Back to basics with a usually liked preparation that highlights rice so much, i.e., basmati rice pilaf.
This allows, on the one hand, to keep the softness while flavouring it and, on the other hand, to use less water and better preserve it. If you like rice, you will see that you just need to add something to it to taste it on its own and enjoy it. Here we give you the easy and basic recipe as well as three tips to keep in mind to succeed every time and everywhere!
Originally from the Middle East, rice pilaf (from the ancient Greek pilafi) has been around for centuries (even a thousand years!). It has also spread to Asia (where we speak, for example, in India of pulao but more as a dish) and Central America with variations also on cooking (in the oven, for example, sometimes cooked first with water and steam). Here we give you the fastest, most practical, and most used method.
We find that this method gives a particularly airy rice that keeps well (it dries much less quickly than rice cooked in water, for example). It is important to use the right rice (the best remaining, in my eyes, the basmati), which is long and contains little starch. Not risotto rice, for example).
Serve it garnished with seafood, chicken, vegetables, and dried fruit or rather plain with a stew of meat, fish, or even vegetarian.
Easy rice pilaf (for four people)
Preparation: 10 min (+ bath and rice rest)
Cooking: 15 mins
Storage: rice pilaf can be kept for a few hours at room temperature, covered with cling film, or for up to two days in the fridge. Remember to heat it slightly (bain-marie, microwave) before serving
Cooking time and rest: they may vary slightly depending on the rice, the heat, and the pan. In general, the rice is in contact with water and steam (cooking + resting) for about twenty minutes in all, no more.
Type of rice: the best results are obtained with basmati rice, which is long, fragrant, and with little starch. That being said, in the Mediterranean basin, we also use other varieties, often long rice but sometimes also short
Base: it is generally made up of fat (butter, oil, or ghee, depending on the location) and often onion and/or spices. It is important to bring them back to enhance the flavours. These are not mandatory but give flavour in a subtle way to the point that the rice is already delicious as well.
You can serve it as an accompaniment to stews: vegetables, meat, rice, or as a dish by adding meat (sautéed chicken, shrimp, etc.)
This step is not mandatory, but we strongly recommend it; everything will be fine afterward. The fact of soaking allows, on the one hand, to rehydrate the rice, which will therefore increase a little in volume (and cook better and faster) and especially bring out the starch.
It is also, and above all, important to rinse it several times before cooking it, always to remove the starch (completely the opposite of risotto and thus allow you to have separate and very pleasant grains to taste afterward.
In principle, it’s simple: 1-1.5, i.e., it takes one and a half times the weight of the rice. For example, for 100 g of basmati rice, you need 15 cl of water.
That being said, there may be small variations depending on the rice, the pan, and whether it has been soaked or not. Yesterday and still today, for those who are used to it, do a little by eye and pour the water to a little more than the volume of the rice.
Pilaf rice is steamed rice, that is to say, with the steam that forms, which gives it this soft and firm texture. This is why it is important not to touch the lid (the steam would escape, and there would not be enough humidity) and not to mix so as not to break the grains of rice during cooking.
It’s a great base. Then it’s up to you to cook with onion (even whole, nailed with cloves and removed), shallot, garlic, spices, citrus fruits, and add herbs. And tone it according to what you’re serving with it.
You can also cook everything in the oven, well covered (in a casserole, for example). Times will be at least doubled.
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