Showing posts with label simple. Show all posts
Showing posts with label simple. Show all posts

Oct 8, 2018

Tariwala Mutton Curry

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"Tari" means sauce or gravy and it is traditionally quite thin in this classic Punjabi dish. Mutton or lamb is braised until tender with richly caramelized onions and aromatic spices in this simple home-style recipe.


This recipe is adapted from Pushpesh Pant's weekly column "Food Talk" in the Punjab-based newspaper The Tribune. Dr. Pant is a famed food historian, critic, and travel writer as well as a noted academic. He retired as a Professor of International relations from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi in 2011. He is one of India's leading experts on international relations as well as Indian cuisine. He is the author of several books and has written articles for publications such as Forbes, Times of India, Outlook, and Open. Personally, I think he started India's modern 'foodie' movement!

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As Dr. Pant wrote in his newspaper column back in 2006 this is sort of the "Plain Jane" of mutton curries in northern India. Once standard dhaba and "no frills" diner fare Tariwala Mutton now seems too homely for restaurant menus and has been replaced by fancier dishes. But this is the style of mutton dish I've been served most when visiting Punjabis at home and it is one of my favorites! With the mild spices and thin, almost broth-like gravy you'll find this recipe to be a bit more like what we Westerners call a stew than what we think of as a curry. Caramelized onions are the flavor base of the  "tari" or thin gravy so be sure to allow plenty of time to get them to that deep golden stage. I normally make this dish with goat so I use a pressure cooker. If you are cooking tender lamb a deep skillet or Dutch oven atop the hob would be a better choice for simmering. Despite the humble ingredients, I'm sure you'll be amazed at the richness of flavor in this "Plain Jane" dish. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 kg/2lbs mutton or lamb, cut into 2-inch pieces, bone in preferred
1/4 C cooking oil or ghee
4 onions, diced finely
4 black cardamoms/kali elaichi, bruised in mortar and pestle
4 cloves/laung
1 cassia leaf/tej patta
2-inch piece of cassia bark/dalchini or cinnamon quill
1 tsp cumin/jeera seeds
12 black peppercorns/kali mirch, coarsely ground
2 tomatoes, diced finely or pureed
1 tsp garlic/lahsun paste
2 tsp ginger/adrakh paste
2 tsp ground coriander/dhania
1 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1/2 tsp paprika plus 1/2 tsp cayenne powder)
1 tsp turmeric/haldi
salt to taste

Here's what to do:
1)  Heat the oil for 5 minutes in a deep, heavy-bottomed pan or 5-liter pressure cooker with 2 teaspoonfuls salt. Add onions to hot oil. Fry on high heat stirring constantly for about 10 minutes and then reduce heat. Continue until the onions turn golden. Don’t rush this as the color of the onions adds more flavor and color to the gravy. Err on the side of slightly under caramelized, if you burn the onions they'll be bitter and you'll have to throw them out and start over.


2) Add the cumin seeds, black peppercorns, black cardamoms, cloves, and cassia leaf and fry for about two minutes. Add tomatoes and fry for about 5 minutes or until oil separates. Now add the coriander, turmeric, red chili powder, ginger paste, garlic paste, and a  tablespoonful of water. Continue to stir-fry for about five minutes or until mixture becomes shiny.


3) Add the mutton pieces and cook on high heat for about 15 minutes. The liquid that comes out of the meat should evaporate and the mutton will become slightly brown.


4) If using pan: add 5 cups of water to the mixture and simmer over medium heat till it becomes tender. If using a pressure cooker: add 4 cups water, seal pressure cooker, and allow to steam for 2 whistles or until mutton is tender.


5) Once the mutton is cooked to desired tenderness there should be about two to three cups of gravy left, otherwise, add some hot water and bring it to simmer. Salt to taste and serve hot with rice, naan, or rotis.


Helpful hints:
If you find your onions are not quite as caramelized as they should be or the "tari" or sauce is not as deeply colored as you'd like- a good cheat is to add one tablespoonful of tinned tomato paste with the tomatoes at step 2. 



Sep 17, 2018

Farida Omar's Chicken Curry

 Farida Omar's chicken curry, recipe, farida omar, chicken, curry, easy, simple, authentic, beginner, guarat, gujarati, indian, south africa, nelson mandela, dullah omar,

Farida Omar is the widow of anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela's lawyer, Dullah Omar. Her culinary talents are legendary and her biryanis, curries, and samosas fortified Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, and Ahmed Kathrada during their incarceration. This is Mrs. Omar's classic recipe for the delicious chicken curry her husband would smuggle into Mr. Mandela while in Pollsmoor prison, Cape Town.

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This recipe is from the 2008 book Hunger for Freedom, the Story of Food in the Life of Nelson Mandela, by Anna Trapido. I found this book while perusing The Guardian  a few years ago. The author, Anna Trepido, is an anthropologist and trained chef as well as a food writer and broadcaster. The book is a brilliantly written gastro-political biography of Nelson Mandela's life. Nelson Mandela's food preferences reveal a multi-racial and multi-cultural anti-apartheid alliance where Thayanagee Pillay made coffee for prisoners awaiting trial, Farida Omar had chicken curry smuggled to Nelson Mandela at Pollsmoor Prison, George Bizos cooked Greek lamb on a spit to celebrate victories, and Ray Harmel served chopped liver in times of trouble. From the corn grinding stone of Nelson Mandela's boyhood to presidential banquets, this book is as much a historical work as a culinary reference. The recipes are all well written and amazing too!

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(via)
I couldn't find much information online about Farida Omar. From a South African pal, I have learned that her parents were fruit and vegetable vendors and immigrants from Gujarat. Her husband, the famed anti-Apartheid activist and human rights lawyer Dullah Omar, passed away in 2004. She is the mother of three children and has two grandchildren also. Mrs. Omar and her children continue to be human rights activists in South Africa and around the globe. In 2017 she received the Masjidul-Quds Lifetime Community Service Award in Century City, Cape Town.

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Looking at the simple list of ingredients this might seem like just another average chicken curry. But Mrs. Omar has a few tricks up her sleeve that set her recipe apart from the rest! For a little extra richness, color, and flavor she adds a tablespoon of tinned tomato paste. I've seen tinned tomato paste used in many recipes of the Indian diaspora in Africa and western countries. Tinned tomato paste is preferred because it is less sweet than tinned tomato puree. It is also quite similar in flavor to "bhuna masala." where the tomatoes are fried down to a rich paste for a curry base. She also adds the fresh ginger and ground spices at the end rather than frying them into oblivion with the onions as is frequently done. The ginger and coriander retain thus a bit more vibrancy giving the curry a brighter flavor.

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All in all this a great basic chicken curry for beginners to try or old pros to add to their repertoire. The only changes I have made are adjusting the amount of liquid and the cooking time of this recipe. I increased the chicken stock or water from 1&1/2 cups to 2 cups because the sauce seemed a bit thick. Mrs. Omar stews her chicken for a good 40 minutes, I find both potatoes and chicken both take about 20 to 25 minutes to braise to perfection on my stove. (Perhaps the African chickens Mrs. Omar cooks are the tougher free-range sorts?)  This recipe perfectly demonstrates the traditional building of flavors and complexity in Indian cooking layer by layer. Yet it is not so overly complicated with long lists of ingredients and numerous intricate steps as to be intimidating. The result is a delectably rich, deep red, and vibrantly savory chicken curry! Enjoy!

Ingredients
1 large whole chicken, portioned & skinned
3 TBS sunflower oil or cooking oil of choice
3 green cardamoms/elaichi, bruised with a mortar pestle
2-inch cinnamon stick or piece of cassia bark/dalchini
4 cloves/laung
1 TBS butter or ghee
2 onions, sliced thinly into half moons
2 tsp garlic/lahsun paste
2 big tomatoes, pureed or finely diced
1 TBS tinned tomato paste
1 TBS grated fresh root ginger/adrakh
1 TBS coriander/dhania powder
2 tsp cumin/jeera powder
1 to 2 tsp red chili powder (I used Kashmiri mirch, use less for less heat)
½ tsp turmeric/haldi
2 C chicken stock/shorba or water
6-8 small potatoes, peeled and halved

Here's what to do:
1) Heat cooking oil in large heavy-bottomed skillet or kadhai for about 5 minutes. Fry the cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves in the oil until they release their aroma.

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2) Add the butter and the onions and fry until translucent. Add the garlic and stir through. Cook for about 2 minutes or until the garlic has lost it's raw smell.

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3) Add the pureed tomato and tomato paste and cook over a low heat for 5- 7 minutes to form a thick sauce.
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4) When you see the oil coming to the top of the sauce add the chicken pieces, ginger, coriander, cumin, chili, and turmeric. Stir well.

5) Add 2 cups water or chicken stock and potatoes and bring mixture to a simmer. Cover and allow the curry to braise until chicken is tender and potatoes are very soft.  (This usually takes about 25 to 30 minutes on my stove.) Serve with rice, rotis, and a few fresh chutneys for a complete meal.

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May 28, 2018

Ramadan Recipe Round-up!

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During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, even foregoing water. Food takes on a special significance during this holy fast. Before sunrise Muslims eat suhoor, a big breakfast large enough to to get them through the day. After sunset comes iftar, or the breaking of the fast. Iftar is often a communal and festive affair. Hearty meat dishes and rich desserts are popular during Ramadan as a way to fill up before or after fasting. I've rounded up my favorite Ramadan recipes for suhoor and iftar, as well as for the big Eid-al-Fitr feasts afterward!


Ramadan, recipe, round-up, mutton, chicken, beef, lamb, dates, dessert, laddoos, easy, simple, authentic,
Railway Mutton Curry: During the days of the British Raj while traveling on Indian Railways a British officer complained the mutton curry served was too hot for his liking. An ingenious Indian Railways chef deliciously tamed the fiery curry by adding coconut milkThus "Railway Mutton Curry" became a popular dish in its own right and was served in restaurants as well as railway refreshment rooms and long-distance trains throughout India. An easy and delicious dish to make for Ramadan.

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Karim's Aloo Ghosht (Mughal Style Mutton with Potatoes):  Karim's is the most famous and iconic Mughal restaurant of old Delhi. "Aloo" means potato and "ghosht" is Urdu for mutton. In classic Mughal style, mutton is simmered in a rich blend of caramelized onions, warm aromatic spices, and tangy yogurt until falling off the bone tender. This creates the savory and spicy red gravy so prized by the royals of the Mughal court which perfectly pairs with the creamy and delicate potatoes.

Ramadan, recipe, round-up, mutton, chicken, beef, lamb, dates, dessert, laddoos, easy, simple, authentic,Vikas Khanna's Classic Lamb Curry: the famed Michelin starred chef, restaurateur, and cookbook writer's version of an authentic north Indian curry. Lamb is simmered until tender in a rich gravy infused with traditional aromatic spices. So easy to make, everyone will think you're an award-winning chef when you make this too!



Ramadan, recipe, round-up, mutton, chicken, beef, lamb, dates, dessert, laddoos, easy, simple, authentic,
Mutton Do Pyaaza: "Do" means two or twice and "pyaaza" means onions. As the name implies this classic North Indian dish features a lavish amount of onions. Onions are added in two stages, first slowly caramelized then ground with traditional spices to make a rich brown gravy. The mutton is then braised until tender in this bold mix of rustic flavors. This recipe also works well with lamb, beef, or water buffalo stew meat. Pair with rotis, parathas, or chapattis for a hearty meal.

Ramadan, recipe, round-up, mutton, chicken, beef, lamb, dates, dessert, laddoos, easy, simple, authentic,


Punjabi Dhaba Style Mutton: Punjabi Dhaba restaurants are popular with all members of the traveling public along India's burgeoning highway system, not just Punjabi drivers. This is my version of the traditional North Indian mutton curry served at India's famed Punjabi dhabas. This recipe also works well with lamb, beef, or water buffalo stew meat.



Ramadan, recipe, round-up, mutton, chicken, beef, lamb, dates, dessert, laddoos, easy, simple, authentic,


Nepali Style Chicken Curry: From the heart of the Himalayas comes this delicious chicken curry. Chicken is marinated then slowly simmered until delectably tender in a richly seasoned sauce of traditional Nepali spices. Don't let that long list of ingredients in this recipe intimidate you, this is one of the easiest and tastiest chicken curries you'll ever make!



Ramadan, recipe, round-up, mutton, chicken, beef, lamb, dates, dessert, laddoos, easy, simple, authentic,Kashmiri Style Chicken Curry: From the beautiful vale of Kashmir comes this recipe for a brilliant red chicken curry. The warmth of traditional aromatic spices and crimson Kashmiri chilis are melded in a velvety yogurt based sauce. Crisply seared chicken is then simmered until meltingly tender in this richly aromatic sauce. The Kashmiris enjoy this dish garnished with dried mint or perhaps sultanas and cashews on special occasions.

Ramadan, recipe, round-up, mutton, chicken, beef, lamb, dates, dessert, laddoos, easy, simple, authentic,


Chicken Rogan Josh: Rogan Josh made with mutton is a traditional dish of Kashmir and was introduced by the Persian speaking Mughals. This recipe uses chicken in place of mutton for a delicious red curry. Although lavishly spiced this dish is more aromatic in flavor than fiery hot. The chicken is seared until golden brown then braised until tender in the rich and velvety sauce.




Ramadan, recipe, round-up, mutton, chicken, beef, lamb, dates, dessert, laddoos, easy, simple, authentic, 
Malabar Style Chicken Curry: A lavish use of spices, tart tamarind, and rich coconut are the hallmarks of Malabar cuisine. This boldly spiced brilliant red chicken curry is typical of Malabar's delicious dishes. Mellowed by sweet and sumptuous coconut milk the spices present as warmly aromatic rather than fiery hot. The sweet and sour tang of tamarind perfectly accentuates the combination of assertive flavors.


Ramadan, recipe, round-up, mutton, chicken, beef, lamb, dates, dessert, laddoos, easy, simple, authentic,
Mughal Style Green Chicken: Mildly spiced but bright with the flavors of fresh mint and cilantro. Ground browned onions, almonds, and yogurt make for a rich gravy. Whenever you see a "Mughlai" recipe you know it's going to include lots of steps- chopping, marinating, frying, cooling, grinding, more frying, and probably then some. Here I've minimized the steps using a few modern techniques. But this recipe will still take at least a good three to four hours to complete.

Ramadan, recipe, round-up, mutton, chicken, beef, lamb, dates, dessert, laddoos, easy, simple, authentic, 




Labaniah (Saudi Milk and Pistachio Candy): From Saudi Arabia comes this sweet treat. Indian Muslims on Hajj brought milky mithai with them on their pilgrimage to Mecca. The Saudis liked the traditional Indian sweets so much they made their own version! Humble milk powder is transformed into delicious bite-sized candies with the rich flavors of saffron, cardamom, and pistachios in this easy recipe.





Ramadan, recipe, round-up, mutton, chicken, beef, lamb, dates, dessert, laddoos, easy, simple, authentic,


Shortcut Gulab Jamun: Who doesn't love a gulab jamun? Making this traditional sweet treat is a snap with this shortcut recipe. This simple recipe using bread and milk to make gulab jamuns was all over the internet a few years back, so I am not sure where it originated. I've embellished it a bit by infusing the milk used for the gulab jamuns with Kashmiri saffron. The saffron not only gives the gulab jamuns with it's rich flavor and color, but also lends it's golden hue to the syrup as the gulab jamuns steep.


Ramadan, recipe, round-up, mutton, chicken, beef, lamb, dates, dessert, laddoos, easy, simple, authentic,



Date and Crispy Rice Laddoos: Easy, eggless, and no-bake these laddoos are a quick and delicious treat to make! Dates are simmered into a rich caramel then combined with crunchy puffed rice for a delicately crisp and divinely sweet indulgence. Perfect for Ramadan or any other holiday featuring lots of decadent goodies.  



Ramadan, recipe, round-up, mutton, chicken, beef, lamb, dates, dessert, laddoos, easy, simple, authentic, 






Rose, Coconut, and Cardamom Laddoos: These delicately flavored laddoos are elegant enough to serve as a dessert at a posh dinner party or holiday gathering yet easy enough to make for an after school treat. The classic Indian pairing of light rose, aromatic cardamom, and rich coconut is combined with milky sweetness in this dainty treat!




Wishing you and yours a joyous and blessed Ramadan! 
Love, Bibi



May 7, 2018

Ghurma Aloo (Cumin-Scented Potatoes)

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A ghurma is a thick-sauced, long-simmered spicy stew of Iranian origin. This recipe for Ghurma Aloo is the perfect pairing of potatoes or aloo simmered until tender with earthy cumin and a pinch of red chili for a delicious and beautiful dish. Serve over rice or with naan to scoop up the vibrant sauce.


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We don't usually eat potatoes but when the new potatoes show up at market, I make an exception. (It seems a bit redundant to serve potatoes with the rice we eat daily.) There's nothing quite like the delicate flavor and texture of fresh potatoes and this easy recipe perfectly showcases them. This dish is adapted from Raghavan Iyer's 2008 cookbook, 660 Curries: The Gateway to Indian Cooking.


Indian cuisine is heavily influenced by the cooking of ancient Persia. The traditional Persian vegetable stew called ghurma or ghormeh is still a popular dish in Iran today. Many influences of Persia can be found in this recipe. As with most Iranian dishes, this recipe eschews garlic and makes do with onion and tomato for an umami boost. The potatoes are initially fried with turmeric giving them a lovely yellow hue as is typical in Persian cuisine. A generous use of cumin and red chili powder provide the spiciness of the dish. Fresh cilantro or dhania is stirred in at the end for a bit of green brightness - yet another Persian motif.

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This recipe has become our favorite way to enjoy the fresh potatoes of the season! Cumin and potatoes are THE perfect pairing in my opinion. I have adapted this recipe ever so slightly to suit my Kashmiri family's taste. Mr. Iyer recommended soaking the potatoes- I did not find this necessary. The original recipe called for two teaspoons of salt- I'd start with one teaspoon as we found two teaspoons to be a bit much. Mr. Iyer stirs the tomato in last with the cilantro with this recipe. This results in a raw tomato flavor that my Kashmiri clan cannot abide. So I put the tomato in with the water and chili powder to let them cook with the potatoes eliminating any hint of raw tomato. I also used Kashmiri mirch instead of cayenne powder for its brilliant red color, rich chili flavor, and slightly less heat. The color the Kashmiri mirch lends to this dish really makes this one of the most beautiful ways to serve potatoes. I hope you'll try this easy to make and tasty recipe and love it as much as we do!

Ingredients:
4-5 large russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and roughly cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2-3 TBS cooking oil (enough to cover the bottom of the pan)
1 to 2 tsp salt
1 TBS cumin/jeera seeds
1 onion, cut in half lengthwise and then cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tsp turmeric/haldi
1 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or cayenne/degi mirch for more heat or paprika for less heat)
1 medium-size tomato, cut into 1/2-inch cubes or pureed
2 TBS finely chopped fresh cilantro/dhania

Here's what to do:
1) Heat cooking oil with 1 teaspoon salt in a medium-size deep skillet or kadhai for 5 minutes. Add the cumin seeds and cook for about 5 seconds. Add potatoes, onion, and turmeric. Stir-fry until the potatoes and onion are lightly browned around the edges or about 6-7 minutes.


2)  Pour in 2 cups water, chopped tomato, and Kashmiri mirch (or chili powder) and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium and cover the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are almost fall-apart tender. This usually takes about 20 to 25 minutes. (If liquid gets too low or mixture begins to stick or scorch- reduce heat and add 1/2 cup of water.)


3) When potatoes are cooked to desired tenderness stir in cilantro/dhania and cover pan. Allow dish to stand for about 2 minutes. Salt to taste and serve. For a thicker sauce, coarsely mash some of the potato cubes with the back of a large spoon.


Apr 16, 2018

Tips & Tools: How to Make Perfect Fluffy Rice

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We eat rice every day, twice a day. Before I moved to South Asia I had rarely cooked rice. I had never even used a rice cooker! Googling the subject of cooking rice only revealed numerous methods with less than perfect results. So I emailed my Chinese-American university pal Eileen as to how to properly cook rice. I quickly learned that western methods of cooking rice were overly complicated and prone to failure.

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The first thing my friend recommended was to buy a rice cooker. Well, we had a rice cooker but it had no instructions and we rarely had electricity to even run the thing back then. Now that we have 20 hours of electricity a day I can concur that a rice cooker is one of the most cost-effective gadgets ever. If you cook rice on a regular basis you definitely need a rice cooker. It is the easiest and most time-saving appliance ever, just set it and forget it!

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This is the kind of rice we eat every day!

The technique my friend Eileen taught me to cook rice is the absorption method. This is the most common way to cook rice in Asia. Rather than drowning the rice in water and hoping for the best, one adds only as much as the rice needs to cook, and waits for it to absorb while cooking. -It is the simplest way to cook rice and I have found it gives the most reliable results. The method you use to cook rice also depends on the variety of rice you are using. Indians tend to use long-grain rice and use techniques to create separate grains that remain perfectly intact. The Chinese use starchier medium-grain varieties so that the rice sticks together, making it easier to pick up with chopsticks. I have cooked both a local short-grain pearl rice and long-grain Basmati rice with this absorption method with excellent results for the past 10 years!
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1/2 cup uncooked rice = 1&1/2 cups cooked rice

First, you'll want to determine how many servings of rice you wish to make. I usually estimate one and a half cups of cooked rice per adult for my Indian family then add an extra half cup just in case. Rice triples in volume when cooked so that's one-half cup per person of uncooked rice.
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ONE PART RICE TO TWO PARTS WATER
The second and most crucial part of this technique is the ratio of rice to water. All sorts of variables come into play here: the type of rice being cooked, the age of the rice, humidity levels, how well the lid fits on the pot you use, the temperature of the burner being used, altitude, what phase the moon is in (kidding) - the list goes on. Because of all these variables, this is the step that may require some trial and error. The best place to look for the proper ratio the rice is to be cooked at is the directions on the package the rice came in. (Amazingly enough, the instructions on the back of rice packages are usually correct.) If that is unavailable I usually estimate one part rice to two parts water. Sometimes we buy local rice that comes in a plain burlap sack from a village and sometimes we buy rice from the supermarket that's labeled. If the rice is really fresh (as in recently harvested) it may need a little less water to cook. Rice harvested more than a year previous generally requires more water than recently harvested rice due to decreased moisture content. Cooking rice is game of ratios, so be sure to measure carefully unless you want a bowl full of disappointment.

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This is how rice gets cleaned so there's bound to be twigs, pebbles, or bugs in it!
Third, unless you are using rice that is fortified or enriched you will have to wash it. Rinsing traditionally polished rice alters its texture when cooked. Rinsing removes the thin layer of starch from the surface of each grain and keeps the rice from sticking together thus ensuring perfectly separate grains. Long-grain rice, like Basmati, is always rinsed for this reason. This doesn't have to be an extremely thorough sort of a cleanse. I usually rinse the rice twice over the sink by submerging it in water, swirling the rice with my fingers, then pouring off the cloudy water. Submersion allows any debris like twigs, bran, or insects to float out of the rice also. I have seen recommendations on the internet to rinse rice until the drainage water runs clear- this will never happen no matter how many times you rinse the rice I assure you.
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2-Acetyl-1-pyrroline: the aromatic compound that gives bread, jasmine rice, basmati rice, pandan, popcorn, & bread flowers their characteristic scent
Fourth, you need to decide if you wish to soak the rice or not. Soaking the rice speeds up cooking which affects the flavor of the rice. By letting the rice soak for 15 to 30 minutes, you can decrease the cooking time of most rice varieties by about 20 percent.  2-Acetyl-1-pyrroline is the flavor compound in aromatic rice varieties that is responsible for their characteristic popcorn-like aroma.  2-Acetyl-1-pyrroline dissipates while cooking. The longer the rice is exposed to heat, the less of an aromatic flavor it will have. By soaking the rice and shortening the cooking time, you will get more flavorful results. Some people rinse again after soaking the rice, I do not find it necessary.

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Fifth, add a little oil, ghee, or butter to the rice and water before cooking. This is optional but it will add flavor to the rice, help keep the grains separate, and prevent dryness if the rice is left standing for more than an hour after cooking. Restaurants usually do this to keep cooked rice tasting fresher and tender longer. I usually only add a little butter or ghee for special occasions such as if we are having dinner guests. Most Indians and Nepalis do not add salt to their rice when cooking so I don't add it either.

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Sixth, cook the rice over medium heat and with the lid on. If the temperature is too high you run the risk of scorching the rice at the bottom of the pot or unevenly cooked grains. If the temperature is too low you'll get a gloopy mess of undercooked rice. Put the lid on and keep it on throughout the cooking process. I recommend only lifting the lid to check the rice after 15 minutes. Do not stir the rice while it is cooking as you risk breaking the grains, releasing more starch, and a mushy mess. You can tell that the rice is completely cooked when all the water has boiled away, there are "fish eyes" or holes in the rice, and you can hear a crackling noise rather than a bubbling noise signifying that the water has completely boiled away.

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The last and most important step: let it rest! Resting is an unskippable step. When the rice has finished cooking remove the pot from the burner and let it sit with the lid still on. Allow the rice to rest for at least 10 minutes after it's done cooking to achieve optimum texture. This rule goes for all types of rice. Keep the rice covered until you’re ready to eat. Just before serving fluff the rice with a fork or rice paddle. As the Indian proverb goes, grains of rice should be like brothers – close, but not stuck together.
 
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Perfection!
So there you have it: ratio, rinse, soak, flavor, cook, rest, and fluff! Follow these easy steps and you'll get perfect, fluffy, rice every time. This is it - the foolproof recipe to cook rice on the stovetop:

Ingredients:
1&1/2 C long-grain white rice
3 C water
1 tsp cooking oil, butter, or ghee (optional)

Here's what to do:
1) Measure out 1&1/2 cups rice and place into a pot with a tight-fitting lid. Cooked rice expands to three times its original size so be sure to choose an adequately sized pot. 
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2) Over the sink add room-temperature water to the rice until it is covered by about an inch. Use your fingers to swirl the rice and water around the pan. Drain the cloudy water off of the rice through your hand. Discard any debris that floats to the surface. Repeat this process one to two more times. 

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3) Add 3 cups water to the rinsed rice and a teaspoonful of oil, butter, or ghee if using. For fluffier rice, the rice should be soaked for at least 15 minutes or up to 30 minutes prior to cooking.

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4) Cover and place the pot on a burner set on medium heat. Allow rice to cook for 15 to 20* minutes or until water has evaporated and the rice is tender. I usually check on the rice after 15 minutesYou may raise the lid occasionally to see if the water is boiling, see if the water has evaporated, or to listen for a crackling noise signifying that the last of the water has boiled away. Do not stir the rice while it is cooking.

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The little holes you see in the rice are called 'fisheyes' and signify that the rice has been cooked properly.



5) Remove pan from heat. Keep the lid on. Let rice stand, covered, for 10–15 minutes to firm up and absorb the last bit of water.

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6) Remove the lid just before serving and fluff the rice with a fork or rice paddle. Serve hot. This recipe makes 4&1/2 cups cooked rice.

Helpful Hints:
The same procedure can be used for a rice cooker. Instead of step 4 just place the pot in the rice cooker instead of on a stove burner.

*If cooking at altitudes over 3,000ft/1,000M increase cooking time by 5 minutes.

A special thanks to my dear friend Eileen!
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