Rice and Indian food


Rice: tips on how to cook basmati or long grain rice so the grains are perfectly fluffy and separate (like with the takeout I had tonight?) :smile: should I boil and drain?

Indian cooking: recipe suggestions? I am most interested in korma recipes but really most curries. I have “Indian Kitchen” and “Thali” by Maunika Gowardhan and a couple of other Indian cookbooks. Haven’t tried a recipe yet but Ms. Gowardhan’s recipes look promising. :blush: Indian cuisine is one I’d love to learn. I also plan to cook from Meera Sodha’s books, I have all of her cookbooks.

Indian food helps me a lot with my migraines - food can be healing.


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Welcome to the forum

The cooking recommendation on my packet of basmati works every time for nice fluffy rice:-

Add 60g rice per person to a pan of boiling water. Cook on a medium heat for 10 - 12 minutes. Drain, cover and leave to stand for 3 minutes, then fork through the grains.

Meera Sodha has a column in my Saturday newspaper and I have cooked a couple of the recipes, although many, as they are vegan, don’t appeal that much.


I love Indian food and (in)patiently wait for the recipes to start rolling in.

Some of my favorites from restaurants have been palak paneer, mutton vindaloo and mutton tikka masala. Well, anything with lamb in it.

When I cook Indian myself, I have eg searched over at instagram videos of dishes from people with some followers or just ones that look good. I think it’s a nice way to get a quick overview of the process also and then I bastardize it. Can’t easily get all the spices at the supermarkets nearby…

Next, I might try this one, since I have some lamb in the freezer.:

I’ve so far learned to let the oil separate to get a nice looking dish. Good Indian food might boil down into a lot of spices and fat :)?

Could someone share a solid naan recipe too?


should I boil and drain?

I boil and drain brown rice to reduce the arsenic content, and that works very well… but I did try that with jasmine and basmati white rice and it ends up as mush.


Hi, @Cobalt and welcome! If you have Maunika Gowardhan’s Indian Kitchen, I believe there is a basic rice recipe in the back of the book that should give you the results you are looking for. Also, in the same book, she has a recipe for Chicken Rezala that you should like, if you are into korma style curries.

Here’s a Hyderabadi korma from her website that is delicious. It uses soaked and ground cashews for flavor and thickening:


I never boil & drain rice except when cooking biryani.

Here is how I cook my rice (though I have started using 2x water in the microwave too; you have to let it rest to absorb and fluff at the end):

Funny you mentioned Maunika Gowardhan – we have a thread going on cooking from her book & blog:


Thank you :smiling_face: I love Indian food (well, food in general sometimes ) but Indian most of all. Trying to increase my cooking confidence, which I lack :roll_eyes::paw_prints::paw_prints:

Thank you :smiling_face: and thank you for the rice tip. I grew up in a Korean household and mostly my mom made sticky rice which I don’t like. This led to rice conflict, for sure. :flushed::roll_eyes::joy::joy::joy:

Yes to vegan recipes (Guardian?), some personal news: beginning treatment for stage 4 liver illness next week (I have an interesting medical profile to say the least) so my diet can be considered bland to most since it focuses on what does not strain the liver.

But Indian food and its spices tend to help me neurologically (was in a coma, missing portions of brain, again … interesting medical profile) so it’s a dance I play btw two somewhat mysterious and possibly terminal conditions, :smiling_face::paw_prints::paw_prints:

Love Indian food too! :smile: in my make believe world, I either marry an Indian chef, or one trained in said cuisine, or a veterinarian/vet technician/cat rescuer extraordinaire :joy::joy::joy::paw_prints::paw_prints:

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Arsenic content!, yes - it’s also why I’ve heard to rinse the rice beforehand? In addition to starch removal?

Thank you :smiling_face: yes to the korma recipe - I’ve been studying it for weeks! And I have most of the ingredients and most importantly the cashews. I have seen her recipe for recipe, seems straightforward in terms of measured amounts.

I will summon courage to try. I have lots of rice.
Usually I just cook I’m stovetop with either a one to one ratio of rice to water (I know that sounds low) or use my hand. My mom taught me to place hand on top of rice and let the water go to the second knuckle. :roll_eyes::eyes::smile:

I don’t use a fancy rice cooker or instant pot…wonder if that would help. I just had the Indian leftover takeout from yesterday :smiling_face:

Thank you for the rice tips (!!!) :smile:…ooof. Hungry onion is asking me to stop replying to posts individually …ooof. I’m a hungry onion newborn. :sweat_smile::joy::joy::joy: hopefully they would kick me off or put me in some time out or online detention :roll_eyes::flushed::joy:… if they do it was fun while I lasted here :eyes::roll_eyes::flushed::smiling_face:

I have been looking at the thread for Maunika Gowardhan’s book and I LOVE it!!! Thank you :grin:

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I cook basmati rice several times a week and I think it turns out pretty good. My technique is measure out the dry rice into a steel pot, then run cold water into the pot until it’s submerged the rice, swirl around several times until the water is cloudy, then tip the water out as much as you can. Repeat at least 3 times. Then run cold water so that it covers the rice and leave to soak for at least 30 min (longer is fine). Then boil some water in a kettle, pour over the soaked rice until it is submerged under several inches of water (this is a boil and drain method so you want quite a bit of water). Bring to the boil - stir once or twice to prevent clumping but don’t stir too much or it will release starch. Once boiling, turn heat down so that the pot is simmering but not boiling. After about 5 min, keep checking the rice every couple of minutes to see if it’s done - the longer you soak the rice, the less time it takes to cook. Add more water if needed. I just lift a few grains out and test them until I have them just al dente. Once the grains are al dente, turn heat off and leave rice in the hot water for a further minute or so. Then drain into a colander. You can rinse the cooked rice further with cold water if you wish. Then fluff the grains in the colander with a silicone spatula or fork. Let the rice drain in colander for at least 10-15 min before serving. I always reheat it in the microwave and it keeps its texture well.

Thank you! I will try that! :smiling_face: everyone here is so supportive and helpful - my confidence in the kitchen can only grow from here on out :ok_hand:t2::paw_prints::paw_prints: if I manage to make rice successfully like I have with take outs, it will be just exciting as when I first cooked lentils (and realized they can be quite tasty and super easy to cook) :roll_eyes::joy::joy::joy::paw_prints::paw_prints:

Does anyone think I could make some of the chicken recipes (like korma or butter chicken, or the green chicken curry dish in “Indian Kitchen” and omit the chicken? So I would just end up with sauce. In cases like a butter chicken recipe I’m looking at (from Milk Street), I’d omit the chicken marinade ingredients too.

Asking because I might not be able to eat meat going forward for health reasons. I have been thinking to sub tofu perhaps. Or beans.

Also, please kindly forgive me for skipping to other foods that are rice related: has anyone made horchata? I sometimes purchase from a local Mexican restaurant where they make their own but I’d like to try my hand at it, especially in case I can’t go out much more.

I have seen a few recipes, like the one in NYT, that is basically soaking uncooked rice with cinnamon, blend, strain, add sweetener. I am trying to avoid ones that add
Milk or milk products. Thoughts? Thank you in advance :paw_prints::paw_prints::paw_prints::smiling_face::tulip:

Definitely you can sub meat out in any dish in Indian cuisine. Paneer, tofu or soya protein chunks are popular substitutes. You could also be fancy and make kofta (balls/dumplings) out of vegetarian ingredients like thick mashed lentils/mashed paneer etc and use those to simmer in the liquid base sauce.


Naan is one of those things that is really difficult to replicate at home. Good naan gets its characteristics from being cooked in a tandoor and home ovens or even stovetop pans don’t come close as they don’t get to those blazingly high temperatures that a tandoor does. I’ve never seen anyone in India make naan at home - they always get it in a restaurant. Best ones are from dhabas (rustic-style Punjabi restaurants traditionally frequented by long-distance truck drivers but now beloved of all).


What @medgirl said, or just use vegetables in the same sauce.

A significant proportion of the Indian population is vegetarian either all the time or most of the time, so the answer to whether an Indian dish can be made vegetarian is always YES :joy:

Tarla Dalal is a helpful resource for Indian (and not Indian) vegetarian recipes - hard to go wrong with her recipes, and they are a lot less fussy than many others.