The Basic Rice


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • 250-300 g (8-10 oz) basmati rice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • grinding of fresh pepper
  • 450-550 mls (15-18 oz) water


Heat the fat in a heavy, lidded saucepan and stir in the rice. Cook for a couple of minutes until the rice is well coated, then add the seasoning and water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat as low as possible and put on the lid. Cook for 18 minutes or so, by which time all the water will have ben absorbed by the rice.

Instead of water, you can cook the rice in suitable stock. If it is to accompany a meal of curry, you might like to cook some crushed cardamom pods, cloves and a cinnamon stick with the rice. Or lemon grass and star anise if it is to accompany an oriental meal.