the absorption method instead, it's so simple, and you really can't really go wrong with it. This method is rarely found on the rice packet. I find it gives the most consistent results.

Wash the rice thoroughly to remove excess starch. In a pot put 1 part rice to 2 parts water. Bring to the boil, stir once, and lower the heat to a minimum, cover with a lid and do not lift it again. Cook/steam on the heat for 10 minutes. Let it rest for 5 minutes off the heat. Fluff up the rice and serve.

I also use the same method for pilau rice, the only difference is you add some chopped onions and whole spices (bay leaf, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, star anise, cardamom) to some butter, fry for about 30 seconds, then continue as normal. Put a few strands of saffron in the cooking water for extra luxury.

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    I use 2:1 water-to-rice ratio for jasmine or calrose rice, when I want it to clump for eating with chopsticks. For basmati, which I normally want to present as separate grains, I reduce the water to 1.5:1.
    – The Photon
    Feb 13 at 19:49
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Similar to Billy's method… I do this will all rice types [except risotto etc]

rice:water ratio about 1:1.6 [ie a cup of rice to one and 'about half' cups water. No rinsing.
These timings work best with a 240v supply - ie, EU kettles are a lot faster than US ones.
Put the kettle on. Put your smallest saucepan pan on full heat. Add rice & salt.
When the kettle boils add water. The water/rice combo will flash-boil almost to the top of the pan.
Drop heat to minimum, one quick stir [not necessary if it really flashed properly] & put the lid on tight. Watch it for a second or two to make sure the heat dropped quickly enough.
12-15 mins max until if you lift the lid slightly you can hear the crackle telling you the last of the water is just going. This timing will change depending on how low your ring goes & how heavy the pan is. You'll have it nailed by the third time - lifting the lid spoils the timing, so you eventually learn the timing without having to constantly listen for it.
Switch off. Leave with the lid on a further 15 mins.
Fluff & serve.

If even after a couple of tries it's still coming up too sticky, reduce your initial water. On the other hand if you're making Japanese, start a bit wetter.

BTW, I've never tried this with supermarket par-boiled rice, only ever 'real' rice.

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