Cooking rice can sometimes feel like an impossible skill. How do you get it right, so that it is not all stuck together and sticky? How do you avoid accidentally burning it, and having to scrape it off the bottom of the pan? One great answer to all these questions is to get yourself a rice cooker. These clever devices will cook your rice to perfection every time! But there are some little foibles with them, of course – the main one being that you have to cook different rice differently. So, how on earth do you cook Basmati rice in a rice cooker?
What is Basmati rice?
Basmati is a well known rice that is used in dishes the world over. It originates from the Himalayas, and is a long grained rice. It has a distinctive taste; some describe it as “nutty”, and it also has a floral aroma that is similar to Jasmine rice, but it is a slightly softer grain when cooked than Jasmine rice.
Basmati is the longest grained rice that there is, with pointed ends and a soft yet firm texture. You can find white basmati, which is made by removing the outer covering of the grain, as well as brown basmati, which is where the outer shell is left on.
Brown is considered the more healthy of the grains, as the outer layer contains bran, dietary fibre and some essential fatty acids.
Cooking either type of Basmati rice gives a light, fluffy consistency, with grains that remain separate rather than being clumped together. Basmati is traditionally used in dishes like Pilaff, as well as being a well known side dish for curries.
How to use a rice cooker?
Every rice cooker is different, and each will have slightly different ways of working. Luckily they usually come with instruction manuals to tell you how to make them work as well as they can, so simply follow the guidelines set out in your manual.
If you have been given an old one by a friend, or bought a second hand one without a manual it should still be easy to use – you can look up your particular model online, or simply work out the different setting by trial and error!
Some rice cookers will even come with a recipe or two to set you on the way to a perfect meal. A good thing is that cooking in this type of cookers is not usually limited only to rice – you can cook in there other products too, such as pasta, etc.
How to cook basmati in a rice cooker?
The steps are simple, and cooking Basmati is a convenient and easy thing to do in a rice cooker:
- Weigh the amount of rice you want, place it into a bowl with some water, and swirl it around with your hand.
- Pour away the water and refill the bowl. Rinse the rice this way repeatedly until the water runs clear (this is the process of removing the starch that can make the rice sticky).
- Once the rinsing is done, measure out the water you will need (as a rough guide, use 1 1/2 cups of water for every cup of rice).
- Add the rice and the water to the inner cooking pan of the rice cooker, and place this into the main body of the rice cooker.
- Attach the lid and steam vent, then plug the appliance in and select the desired cooking setting.
- The rice cooker will show a light on when it starts cooking, and at the end it will give a useful beep so that you know it’s done.
- Once it’s finished cooking, fluff up the grains with a fork to separate them, then serve with the rest of your chosen dish.
- Don’t forget to unplug the rice cooker when you’re done!
Benefits of cooking Basmati rice in a rice cooker
Rice is a healthy food, there’s no doubt about that, and Basmati has more than its fair share of great nutrients.
- It is helpful for weight loss. This rice will make you feel fuller for longer, thus removing the hunger cravings after you have eaten it.
- It contains Thiamin and Niacin, two very useful B vitamins that help with metabolism, circulation and digestion.
- It contains Magnesium, which is excellent for dealing with muscle cramps and high blood pressure.
- It is suitable for diabetics, as it has a lower GI than most other rices.
- It can protect against certain types of cancers. The fibre content of this rice can help reduce the incidence of colon cancer mainly, as well as protecting against other types of cancer in the body.
- Cooking rice in a rice cooker is fantastically easy, meaning that you will waste far less rice!
- It is easy and simple to cook perfect rice in a rice cooker.
- Cooking rice this way retains all of the nutritional benefits without losing anything due to overcooking.
Rice is a delicious food, which is incredibly versatile. Cooking it can be a tricky thing, so if you have always struggled with it then the best thing you can do is to invest in a rice cooker, to cook all your favourite rices – including Basmati – to perfection.