If you’ve come across this article, you’ve probably heard of Basmati rice and how its nutty, fragrant properties make it more sumptuous to eat than plain white rice. You’ve also probably heard about how it’s possible to make rice using your microwave as long as you observe the proper portions.
With that in mind, let’s now cover how to cook basmati rice in microwave. Does it involve any special instructions or is it the same as cooking regular rice over your microwave?
How to Cook Basmati Rice in Microwave
To start off, you’ll need 3 cups of cold water, 2 cups of unrinsed Basmati rice, and a microwave-safe dish. From there, cook the concoction on high, uncovered, for 15 minutes. You can stop earlier as long as steam holes appear on the rice, whichever comes first.
Cover the microwave-safe dish and cook on the highest setting for 5 more minutes. This is according to the 1 kilowatt standard so if your microwave has more power than that, adjust it thusly please. Allow the rice to cook by itself afterwards by letting it stand for 5 more minutes.
Fluff the Basmati Rice and You’re Good to Go
Fluff the resulting Basmati rice with a fork afterwards. Take note that the microwave removes only 5 minutes off of the stovetop method. However, we’re not after speed here. You want to properly cook Basmati rice in the microwave. Use a microwave-safe dish like a glass casserole.
Watch out for results variance because not all microwaves follow the 1-kilowatt rule of thumb. Some might take longer, like the 700-watts microwave. Adjust wait times thusly to get the best possible results for your microwave. Mid-range model microwaves can make this dish happen.
Why Cook Basmati Rice in a Microwave Instead of a Stove?
Cooking up Basmati rice on the stove can be quite the hassle, especially if faced with a temperature of 90°F or more outdoors. Cooking rice under such circumstances will lead to your kitchen turning into a pressure cooking and you the lobster or corn on the cob being cooked with your own juices.
Just follow the microwave instructions above even though skepticism might make you hesitate regarding keeping the rice uncovered while it’s being nuked by the device. Don’t modify anything and you should end up with delicious Basmati rice with its own pressure or steam holes.
What is Basmati Rice Anyway?
Basmati rice comes from the Himalayan foothills. It features a long-grained rice body and it’s traditionally served in Indian cuisine and other South Asian dishes. You can commonly find Basmati rice paired up with curry dishes as well as roasted or braised meats.
You can also see the rice commonly used in Southeast Asian cooking, particularly when it comes to the rice dishes of Thailand. You can also find this rice type as the classic Biryani’s main ingredient.
Long-Grained Rice with a Nutty Taste
This rice variant commonly gets served as plain white rice but it could also be flavored with saffron or turmeric for a better tangy taste. The addition of such ingredients imparts a yellow hue on the normally white rice.
Basmati rice separates itself from other rice types by having a slightly floral aroma reminiscent of jasmine rice and a nutty flavor reminiscent of peanut casserole. You can almost say that Basmati rice exists to be the milder version jasmine rice.
Once cooked, you’ll end up with slightly softer grain rice compared to jasmine rice. However, jasmine offers a nuttier flavor and aromatic scent when push comes to shove.
Brown Rice vs. White Rice
Like many rice types, you can avail of Basmati rice in white or brown variants. They make the white version by removing the outer husk or covering of each grain known as bran from brown Basmati rice. They also remove the seed that causes the rice plant to grow known as the germ.
Only the white starchy portion remains when buying white Basmati rice. Regardless, the rice type famously features the longest grains of any rice. Furthermore, as you cook it the grains lengthen even further. It also has an extremely narrow body with pointy ends instead of stubby or rounded ones.
Brown Basmati rice offers more bran and germ, which means you get more fiber out of it comparable to an oatmeal, cereal, or all-bran breakfast.
Should You Soak Basmati Rice Before Cooking It?
We don’t recommend soaking Basmati rice before cooking it even though several recipes swear by such a technique. High-quality Basmati goes through a 2-year aging process for the sake of completely drying it out. This concentrates it aromas and flavors to a high degree.
To soak Basmati rice means to undo all that effort to make Basmati nuttier, more flavorful, and more aromatic than the average white rice grain type. Soaking also makes the rice stickier than before, which undermines what true Basmati preparation offers.
Basmati’s Light and Fluffy Consistency
Keep in mind that people prize Basmati for its fluffy and light consistency. Turning the grains into sticky rice defeats the purpose of keeping the grains individually separate from one another instead of becoming white or brown clumps reminiscent of mash potatoes.
Nevertheless you still need to rinse the rice prior to cooking. You can skip this part when microwaving though. You can cook the rice while unrinsed. When cooking on the stovetop, rinsing the rice removes bugs and starches on the surface of the grains.
Yes, it’s for the sake of hygiene. It also keeps the extra starch from making the cooked rice stickier when push comes to shove.
Making Sense of It All
We’ve tried out the different microwaving techniques for cooking Basmati rice and came up with one that offers the best results. Just adjust the portions, like needing 1½ cups of water per cup of dry Basmati rice. When you’re in a pinch you now know what to do.
Although the instructions seem contrary to Basmati rice preparation, it works microwave-wise. Yes, you don’t need to rinse, soak, or cover until the very end necessarily. This should allow your microwave to work as a decent rice cooker in lieu of a rice cooker or stove-top rice cooking.
- “Basmati Rice, Microwave Method for Cooking“, Epicurious.com, August 20, 2004
- “How to cook rice in the microwave, perfect every time“, SteamyKitchen.com, September 25, 2018
- “How to cook white rice – easily and perfectly“, RecipeTinEats.com, October 7, 2019
- Danilo Alfaro, “The Difference Between Basmati and Plain White Rice“, TheSpruceEats.com, September 29, 2019