Ode to a microwave

December 11, 2009

   Leftovers are my life, which is one reason I have such a close relationship with my microwave oven. Last night I discovered one more justification for their existence: Nothing makes better basmati rice.
   I learned this long ago from Julie Sahni, and I should have known better than to doubt her. But despite all her assurances that the microwave not only cooks basmati rice perfectly, but actually makes each grain longer, I've continued to use the conventional method.  Last night, however, every burner on the stove was occupied. I decided to do it her way.
    It couldn't be easier: You wash 2 cups of basmati rice until the water runs clear.  Then you put it in a bowl (or some other microwave-friendly vessel), add 3 cups of water and cook at the highest power for 15 minutes.  Cover the bowl, cook it 5 minutes more, and let it stand for an additional 5 minutes.
    Fluff with a fork and proudly serve the remarkably fragrant rice. This rice is long, thin and extremley elegant. More importantly, each grain retains its individuality, refusing to reach out and grab its neighbors in the clingy fashion of so many lesser rices.
  And it makes great leftovers.


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