L1:”That’s some nice rice.”

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My first attempt at rice served with my mother’s shimla marcha and paneer (peppers and curd cheese)


White rice is the foundation of so many dishes. One of my mother’s first lessons was that when treated properly rice can really elevate your entire meal.

At this point, you must be thinking that the cooking process is just boiling rice in water right? Wrong.

The special ingredient is butter. Not only does it keep your rice grains from clumping together but adds a wonderful richness that compliments any dish.

Give this version a try and it’s guaranteed to deliver you light, fluffy and fragrant grains every time.

Serves 2-4 people


  • 4 cups water to cook rice (1200ml)
  • 1/2 tbsp table salt
  • 1 cup (285g) long grain basmati rice
  • 20g salted butter


  1. Rice needs TLC to turn out perfect so make sure you wash your rice in cold water a few times using your hands. Once the water appears clear on top of your rice, leave to soak for an hour.
  2. Next step is to put your 4 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Stir in your salt and taste. You can always add more a little more salt if you want a stronger taste.
  3. Drain your soaked rice and add to the boiling water, your rice should be submerged in your water. Leave on a medium to high heat for 8 mins and stay close by, you’re looking for the rice to soften not cook completely.
  4. The Chawal (rice) Rule: Take a single grain from the boiling pan. Hold it in between your fingers, crush it slightly. Imagine each uncooked grain of rice has 3 parts.  All 3 parts of the grain will be cooked at the end but at this stage, you’re aiming to cook just one-third of the grains.
  5.  Once this is complete, take it off the heat and drain the water from your rice.
  6. Now for the magic part that sets your rice apart, Using some of your butter, grease the bottom of the same saucepan you used to part cook the rice. Now evenly layout your rice in the pan and disperse small chunks of your butter on top.
  7. Directly cover your rice some foil and cover the pan with a lid. This traps the heat and lets your rice grains cook gently.
  8. The Dumm (full cook) Process: This process but works a treat to prevent your rice from burning and gently cooks your rice to perfection. Place a pan (larger than your saucepan) on the hob over low heat. Put your saucepan on your pan and leave for 25-30mins. Check your rice at the 20-minute mark, the should be softening up and the butter should have infused in nicely.
  9. When all your grains appear light, separate and the fragrance of the cooked rice should envelop you once you remove the lid then it’s done. Serve alongside your dish of choice there and then or leave it covered with the foil and lid to enjoy later.

Let me know your thoughts on the recipe and what your own chawal adventures are!

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