My brother-in-law, Neil, is one of the few blokes I know who make rice effortlessly; each time his rice turns out perfectly cooked with each grain an entity by itself; no intermingling, no hand-holding, no sticking to each other like Lovers Through The Ages (my rice, always, turns out looking like a Roman orgy!). I love to watch him make rice. He escorts the rice through its entire cooking process (the only time his attention gets diverted is when I refill his drink). He’ll chat about this and that but his thoughts are with those long grains reposing in the chatty (pot; will someone tell me why East Indians call a pot a chatty?). It’s a most agreeable moment. The fragrance of spiced steaming rice; aromas of already prepared different curries (rice at home is always made last); a sip of cold beer; a joke or two; a gulp of beer; and the best moment of all: once the rice is ready, it’s time to EAT.
2 cups basmati rice
2 tbsps ghee
2 bay leaves
4 cloves (dalchini)
2 cardamoms (elaichi)
2 tsps cumin (jeera) seeds
1 tsp tumeric (haldi) powder
4 cups water
Salt to taste
Wash rice! Keep aside.
Heat ghee in chatty.
When ghee nice and hot, add bay leaves, cloves, cardamoms. The heat will make ‘em release a beautiful aroma.
In goes the cumin. When it starts to splutter, be quick with the tumeric powder.
10 seconds later, put in the rice and give it a fry (Hint: It’s fried when the rice turns opaque from translucent; thanks Mum for this tip!).
Add the four cups of water (rule of thumb regarding water for rice: 2:1).
Give the mixture a stir with a fork.
When the water comes to a boil, reduce heat to simmer.
15-17 minutes later, the water would have evaporated.
Give the rice a few delicate turns with a fork.
What you’re left is divine yellow jeera rice; each grain separate from the other; don’t be surprised if you feel like eating it just by itself.