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Basmati Rice help from a seasoned rice maker...

I buy my white basmati rice from my local Indian Market. I always used Swad, and NEVER rinsed it. Put 1 cup of uncooked rice in a pan, with 1 & 1/2 cups of water. It came out perfectly every time. But the last time I was there, I bought a more expensive brand that begins with a "z". The owner (Indian), tells me to make sure I soak it for 1/2 hr. (I smile and leave, shaking my head yes)
So, tonight I soak my rice, because I think she must know better than me. And after I cook it the same way, it's like sticky rice. It's all stuck together?

Help please? I like my basmati to be a bit crunchy. This one is near awful. Should I just go back to no rinsing/soaking?



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  1. I think you should cook your rice the way you like it cooked as opposed to the way your grocer likes her's cooked.

    1. I like my brown basmati rice crunchy also and this is what I do, I put a cup in a pot and cover it with water, and note how high the level is by putting my finger in and noting where the water hits it, i know this sounds crazy but I read it online somewhere, followed the directions and got the best rice ever, NOW after noting that, add water, swish the rice around, drain and do it again and again,,,three times rinsing!! I would swish it around , put it in a strainer, then back to the pot with more water, etc,,, lots of rinsing, After that, i added water to the right level , brought it to a boil, turned the heat down and simmered till done, it was great. No measuring . All that rinsing made an enormous difference

      1. In general Indians do not eat undercooked rice.
        So advice from and Indian will yield fully cooked rice.
        Rinsing washes away and external starches and yields a fluffier rice.
        I find soaking unnecessary unless the rice is very old and I only let it sit for 10-15 min.

        1. I don't know how to guarantee crunchy/undercooked rice except to use less water. No one in my house likes crunchy rice, but I have never gotten basmati to be sticky, even if soaked.

          I thought soaked rice requires less water than unsoaked rice. But I would rinse the rice thoroughly whether you soak it or not.

          To be scientific about it, though, you should try cooking the new rice in the old way to see if there is something different about the brand, first.

          1. The first poster is right - cook it the way *you* like it!

            But the grocer is right in how it is "supposed" to be cooked. Basmati is rinsed/swished in several rounds of water, to get off all the starch. Indians want each grain separate. (So... sticky would be the opposite of their goal.)

            1. Hi MCEL215,

              Did you salt the soaking liquid? Persians will salt the soaking liquid. It's like brining. Then we boil it first before draining then steaming it. I'm not very sure but would imagine the Indian method should be similar. Honestly, I don't bother. A Japanese rice cooker does an amazing job for me with basmati rice (I buy Lal Qilla.). It comes out separate and perfectly cooked each and every time.

              1. You should probably stick with the method you know and like, but this is how to cook basmati rice with the soaking method:

                - Rinse the rice. Soak for 30 minutes. It's fine to soak for 2 or 3 hours if you have to, but any more than that and the rice will tend to crumble.

                - Bring 1.5X water up to a boil in a pot with a good, tight lid, and add the drained rice. Let the water come up to a boil again, then reduce heat, cover and simmer from 1 to 5 minutes, depending on how well done you like your rice and how heavy your pot is (you'll be finishing the rice with residual heat, so the heaviness of the pot and the tightness of the lid make a significant difference to cooking time).

                - Turn off the flame, but leave the pot on the burner. It should be done in 6 to 15 minutes (again, depends on how well done you like your rice and how well your pot retains heat).

                - When the rice is done, remove from the heat, fluff and put into a serving vessel immediately. It will continue cooking a bit even after this, so when I make a very large quantity of rice, or a pulao or something else where there are more variables that might cause overcooking, I chill the serving vessel in the fridge or freezer so that it stops the cooking process more quickly.

                I have heavy-bottomed pots with an OK fit on the lids and I usually simmer about 2 minutes and let sit about 8 minutes for nice separate grains (toothsome, but not crunchy). My mom has old, lightweight steel pots she bought at Wiebolt's in the 1970's, and she simmers 5 minutes and lets sit a full 15 minutes. It's all a matter of taste and the tools you're using. The best thing about this method though, is, once you get a feel of it, you can make huge or tiny amounts of rice and get it to come out perfectly every time.

                Happy cooking, ninrn

                1. Well, there is nothing wrong with soaking. It is just that (my understanding) soaking rice this long requires a different rice-to-water ratio. So if you have been having success with a 1:1.5 ratio without soaking, then you will need to use less water, presumably 1:1.3.

                  I like my Basmati rice fluffy and separated. I do rinse my Basmati rice to remove excess starch, but I do not soak my rice.

                  1. Was it Zafrani? I use either Zafrani or Royal, Depending on which one is cheaper. We Indians don't eat undercooked rice (at least not on purpose!) you rinse the rice in several changes of water, then soak it for 20-30 minutes. This makes the rice cook up fluffy and keeps the grains separate. Then you cook it. I use my rice cooker or a pot if I'm making a lot (like for Biriyani). For 2 cups rice, I would do 3.25 cups water on the stove and add more if needed towards the end.

                    3 Replies
                      1. re: boogiebaby

                        I also use Zafrani brand most of the time, and do as boogiebaby wrote, but I do salt the soaking water. Once drained, I fry the soaked rice in a bit of butter for 2-3 min to further reduce the moisture and to toast the grains a little, then add the water & cook.

                      2. Thank you all for your advice.

                        My rice was always a bit undercooked, seperate and kind of crunchy. I have eaten rice in many Indian restaurants and mine comes out similar, not quite as fluffy though.

                        This rice was definately "soggy" and the grains broken and clumpy. And overcooked.

                        I will play around with times, less water and even try it the way I have been making it without rinsing also.

                        I'll check back and let you know how I make out.


                        1. I buy 'Neesa Select' Indian Basmati rice in 5KG bags.
                          I've tried not washing before going into the rice cooker. It turned out 'gummy/sticky. I always rinse a few times in room temp. water until the water stays clear. Perfect fluffy rice every time. Before I bought my cheap little rice cooker every time I made 'stove top' rice it was hit or miss. I like to mix things up when making cooked rice. Some times I'll add some 'ghee' and pinch of curry powder or maybe use orange juice instaed of water. You name it. I never salt the rice until it's cooked. If I was stranded on a desert island I'd take my rice cooker.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Puffin3

                            Thanks Puffin3, I'll give some more thought into a rice cooker. :)