Cooking rice, or at least cooking it well, is a method that eludes many people. Until earlier this year, that included me. Undercooked and crunchy, overcooked and mushy, flavorless, mealy — all these words have described my rice at one point or another. It became such a frustration that I gave up cooking it altogether; replacing it with whatever else seemed appropriate for the recipe.

When I planned a biryani for us several months ago — a dish he’d never tasted before and one in which rice is integral — I knew I couldn’t get away with a substitute. I had to overcome my fear. And I would start with a 15-pound burlap sack of Basmati rice.

It was a revelation. I discovered a method to cook our beloved fragrant, delicate Basmati rice perfectly. Okay fine, it’s the recipe that comes with the bag, but I promise you it’s foolproof.

Time after time after time after time this rice is it — the perfect example of what rice should be. The grains are fluffy, tender and separate. Say goodbye to giant pot-shaped blobs of rice! (Not that I ever did that?)

And finally, if that wasn’t enough, this recipe can be cooked, and cooked well, by a person with a compression fracture in her (or his) elbow. So no excuses now! You really must try this.

Perfect Basmati Rice [makes 3 c cooked rice]

Printable recipe

One particular favorite version of perfect Basmati is to add fresh grated ginger and minced cilantro; another is to add unsweetened coconut flakes. It also makes for killer fried rice and biryanis

1 c Basmati rice

1 ½ c water

1 T olive oil or butter

a pinch of salt

Rinse measured rice in a fine strainer for about 1 minute, or until water is clear (to remove extra starch). Drain well.

In a saucepan, add drained rice, water, oil or butter, and salt. Place saucepan (uncovered) over high heat and bring to a boil, stir occasionally.

Let water reduce slightly below the rice level and the lower the heat to the very low.

Place a tight lid on the saucepan and simmer 15 to 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve. (There will be some crusty pieces stuck to the bottom, but that’s the best part — definitely get those off and serve as well!)

Adapted from Kusha Rice

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