It’s easy to make disappointing rice, but nearly as easy to make perfect rice. This recipe works for Indian basmati rice and south-east Asian jasmine rice.


The quality of rice you get really does make a difference. Tilda’s not a bad supermarket brand; in good Asian grocers, ask for advice. With rice, older is better: it’ll improve in your cupboard for a year or two.

Toasted sesame oil’s nice for jasmine rice. You could try mustard oil for basmati rice, if you can find it.


  • Rice, a third of a cup per serving
  • Oil (see Shopping above)
  • Salt
  • Cardamom pods and/or coriander seeds (for Indian cooking, optional)


Put the rice in a saucepan. Gently, so as not to damage the rice, rinse with copious cold water until the water runs more or less clear — typically five or six rinses. Don’t worry about pouring out every last drop. (A sieve may damage the rice.)

Add a splash of oil and a pinch of salt. A cardamom pod or two and/or a pinch of coriander seeds per person add a lot to rice accompanying many Indian dishes.

Add two thirds of a cup of water for each third of a cup of rice you used (i.e. double the volume).

Put the pot on the stove and put the lid on. You can start on a high heat to get it going but, as soon as it warms up, reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Leave the lid on and do not stir, ever.

Have a peek in every couple of minutes: the rice is ready when all the water’s been absorbed. Look at how each grain is separate, fluffy and delicious! Take it off the heat. Left in the pot, it’ll stay hot for a bit.