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Basmati rice like at indian restaurants

lorien Dec 23, 2009 08:49 PM

I'm throwing together an indian meal for Christmas, and have everything planned except the rice. Does anyone know how to make that subtly flavored basmati rice with flecks of red/yellow like what you get in a restaurant?

  1. Axalady Dec 24, 2009 06:04 AM

    The "flecks" as you call them are from the addition of saffron to the rice.

    Here's a link to a recipe attributed to Madhur Jaffrey http://www.yumyum.com/recipe.htm?ID=12827

    Here are some more tips on cooking Basmati rice http://www.indianfoodsco.com/Submit/I...

    Make sure you rinse the rice really well and let it soak for at least 2 hours, or longer. I like to add toasted cumin seeds when I make Indian rice.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Axalady
      Shane Greenwood Dec 24, 2009 07:49 AM

      An Indian cook once gave me similar advice about soaking & rinsing the rice thouroughly before cooking. Then she said to boil it in plenty of water and strain when done (similar to cooking pasta). The point was to remove a lot of the starch.

      1. re: Shane Greenwood
        paulj Dec 24, 2009 10:29 AM

        I find that with the parboiling (about 10 minutes) I don't need to wash and soak the rice.

        The soaking and/or parboiling is needed, I think, to cook the drier, aged basmati rice evenly.

    2. luckyfatima Dec 24, 2009 07:42 AM


      I made a post on how to cook basmati rice, the par boiling then coverd cooked (dam) method will get the long, separate grains found in restos.

      In restaurants, the color is not real saffron at all, but only food coloring. It is available in Indo-Pak grocers. "Biriani rangi" or biriani coloring, I use Bush Brand myself, but any brand is fine, is available in yellow-orange and orange-red. It is a powder, not liquid. You can sprinkle it directly on the parboiled rice before you finish the cooking, or even after the rice has fully cooked. However, the best method is to add a tiny pinch like 1/8 tsp to 1/4 cup of milk, and then pour this milk onto the parboiled strained rice before you do the final covered cooking step. This is what I usually do. The powder is completely flavorless, and only a tiny pinch will do the trick, but beware it is strong stuff and will stain your skin, nails, and counter tops, so handle with care.

      2 Replies
      1. re: luckyfatima
        Axalady Dec 24, 2009 09:48 AM

        Interesting to learn, and thanks for the link to your blog. I'll definitely check it out!

        1. re: Axalady
          lorien Dec 24, 2009 04:04 PM

          Thanks for the tips. I don't think I'll bother with the food coloring, since it's flavorless. I'll let you know how it goes.

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