White rice is a great base for just about every dish in the world. When making white rice, I usually flavor the rice with something. This can be one or a combination of the following:
- halved green chillies
- black and/or white cumin
- pinch of cinnamon powder
- 1-2 cloves
- handful of roughly chopped cilantro
- green onion
- fried onions
I have one tried and tested formula for making rice that I learnt from my mother. For more on that, and how to obtain the best results and troubleshooting tips, see my Matar Pulao or Peas Pulao post.
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 4 cups water
- 3 tbsp oil
- 1½ tsp salt
- any flavoring of your choice (optional)
Soak the rice in cold water for 1-2 hours.
Add the oil, salt and flavoring to 4 cups of water and bring to a bubbling boil.
Drain the rice and add to the water. Give it one stir to evenly spread the rice. Reduce the heat to medium low and partially cover the pot. Do not stir again while the rice cooks.
Cook until you see bubbles turning into holes on the surface of the rice. At this point, immediately turn the heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes (set the kitchen timer).
Uncover and check the rice. If the rice is not done to your liking, cover and cook for another 5 minutes. The rice should be completely tender, but not mushy; each grain should be separate and it shouldn’t be sticking to the bottom of the pot. When it is done, give the rice one or two stirs in a gentle, folding motion. Turn off the heat.
Put 2 tbsp oil in the water. Fry half of a thinly sliced onion in 3 tbsp oil until golden brown. Pour the onion and oil over the rice after it is cooked.
Why does my rice have a bad smell?
Each variety of rice has a certain aroma. It is a good idea to add some kind of flavoring (listed above) to it if you don’t like the smell of the plain rice that you are using. You can also try using basmati rice which is known for it’s wonderful aroma. Sela rice (marked as ‘Parboiled rice’ in desi grocery stores) has a particularly strong, rather unpleasant smell. It should not be cooked using the above given method.
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