Perfect Basmati Rice Everytime

Rice is one of those things that is a bit intimidating to make. Like pie crust or macaroons. Well…maybe not as scary as macaroons.

A Crime of Convenience

Even people who eat rice regularly rely on rice cookers. (They are hugely popular in Japan)

I myself used to rely on my own rice cooker. Not a machine, but my Indian roommate who would start my rice for me whenever I needed some.

I often wonder-is it that hard to make rice? Using a rice cooker is certainly convenient, and there’s no chance of failure. But once you master a few details, making it on the stove is just as fail-proof and fast.

It’s Science

Kind of like baking, but without the oven.

If you put exact measures of ingredients together and cook them at a precise amount of heat for a set length of time, you will get the result you want.

As long as you trust in the process and proportions, you will end up with perfect rice. No rice cooked or microwave pack required.

My Best Advice

Nothing comes out perfectly every time. Unless you use a machine, or act like one yourself.

Even if you have made perfect rice in the past, if you don’t turn your heat down at the same time or you set the heat to a slightly different level, the water will evaporate faster and your rice will be undercooked, if not burnt.

The best advice I can give about cooking rice, is to wait patiently while it steams and then check on it regularly as it is close to done. After a few tries, you will be able to tell if the rice is done just by looking at the surface.

Basmati Rice Recipe

Prep time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4-6 (as a side)


  • basmati rice*
  • water
  • bay leaves (optional)
  • cumin seeds (optional)

Note*: You can use jasmine, but don’t use regular long grain rice with Indian food. The grains don’t separate correctly.


  1. Add two cups of water to a saucepan and set over high heat, covered.
  2. When the water comes to a boil, add one cup of rice, a teaspoon of cumin seeds and two bay leaves. Replace the lid and immediately turn the water down as low as possible.**
  3. After fifteen minutes, do the fork test. Insert a fork into the center of the pan, if it comes out wet, continue cooking for five minutes.
  4. When the rice is done, there will be little dimples or holes along the surface, and no water left in the pan.
  5. Serve hot and enjoy!

Note**: On a gas stove you need to be careful here, because if you turn the flame down too much, it will flicker out part way through the cooking.


  1. Bunny Carlan

    29 November

    Thanks for that info, useful stuff. I get bored of plain rice but I’m not exactly very skilled at cooking. There’s loads of unique ideas at this rice recipe site I found that you might be interested in too.