This post has a motivation behind it. Till I took specific interest in cooking, I was really not bothered about how my rice used to be. Normally for lunch, we have Palakkadan Matta, for which there is a standard preparing procedure in pressure cooker, which I follow to the dot and nothing goes wrong. As far as basmati is concerned, I have always made kanji with it. My rice used to be overcooked all the time as everybody kept telling me about the one glass of rice = two glassed of water policy, that includes my mom. Somehow, it has never worked for me. Another way is to cook in loads of water and then drain when the rice is done. Since for this method, you have to literally dedicate yourself to continously watch if the rice is being done and I really don't have the patience for it. this method also has rearely worked. Maybe just one time, my rice was perfectly cooked.
After doing a lot of research.... I really mean it!!!! I've gone through loads of blogging sites and everybody seems to have their own method with some variations. So that means there is no standard and it is upto you to discover how you make that perfect rice which does not stick together and looks beautiful in the end product. I just thought maybe I will share the way I've been doing for sometime now and Alhamdulillah, each time I've done it, I've got perfectly cooked rice.
Measure out your rice into a large vessel. The glass I use is 200 ml, which is a standard I guess, as my measuring cup also has the same measurement for one cup.
Wash your rice till you get clear water. Make sure not to play with it too much, otherwise you risk broken rice.
Soak the rice in a large amount for minimum of 15 minutes and maximum of 30 minutes.
At the end of soaking, you will notice the rice grains swollen up. Drain into a seive and keep aside.
Heat up your saucepan and pour a tablespoon of oil. If you are cooking normal rice, once the oil heats, reduce the flame to meduim-low and put in the rice. If you are doing pulao or rice for biriyani, before the rice, saute all the other ingredients required and then put the rice.
Roast the rice for atleast five minutes, stirring occassionally with a wooden spoon. Continue to fry the rice till it becomes crispy. You will feel that the moisture in the rice is all gone and what you have is dry and roasted rice.
Meanwhile keep the water ready. What you need to use is hot water, not exactly boiled but hot. Either boil normal water and keep aside to become hot, or measure it out from your heater water, if you are able to use it for normal cooking. I have a 300 ml (1-1/2 cup) measurement cup which I had bought from Daiso sometime ago. It is my favorite utensil in my kitchen. I depend on it for all my recipes which call for cup measurements and it has been very handy. I take 300 ml of water for every cup of measured rice. So if I am cooking 2 cups of rice, then I add 600 ml water, ie. two measurements in that cup.
Pour the water into the sauteed rice, increase the flame, wait for it to start boiliing, and then minimise the flame to lowest.. Close the lid tight and leave it for around 10 minutes. Just don't bother to open and check.
After 10 minutes, open the lid and you will find that the water is all gone and the rice cooked. If you feel there is a crunch presend in the grain, keep the lid closed for a few more minutes and the rice will be done!!!
Believe me, this method has worked very well for me. I owe most of the part of the cooking process to my colleague. However, her explanation for the water level was 1 inch above the rice level. Such explanations comes for experienced people, considering that she has been cooking ever since she was married. So I really couldn't fathom how much that inch could be. :) And my mom loves to cook her rice in lots of water and then drain off when done, which hardly worked for me. So there you go, that's my method.