It’s not really that secret, or even particularly special. I make it all the time and don’t really think too hard about it but friends are always impressed when I do it so here is my Secret Rice Recipe, as enthusiastically requested by @eddedmondson:
You will need:
- Basmati rice to feed however many people you’re feeding
- Half an onion for one or two people, or a whole onion for more than three
- Pinch of cumin seeds
- Tsp veg/sunflower oil
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of turmeric
- Pinch of allspice
- About 5-8mm of butter/margarine/vegan spread, or a chunk depending on how you use butter (I’m ridiculously neat and tidy with mine usually, but my housemate used some the other day and HACKED INTO IT. Now it is TOTALLY ruined.)
- Water to boil, perhaps in a kettle.
This looks like a lot of ingredients for what is essentially just carbs to soak up curried goodness with but trust me, it is lovely.
First wash the rice, using a sieve. If you don’t have a sieve you can use a colander but the rice will probably fall through the holes. The reason you wash it first is that it gets all the starch out so you’re not eating a bowl of spiced porridge when it’s all over. For good measure, I’d rinse it through again. Leave it to dry a bit while you finely chop your onion and put the water on to boil (I use a kettle because it’s easy but for the eco-conscious, find a better way).
On a low heat, fry up the onion with the cumin seeds in the veg/sunflower oil until the onion goes a bit see-through. I believe this is called “sweating it out”, but that might be a phrase that only my mum uses. I’ve certainly never heard anyone else use it. However, if you’re cooking this to impress someone on a second or third date, I’m quite happy for you to repeat it, I’d love it if my mum was a trend.
Next add your rice, fully drained, to the pan, stir it in and pour the water on top. Then add the salt, turmeric, allspice and butter and keep an eye on it until it’s done. The water will disappear (because of SCIENCE) and you can eat it straight away, no need to sieve it again.
- I think the rule for how much water is double the amount of rice, but there’s no harm in putting slightly too little and just topping it up as you go along if the rice isn’t cooked yet.
- Whatever you do DON’T STIR IT UNTIL YOU’RE SURE IT’S DONE. It goes stodgy and groce and you won’t impress anyone.
- To test it, taste it. If it’s crunchy, give it a couple more minutes (if you put a lid on, it’ll help steam it as well).
- There’s no need to worry about ingredients floating to the top as once the water is absorbed into the rice, the onions, flavour and turmeric will be distributed pretty evenly and will taste fabulous.
- I’ve had food poisoning from re-heating rice badly, so I’d recommend just making enough for one sitting. You have to nuke the hell out of it to reheat it the next day otherwise it’s nasty. Too nasty for dinnertime.
- If you make too much curry to go with the amount of rice, curry on toast is the breakfast of champions. Just saying.
So there’s my Secret Rice Recipe. I’m sorry I haven’t got any pictures, I just made some for dinner and ate all of it. It is way easier to just buy Uncle Ben’s microwave rice, or the boil-in-a-bag stuff but I like making my own and I get people oohing and aahing when I do. I tend to make a curry, and do the rice afterwards, keeping the curry on a low heat. Then when the rice is done, I add fresh or frozen coriander to the curry (so it retains it’s lovely green colour) and serve it up straight away.