Plain Rice

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Appears in

Sweet Hands: Island Cooking from Trinidad and Tobago

Sweet Hands

By Ramin Ganeshram

Published 2018

  • About

Rice connoisseurship is a serious pursuit in my family because of my Persian mother. Many say that Iranians are superior rice cooks, thanks to the high quality basmati rice they use, as well as a steaming method that employs oil or butter. I have adapted the Persian kateh method to cooking rice for Trinidadian dishes because I cannot abide sticky rice. In fact, it is a method I use for all kinds of international one-pot rice dishes including Peas & Rice, Jambalaya, Paella, and Biriyani. Here’s how I prepare plain rice to go with many of the dishes in this book.


  • cups basmati or other long-grain white rice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoon canola oil or ghee
  • teaspoons coarse salt


  1. Place rice in a deep bowl and add enough cold water to cover by 1 or 2 inches. Swirl rice around with your hand until the water becomes cloudy and then gently pour off the water being careful not to pour out the rice. Repeat this process 2 to 3 times or until the water stays clear. Drain rice.
  2. Place rice in a 2-quart saucepan (preferably nonstick) and add enough water to cover the rice by ½ inch from its surface. Add the bay leaf, canola oil or ghee, and salt. Mix well and place over medium heat.
  3. When the rice begins to simmer, mix well one more time. Now watch carefully. When almost all the water is absorbed and “crab holes” begin to form in the rice, lower heat to low and place a doubled up paper towel or clean dish towel over the top of the pot. Place the pot lid firmly over this, pressing down to make a tight seal. Cook rice on low heat, allowing it to steam, for 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove lid and fluff the rice to serve.