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Old 06-22-2005, 05:57 AM   #11
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You don't need to rinse real basmati to cook in a microwave (and you don't need a special rice cooker - just a pyrex dish with lid will do)- about 1 1/2 cups of rice to 3 cups of HOT water (or preferably hot chicken stock for great flavoured rice) for about 15 mins on high. Let it stand for about 3 mins & fluff with a fork. You will get a loose rice with the benefit of all the starch attached. If you DO want to rinse the rice for an even more free grain result, remember to drain it very well and reduce the cooking liquid a little. However, if it is NOT real basmati you'll end up with a gluggy mess as long grain tends to be more absorbent, needing less liquid & a shorter cooking time.

Michael said that Americans don't like sticky rice - neither do I (cos I'm too lazy to learn how to use chopsticks - I just shovel it in with a fork!!!!) The only time I like my rice sticky is when I'm making sushi.

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Old 06-22-2005, 05:45 PM   #12
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the best wey to cook plain basmati rice is to wash the rice twice or thrice with cold water and let it soak for 10,15 minutes.If the rice is one cup,use 2 cups of water,bring it to a boil,drain the rice and put it in the pot of boiling water,add a little salt,a few drops of lemon juice and one tsp of oil to the water in which the rice is cooking,let it cook for a while undisturbed,when ther'es very little water left(that is,the water is so little that you can see the rice clearly,and looks just a little wet),cover the pot tightly and let it cook for another 10 minutes on a very low flame.After 10 minutes,uncover and fluff the rice once or twice.I hope this works for you.
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Old 06-22-2005, 10:21 PM   #13
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You know, I never wash the rice even though I was taught to and I grew up doing it. The only time I ever do it is when I'm making sushi rice. Other than that, it goes straight into the rice cooker with water. Again, most white rice should be on a 1:1 ratio with water. Brown rice should be on a 1.25:1 ratio, with 1.25 being the water.
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Old 06-23-2005, 08:05 AM   #14
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Before I met my husband and moved to Hawaii, I, too, thought that rice was a matter of cooking it "right" to get a certain texture. Now I have a limited amount of storage space, but it still is normal for me to have three kinds of rice on hand.

If you want that lovely, separated, not very starchy feel to your rice, buy converted (Uncle Bens is the best known brand). Don't let anyone bully you into it "not really being rice". In fact, the method brought about to make it was meant to keep more nutrition in each grain, and it takes slightly LONGER too cook than others, and many restaurants use it for its pretty perfection. I use it for cold rice salads.

Basmati and Jasmine rices are different, but have similar uses. Most obviously Basmati for Indian food, Jasmine for Thai. Right now I have both on hand, but if I don't have one will use the other. They are VERY long grain rices, and can be delicate.

"rice cooker" rice ... CalRose is the best known brand, but short grain rice is what rice cookers were meant to cook. Not a separate grain, fluffly, un-starchy rice. This is a rice meant to be eaten with chopsticks. I use short grain rice interchangeabley, even have made (shock, shock, how dare you) risotto with it (arborio is a short grain rice). Definitely sushi. When I lived in Hawaii, everyone owned a rice cooker, and everyone used CalRose or similar, bought it by the 40 or 50 lb bag. Rice cookers were not meant to give you that look and feel of individual grains of non-starchy rice. They're meant to provide your family with a cheap-but-filling meal you can eat with chopsticks.

American long grain rice is somewhere in between all of these. It is something (Before Hawaii) was the only rice I knew. Now I rarely buy it, although it is a great product that spans everything and probably feeds a good portion of the world.

I just did a survey of my pantry for the heck of it and came up with some CalRose (short grain), Jasmine, Basmati (very long grain), a bit of converted (need more, salad season is here) and some brown (husband was on a whole-grain kick for awhile there, but suspect I'll never cook it and donate it to the food pantry, because he doesn't like it AT ALL, in spite of the whole grain kick).

OH! Wild Rice. Takes longer to cook, and is great with game. Chewy texture. Some say it isn't really rice, it's .... blablabla. Comes often in packages that combine it with long grain rice, but when the long grain is done, the wild rice isn't. One young Hawaiian acquaintance asked me, "why do they put sticks in their rice on the Mainland?" It is good, but cook it separately if you're mixing it with other kinds of rice, then mix.
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Old 06-23-2005, 11:59 AM   #15
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I have used Basmati rice for everything (except risotto) for the past 25 years, and have never had problems cooking it so it comes out fluffy and separate. I don't use a rice steamer, but simply put about a mugful of rice in a large pan of boiling water (I use a 5qt pan and fill it almost to the top), boil it for around 10 minutes (until cooked), then drain out the excess water by tipping it all into a seive or colander. Very simple technique that produces perfect results (I promise!!). I don't bother to rinse it, either before or after cooking, but a quick rinse before cooking (don't soak it though!) would be OK too..

I've never used a rice steamer, and I've never had good results when I've tried the water-to-rice ratio method where you cook the rice until all the water has been absorbed (that technique works for risotto - but then risotto is supposed to be sticky - go figure!).

I buy my basmati rice at the local Indian grocers, that way I can be sure that it is true Basmati rice, and I can buy it by the sack, which works out a lot cheaper than the tiny bags you get in the supermarket.

I would suspect that you are not using true Basmati rice, which is very long and slender in grain. Because it is so slender, it will cook a lot quicker than other rice's, so be careful not to overcook it, or it will become sticky.

Best wishes, Lynda
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Old 06-25-2005, 06:41 AM   #16
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Paint, I've never cooked rice like that (shall we call it the pasta method?) but will try. I once saw it done on a very old Julia Child segment. She was in France and it was her French friend who did it. Since then no one I know has even heard of doing it like that, but I'm going to experiment. Everyone I know uses the water-to-rice-ratio method, which is OK as far as it goes, but different types of rice can differ in the amounts of water they will absorb, and as someone up there mentioned (hmmmm ... can't read names while writing) if you rinse or soak your rice, it will change how much water it will absorb when cooking.

BTW, if you microwave rice (and I do often) I highly recommend using a much larger bowl than you need. It's easy to boil over, then you don't have enough water and a starchy mess to clean up. In the summer (no a/c here) I usually use the microwave to cook my rice and it works great. I just use one of my biggest pyrex bowls even if I'm only aiming for a couple cups of rice. Sitting time (i.e., patience, not one of my virtues) is very important in cooking rice.
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Old 06-25-2005, 06:48 AM   #17
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It's always nice to throw in a cultural/family story. We were a military family, my parents from cultures that didn't eat rice ... at all. Dad still does not like rice. When I was a child, many of my mom's friends and friends' moms were "war brides", women from all over the world. Mom learned to cook rice from Japanese friends, and the method was to put your hand into a fist, heel of your hand on the bottom, in the pot. You poured rice up to a certain point on your knuckles, the water to another point (obviously the Japanese women were from before rice cookers, I think all Asians have them now!). Has anyone else ever heard of this? Anyway, rice was a big treat we reserved for when Dad was on some kind of duty that kept him away from the supper table.
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Old 06-25-2005, 09:35 AM   #18
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Clair, I have heard of this method. Martin Yan calls it the Mount Fugi method. I think he calls it that because the knuckle the water comes up to is supposed to represent Mt Fugi (or something like that).
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Old 06-25-2005, 11:58 AM   #19
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If you want truly fluffy rice which is good in pilaf's I strongly recommend the Pasta cooking method for Basmati (the one Paint mentioned).

The only thing I would add to that is to add a few drops of lemon juice to the boiling water. The lemon cuts the starch and produces a seperate grain of rice everytime.

You may not want seperate grains for every recipe but for certain elaborate pilaf's and biryani's that Indian's make the seperate grains make for a wonderful presentation. I am not a huge fan of sticky rice and I prefer my rice to be fluffy and seperated rather than a mush.

Finally Claire, GB, the knuckle method works everytime for me. I was thought to cook rice that way ever since I was a young girl.
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Old 06-25-2005, 10:34 PM   #20
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GB - Ming Tsai does the same thing - and also calls it the Mt. Fuji method.
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