For those of you looking for a quick recipe on how to make instant pot basmati rice, I’ve got two options for you below in the next heading. The question is should you soak the rice or not? I did a taste test of the two methods to find out for myself what was actually better.
The results were surprising…
There are two options for this recipe with either soaked or unsoaked rice. Below are the details:
I Soaked the Rice
Great, follow this recipe:
After soaking the basmati rice for 1 hour, rinse the rice until the water is clear. Sauté the rice in 1 tsp of oil with your desired spices. Cook the rice with a 1:1 ratio of rice to water by volume, on high pressure for 5 minutes. Naturally release the pressure for 5 minutes then release the rest manually. Fluff with a fork.
I Didn’t Soak the Rice
No problem, use this recipe:
Rinse the rice until the water is clear. Sauté the rice in 1 tsp of oil with your desired spices. Cook the rice with a 1:1 ratio of rice to water by volume, on high pressure for 6 minutes. Naturally release the pressure for 10 minutes then release the rest manually. Fluff with a fork.
Why Pressure Cook Rice?
Pressure-cooked rice is faster than normal stovetop-cooked rice and with this recipe, it comes out perfect every time. Slightly al dente, perfectly fluffy and no sticking to the bottom of the pan either!
Here are my tips and tricks to make perfect basmati rice every time with your instant pot.
Using oil at the start of rice making is a great way to infuse spices into the rice and more importantly, it helps to stop the rice grains from sticking together.
Wash the Rice
Washing the rice is very important for fluffy, basmati rice. If you don’t wash the rice well before cooking, it will stick together and you won’t get nice individually cooked grains. Be sure to wash the rice thoroughly in cold water until the water runs clear.
However, not all varieties of rice should be washed. For example, you would never wash risotto rice because the starch makes the dish creamy.
Should I Soak Basmati Rice?
Soaking the rice before cooking is traditional in middle-eastern cuisine and the idea is that if you pre-soak the rice it will cook more evenly. How long you soak the rice depends on the rice type and can vary anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight.
Soaking Rice May be Healthier
According to chef Shonali Sabherwal, who was recently voted the best nutritionist by Vogue India, soaking rice before cooking removes phytic acid. And this is good because phytic acid impairs the body’s absorption of iron, zinc and calcium. Soaking the rice may be better for digestion.
Although take this information with a grain of salt. It may be slightly healthier than unsoaked rice, but how much exactly is unclear. That being said, I still try to pre-soak my rice but I’m not going to lose sleep over the soaking rice debate.
Aim for 15 minutes to 2 hours of soaking in cold water. Don’t stress out too much if you don’t meet the exact time as it will not make a huge difference.
My Soaking Rice Experiment
I was curious to see if we would notice any difference in the end result of soaked rice versus unsoaked rice in an instant pot. Here are the results.
Test #1 – Soaked
1:1 Ratio Water to Rice.
Rice was soaked for 1 hour, rinsed until the water became clear, fried with 1 tsp of oil and cooked for 5 minutes on high pressure. Naturally released the pressure for 5 minutes and then released the rest.
Test #2 – Not Soaked
1:1 Ratio Water to Rice.
Rice was rinsed until the water became clear, fried with 1 tsp of oil and cooked for 6 minutes on high pressure. Naturally released the pressure for 10 minutes and then released the rest.
Although the two rice methods cooked at different times the end result was surprisingly similar. We couldn’t really tell much difference and both were perfectly cooked.
The rice that was soaked may have been slightly more soft but this is likely due to the fact that it contained extra water from soaking. Still, the difference was marginal.
The Bottom End
Both are great ways to cook rice. I like the idea of soaking rice to make it slightly less toxic but if I’m in a rush, the unsoaked rice works great. I wouldn’t say one is better than the other. Traditional stove-top methods may differ more.
How to Reheat Rice
You may be surprised to hear that the best method for heating rice is actually the microwave. Heating rice in the oven will still be okay but it will dry out the rice and lose its soft and fluffy texture.
Reheat rice in the microwave in a microwave-safe container with a lid. Make sure the rice is piping hot to ensure enough bacteria has been killed and it’s safe to eat.
Can you Freeze Cooked Rice?
Yes you can. Although it won’t be as good as freshly cooked rice.
Make sure to cool the rice completely before putting it in a sealed container to freeze. This will allow the rice to freeze quicker which will reduce freezer burn.
Ideally, let the rice cook on a flat surface like a sheet tray, or big plate and then transfer this cooled rice to big plastic bags or sealed glass containers. Sealing the container properly will prevent freezer burn.
- Pressure cooker
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 pc bay leaf
- 3 pc cardamom crushed
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- ½ tsp salt
- Soak the rice for 1 hour in cold water.
- Rinse the rice until the water becomes clear by straining it and washing with new water.
- Strain the rice from the soaking water. Set the Instant pot to the sauté function for 4 minutes. Add the oil and spices.
- Add the strained rice and stir with a wooden spoon so that the oil coats all of the grains.
- Add the water and salt. Close the lid and set it to the sealing position (if you have a newer instant pot like me, you don't have to do anything). Set on high pressure for 5 minutes.
- Naturally release the pressure for 5 minutes. (Leave the instant pot on for 5 minutes after the timer goes off).
- Release the rest of the pressure manually. Remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Serve immediately or keep warm in the instant pot.
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