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Old 01-18-2012, 05:22 PM   #1
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Basmati Mystery

Hi. I recently bought an enormous bag of Basmati rice from Costco. The first time I made it in our rice cooker it was wonderful; the aroma of it cooking filled the house and we all loved the flavor.

Unfortunately, I made it again last night and it was terrible! I think I rinsed it more this time, and perhaps the 1st time it sat longer in the rice cooker before cooking.

What do you think happened? Last night it seemed to have almost no aroma or flavor.

Thanks,

Laz

p.s. There are also was about two weeks between the batches of rice, but that shouldn't matter, should it?

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Old 01-18-2012, 05:57 PM   #2
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Okay. Some gueses. Bacillus cereus is a bacteria that affects rice and other cereals in storage. It can lie dormant as spores for a very long time, as can most bacteria spores. It's normally only a problem with cooked rice where it's held at a temperature favorable to the spores. Aspergillus flavus is a fungus that also afflicts a number of products, including rice. Fermentation in rice with higher moisture content is also a problem.

Overall, I'd say the rice spoiled. Perhaps the deeper layers bore some higher moisture, and the top was dry enough to be okay. Minor differences in cooking time and rinsing should not affect aroma or flavor dramatically. My inclination with something like this is to take the warning and dump the rest. Aside from the flavor problem, there's the possibility of illness, if it's a pathogen.
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Old 01-18-2012, 06:03 PM   #3
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The rumor from my Indian neighbor at the cottage is to let the rice soak for a bit after rinsing. I always cook my basmati open pot style. BIG pot of water, boil for 8-9 min and then strain add butter or ghee. Then I put it in a casserole dish in a warm oven until I'm ready to serve. But I don't have a rice cooker.
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Old 01-18-2012, 06:50 PM   #4
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That's the thing. There are so many variations on prep methods, and I've done them all except rice cooker, and have never had any of them, even the botched ones, completely spoil the taste. The texture can suffer significantly, but it always has the characteristic taste.
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Old 01-18-2012, 08:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GLC
That's the thing. There are so many variations on prep methods, and I've done them all except rice cooker, and have never had any of them, even the botched ones, completely spoil the taste. The texture can suffer significantly, but it always has the characteristic taste.
I will admit the first few tries I had some pretty mushy rice! That's why the 8 min open pot is my best result so far. Still a little sticky but I think truly fluffy basmati is a some sort of Indian secret.
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Old 01-18-2012, 09:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slett View Post
I will admit the first few tries I had some pretty mushy rice! That's why the 8 min open pot is my best result so far. Still a little sticky but I think truly fluffy basmati is a some sort of Indian secret.
I get truly fluffy basmati, but I use brown basmati. I rinse; put in the pot; add twice as much water as rice; add 1/4 tsp salt; bring to a boil; let it boil for 7 minutes (that's what works on this stove); put the lid on; and simmer for about 30 minutes.

I tried omitting the salt, because we had a guest who has high blood pressure, but it wasn't as fluffy and it was a bit sticky. It took me several times to figure out that it was the lack of salt doing it.
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Old 01-18-2012, 09:11 PM   #7
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I know there's a debate about rinsing rice, but I find that with most rices, rincing improves the final product by it being more uniform, less clumping. And since I rinse rice, I notice that some rices show little effect on the rinse water, and some need four or five rinses before the water gets close to clear.

So I rinse thoroughly, bring rice and water to a light boil and turn off the fire and let it sit with the lid on. It seems to help to not have the hot pot surface working on the rice.
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Old 01-18-2012, 09:18 PM   #8
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I cook all grains in the rice cooker...I'm talking about hot cereals. There is a bit of a learning curve. I have not done Basmati, yet. But have had no problems thus far with any type I have used. Basmati seems to be a bit more delicate, I would use about 25% less water.
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Old 01-18-2012, 09:25 PM   #9
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Interesting observation, because I've seen it written that one meaning of the name Basmati is "the soft rice."
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Old 01-18-2012, 09:27 PM   #10
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My first step would be to cook the rice following the package directions.

My next step would be to adjust the water balance and maybe cooking time. Recognizing that most rice requires a uniform steam cooking medium, I would refrain from peeking into the pan too often (or at all; my rule is never look even once).

Finally, upon obtaining successful rice I would adapt it to a rice cooker. Sometimes rice cookers can be fairly harsh and unyielding, and you have to adjust your ingredients/proportions before you send the robot off on its mission.
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