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Can you cook basmati rice in a rice cooker?

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I was perusing my Fuchsia Dunlop book on Sichuan cooking earlier and I notice she says that rice cookers are no good for basmati rice. Coincidentally, my Chinese-Malaysian friend said the same thing the other day.

I have noticed that my (Cuisinart) rice cooker is better for jasmine rice than basmati. I've found it hard to get perfectly separate grains but assumed that was just user error. But maybe not?

Cooking rice drives me bonkers!

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  1. there is no reason why you couldnt get good results with the rice cooker, but Id say you need to fiddle with the water amount. - the amounts specificed for the medium grain, chinese and japanese rices are too high. Also, basmati is best with pre-soaking and a even a bit of a sautee (pilaf type treatment.) before the water add You can do all these things before putting the rice in the cooker.

    1. Sure. Although my cooker is not the newer fuzzy logic cooker, it just has an on/off switch, I get great results. As jen kalb says, it is best to soak it, rinse, and drain well first, but I never saute it. As for quantities, I use half again as much water as rice - if I'm making 1 cup dry rice, I'll use 1.5 cups water, perhaps a tad less. Comes out perfectly every time.

      1. We did it last night and the rice was perfect as always in the rice cooker.

        1. Do it all the time. Basmati seems to need more water, so in using the "Mt. Fuji" method I go up two fingers and double the water to below the pot. Your mileage may vary.

          1. i have a zojirushi and i just use the regular white rice water levels and it's great. the trick is to really wash the rice well... like REALLY well. i think i do about 5-10 changes of water until it's running clear. then i fill with filtered water, add salt, and cook on the default setting. it makes great separate grains. some people like to add a little oil to the water, too, but i never bother.

            1. I cook basmati in my ricecooker very frequently. I rinse the rice really well, soak for 10 minutes, and then add double the water to the rice, plus salt. After the rice cooker is done, I allow it to rest for about ten minutes, then I immediately fluff the rice. I have found that if I wait and fluff later, the rice gets clumpy---that is the only drawback, because even though you are using the cooker it involves that amount of babysitting. My rice always comes out very nice. I have girlfriends who even do biriani in their rice cooker, but I never have.

              I also never sautee the rice.

              1. I just made some last night in my cheap, low tech rice cooker. I rinse basmati in at least 2 changes of cold water, then cook it in a proportion of 1 part rice to 1.5 parts water. It always comes out absolutely perfect. Sometimes I find that it actually gets better if it sits on warm for about 1/2 hour after it's finished cooking.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Nyleve

                  Anyone try adding whole spices (cardamon, etc.) before cooking?

                  1. re: vitaman

                    All the time. I frequently add a few cracked cardamom pods, a few cloves, whole cinnamon sticks, fennel seed, and cumin seed. If I have guests, I'll pick out the cardamon pods, cloves and cinnamon sticks afterward, since they don't soften up entirely. Raisins and slivered almonds are good, too. If the raisins are tender and you put them in before cooking, they'll get mushy, but lend more flavor to the rice. Mix them in afterward to keep the texture and get a pop of sweetness.

                2. try: http://kusharice.com/cooking.html