Mamta's Kitchen - A Family Cookbook

cooking rice

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On 04/02/2022 05:02pm, Helen Bach wrote:

Hello Mamta, and a belated Happy New Year to you and yours.

Had a quick read of your Facebook page, re: cooking rice. Very comprehensive. Unfortunately, I can't respond to Facebook pages directly, so I am doing so here.

I must point out one thing. I have read (a long ago) that large producers of cooked rice use a ratio of rice to water of 1:1. This is predicated on the fact that 'raw' rice has a water content of about 10% and cooked rice of 60%.

I have been cooking rice now for over 50 years (do you think it's cooked yet!!) and when I started, quickly settled on the method below. It is an absorption method variation:

For 2

Place about 30mL of oil in a saucepan, and add half a sliced medium sized onion. Cook only until the first sign of browning. Now add two handfuls of basmati rice, and stir to coat all the grains with oil. I sometimes add a few green cardamoms at this stage. Then I add fresh cold water to the pan, enough to cover the rice, plus 10 mm more, and let the contents heat up until just boiling. Then I turn the gas down to its lowest setting, and place an oven tray (as used for roasting) under the pan, and place a well fitting lid on it. Then leave it well alone for about 20 minutes. Then I test it to see if it is cooked (ambient temperatures and gas pressures can make a difference) and do the obvious until I am happy with the rice. I then turn out the gas and leave the pan on the cooker until needed (not long!).

I've carried out this method for over 50 years, and very rarely had problems (only with Tesco's offerings of Basmati rice when I couldn't get to the Turkish shop where I buy a 10kg bag each time). This method works for me, whether for just the two of us, or, in one instance for 60 (sixty). In the latter case, I had very favourable feedback!

On 05/02/2022 02:02pm, Mamta wrote:

Hello Helen

I haven't heard from you in a while! Nice to see you here again. Thank you for taking the trouble to write your method in detail, I bet it gives you perfect rice every time.

There are many different ways of cooking the rice and I am sure each works perfectly. The way I have described is for plain, boiled rice with no oil or anything else, not even salt. This is how it is served with dal and other things at lunch time every day in northern india. I learnt from my mum and everyone I know there still uses either absorption method or the draining method.

But these methods are for plain, boiled rice only. Before the days of gas cooking, in the days of wood fire or coal fire stoves, once the rice was nearly, but not quite, cooked, my mum used to drain the excess water away and put a couple of hot coals on top of the lid. That also gave perfect result every time.

I am in my late seventies now, so have been cooking rice for over 50 years, like you. However, body is less able to deal with rich food these days, so it is mostly simple food I cook now.

It is really lovely to hear from you again. Keep well.


On 05/02/2022 02:02pm, Mamta wrote:

PS to Helen

Tesco probably sell either very new, from the current year's rice crop or of not the best quality one. Basmati improves with age. Last years crop is better than this years . My parents used to buy sacs of rice straight after it was harvested and lay it down in the store room for the following year. Older rice was kept for guests and special occasions!


On 07/02/2022 12:02am, Helen Bach wrote:

good to be here again!

I still call my method plain boiled rice, ah well. The rice I buy is in a white cotton sack with 10kg of basmati rice inside. I never add salt, as my partner doesn't like much salt. I have to add it later, when it's on the plate!

I understand about keeping the rice, it takes on a kind of musty smell/flavour. Hope it isn't mold! It has taken a long time to chose the brand of rice that gives me 'perfect results'. Don't like polished rice at all. Mouth feel all wrong (to me).

Forgot to add, I never wash the rice, we like it with a little 'bite', which washing seems to diminish.

Stay safe.

On 07/02/2022 10:02am, Mamta wrote:

Hello Helen

This is the beauty of cooking for yourself, you can make a dish whichever way it suites you best and add or take away ingredients as you like.

I hope I keep cooking for a few years longer. I must admit that the amount we eat has gone down and very spicy food is getting difficult to cope with, especially for me. Mind you, I never made very hot food anyway!!

Best wishes


On 09/03/2022 11:03am, guy wrote:

the recipe states for 4 people and then states 2 cups, a third of a cup per person.

On 14/03/2022 02:03pm, Helen Bach wrote:

Thanks Mamta. On rice again, a couple of weeks ago I was staying with relatives, and they wanted me to make Tandoori style chicken and rice for a evening meal. Bought the chicken and rice from Tesco. But their basmati rice was awful, very mushy and tasteless.

I buy sela basmati rice, which may be parboiled. Anyway, I much prefer it to others, and now buy it in 5 or 10 kg sacks.

On 14/03/2022 02:03pm, Mamta wrote:

Thank you Guy, thank you for spotting the error, corrected.


On 14/03/2022 02:03pm, Mamta wrote:

Hello Helen

All Basmati is not same, depends where it is from and how old it us. In India, the best grown rice comes from the foothills of Himalayas, Dehradun region. However, it is now grown in many other countries. Also, new rice usually needs to be cooked in extra water and drained. Otherwise it gets sticky.

You probably know more about the scientific reason for this, but this is what my mum and grandma used to say. They always bought new seasons rice and ?laid it down? for the following year.

I don?t use parboiled (I call it pre-boiled) rice.


On 15/03/2022 02:03pm, Helen Bach wrote:

Thanks Mamta,

I have bought some Dehraduni on-line this morning, and I'll try it out. I think I'll keep the sela rice for making Nasi Goreng, as my partner and I both like it very much.

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