Perfect Rice

If you want to cook perfect rice – the kind that always stays light and fluffy, with absolutely every grain remaining separate – then I can teach you. But first you will have to make a promise, and that is to memorise three simple little words: leave it alone! If you can do this you will always be able to cook long-grain rice perfectly, and never have to worry about it.

Serves 4

This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book One and Delia's Vegetarian Collection.

Perfect Rice
 white basmati rice measured up to the 10 fl oz (275 ml) level in a measuring jug
 1½ teaspoons groundnut or other flavourless oil
 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
 1 pint (570 ml) boiling water
 1 rounded teaspoon salt
You will also need a frying pan with a 10 inch (25.5 cm) base and a tight-fitting lid.


Begin by warming the frying pan over a medium heat, then add the oil and the onions and let them cook for 3-4 minutes, until lightly tinged brown. Next stir in the rice – there's no need to wash it – and turn the grains over in the pan so they become lightly coated and glistening with oil. Then add the boiling water, along with the salt, stir once only, then cover with the lid.

Turn the heat to its very lowest setting and let the rice cook gently for exactly 15 minutes. Don't remove the lid and don't stir the rice during cooking, because this is what will break the grains and release their starch, which makes the rice sticky.

After 15 minutes, tilt the pan to check that no liquid is left; if there is, pop it back on the heat for another minute.

When there is no water left in the pan, take the pan off the heat, remove the lid and cover with a clean tea cloth for 5-10 minutes before serving, then transfer the rice to a warm serving dish and fluff it lightly with a fork before it goes to the table.

Print Page