Cookbook:Microwave Cooking/Microwaved Basmati Rice

Microwaved Basmati Rice -- using a 'Rice Cooker'Edit

A Typical Microwave Rice Cooker. The item is essentially a plastic bowl with a two-part fastening lid. The lid design allows venting while preventing the loss of water from overflow. These cheap items remove all of the 'adventure' from rice cooking in the microwave.

The term Basmati refers to a rice of high quality, whether white or brown. Basmati is a particular variety of rice, and for other varieties, even within white rice varieties, the cooking times might need to be modified.

After much experimentation with exact water amounts, it was instead found best to adopt this excess water method. The method described here makes use of a plastic rice cooker, so will make rice that needs drained, then dried for a good result. Exact water methods tend to produce more damaged rice than this. It would appear that the excess water absorbs microwave energy preferentially to that in the rice, even when it is nearly done, so avoiding so much grain rupture.

Preparation time: About 11 minutes cooking at 800 Watts, and 30 minutes drying. regardless of number of servings.

The RecipeEdit

This recipe was tested several times by the author, using a cheap plastic microwave 'rice cooker', a bowl with a fastening double lid. On each occasion it produced a light, very white, fragrant and delicate result. When an ordinary bowl and cover were used, there was chaos; too much foaming and spillage for consistent results.


The water amount in this recipe allows a slight excess that is important for the rice quality. As a result, this method also needs drying of the rice, but is well worth the effort for the consistent results that are possible. Notice that the cooking times are the same, regardless of the number of portions.

  • Add 57g of Basmati rice to the rice cooker, measured dry, for each portion.
  • Add one pinch of salt for each portion.
  • For each portion, pour 300ml (300g) of boiling water onto the rice, then stir the mixture well.
  • Fit the double lids then cook as follows, stirring half way through: If you have a power choice, use a lower one rather than the highest, especially when cooking less than one serving.
    • 700W at 13 minutes, or
    • 750W at 12 minutes, or
    • 800W at 11 minutes, or
    • 850W at 10 minutes.
  • Let stand for five minutes
  • Drain well then dry before use. Draining is best done in a wire sieve. Drying is best done by spreading the rice onto an oven paper-lined tray and warming it at a very low setting in a conventional oven. Turn the rice gently from time to time. The methods used by other cooks might be of interest, so please add your comments as necessary.

Basic Things to KnowEdit

There are a few matters peculiar to cooking rice in a microwave that are worth knowing;

  • Heave and Foaming: Rice water foams when it is near boiling point, and in addition, during microwave 'simmering', more of a switching on and off really, there is a intermittent swelling of the entire wet mixture coincident with each burst of energy; that is, for a few seconds every few seconds. These two matters cause the possibility of water loss. These problems are overcome entirely with the use of a microwave rice cooker; a plastic tight-lid container that is designed to trap foaming while allowing hot air to escape. Some claim to have had success with a fairly large bowl that is covered with a pierced cling film, though this author has not managed it.
  • Water Transport: For very small quantities and high powers rice might well go wrong. The rice will appear to simply suffer from too little water, or not enough cooking, but these problems are just as likely to result from the very short simmer times that small quantities dictate. That is, the times are too short for effective water transport to take place. Because rice cannot absorb water at an unlimited rate, the dependence on calculated power delivery makes sense only when the calculated cooking times exceed the time needed by the rice for absorption. That is to say, using a very high power for a very short time will not necessarily obtain the same result as its longer time equivalent, even for the same delivered energy. When there is a choice, use a lower setting and a longer time for an assured result.

See AlsoEdit

External LinksEdit

  • Cooking Basmati Rice  : A rice producer's internet page with fairly clear instructions on different methods for the cooking of Basmati rice, and a table of cooking times for different rice types.