How to Microwave Basmati Rice

Discover the Secrets to Microwaving Basmati Rice Successfully

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Basmati rice is one of India’s most commonly used rice varieties. It’s cheap to buy and is hugely versatile. When cooked on a stovetop or in a rice cooker, basmati rice requires at least 30 minutes to soak in water. 

Can this cooking method be replicated with a microwave? And if so, is it worth ditching how basmati rice is typically cooked or should you stick with the stovetop?

To microwave basmati rice, you’ll need to give it a good wash beforehand, then microwave 2 cups of rice in 3 cups of water at 100% power for 15 minutes, cover, then microwave for 5 minutes.

How to Microwave Basmati Rice

If you ask a chef specialising in Indian or Middle Eastern cuisine the best way to cook basmati rice, they would probably give you a scathing look and answer in a rice cooker or on the stove. 

But microwaves have proven to be powerful tools in the kitchen. So powerful, in fact, that they can cook raw basmati rice when used correctly. 

Here is how you can microwave your basmati rice: 

  1. Pour Into A Bowl 
    Pick out a sizable microwaveable bowl and pour in 2 cups of basmati rice. 
  2. Wash The Rice
    All rice should be cleaned before it is cooked to prevent any extra starch from clumping the rice together. 
  3. Add Clean Water
    Once the rice has been washed, fill the bowl with 3 cups of water. Make sure to use cold water. 
  4. Microwave
    Set your microwave to a 100% power and then microwave the rice for 15 minutes. Or until the rice starts to steam. 
  5. Cover
    As soon as the rice begins to steam, take the bowl out of the microwave and cover with either a tea towel or a plate to prevent the steam from escaping. 
  6. Microwave (Again)
    Still using 100% power, microwave the rice again for 5 – 7 minutes. 
  7. Let Rest
    Take the rice out of the microwave and set it to the side, leaving the bowl covered for 5 minutes. This will allow the rice to finish cooking without drying out in the microwave. 
  8. Fluff
    Carefully uncover the rice, being cautious of any remaining steam. Then use a fork to fluff the rice to your liking. 
  9. Serve 
    You can leave the rice sitting while you complete the rest of your meal or serve it immediately. 
What is the Ratio of Water to Basmati Rice?

When cooking basmati rice in the microwave, you’ll want to use 3 parts water to 2 parts rice.

How to Microwave Basmati Rice Successfully

Microwaving basmati rice is as easy as it may seem. You have to take several steps to ensure that the rice becomes the right consistency without turning out bland and boring. 

The method above is a foolproof way of ensuring this, but here are a few more tips that will help you successfully microwave your basmati rice:

  • Wash Rice – The best way to wash rice is to cover the rice entirely with cold water. Swirl the rice with your hand to agitate the starch, and then pour the now cloudy water away. Repeat this at least 3 times or until the water remains mostly clear in the bowl. 
Washing Rice Before Microwaving
  • Water Ratio Will Vary – Though the above microwaving method recommends a set ratio to rice ratio, you may need to use more or less water depending on your microwave. Some microwaves produce more heat than others and may make the rice absorb the water too quickly.

Why You Should Microwave Basmati Rice

Microwaving basmati rice is not the preferred method for cooking it, with some chefs actively avoiding microwaving their rice, thinking it will compromise the flavour or quality. 

But that is not the case. There are plenty of reasons that you should be microwaving your basmati rice: 

Better Than the Hob

Though most chefs would be reluctant to admit it, basmati rice is one of the few kinds of rice that benefits from the intense heat of a microwave.

This is because the heat encourages the rice to absorb the water and cook without the need to soak the rice beforehand. 

So microwaving basmati rice saves you time and also stops the rice from drying out or the grains breaking like they tend to do when cooked on a stovetop

Ideal for Smaller Portions

Basmati rice is cheap enough to feed a large family, but it can be quite an ordeal to cook the rice traditionally when you only need one or two servings. 

Using a microwave to cook your basmati rice will save you a lot of effort when you need a quick, filling meal for only a few people. Better yet, you only need 1 fork and 1 bowl to make it. 

Why You Shouldn’t Microwave Basmati Rice

At the end of the day, there are always going to be some drawbacks to using a new cooking method for cooking an otherwise traditional ingredient. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are deciding to microwave basmati rice:

Limited Portions

There is only so much a microwave can do. They are one of the smallest appliances in the kitchen so the amount of basmati rice you can cook at one time is limited. 

While this is fine if you only need 1 or 2 servings of rice, microwaving the rice is not a viable option when you need to feed more people. 

Odd Texture

Depending on the power of your microwave, the basmati rice may not be able to properly absorb all of the water before it starts to dry out. This would result in the rice being an unpleasant texture. 

You will likely have to experiment with your microwave to find the best setting and temperature to cook the rice. But that can be more effort than most are willing to put into their microwaved food. 

Microwaving Basmati Rice FAQs

Do you still have questions about microwaving basmati rice? Then these FAQs might help you out:

Can You Microwave Brown Basmati Rice?

Yes, brown basmati rice can be cooked in the microwave. Microwave 1-part brown rice to 3-part water at 100% for 10 minutes. Cover it, then heat at 50% for 20 minutes to cook through. Microwave Brown Basmatic Rice

Does Basmati Rice Microwave Well?

Yes, basmati rice will cook well in the microwave. Many would say it cooks better than on the stovetop. A rice cooker will be the best way to cook it, however.

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