Gently toasting the rice in butter, ghee or oil before adding the water, in the style of making risotto, allows all the rice grains to remain separate.
Preparation & cooking time: 30 minutes Serves: 3 or 4 persons
1 cup basmati or other long-grain white rice
2 cups water
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons ghee or olive oil
1½ teaspoons poppy seeds
Bring to the boil the water, salt and lemon juice in a 2-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat. Keep it covered to avoid evaporation.
Heat the ghee or oil over moderately low heat in a 2-litre/quart saucepan. Saute the poppy seeds in the hot ghee until they become aromatic.
Pour in the boiling water, raise the heat, and allow the water to fully boil for a few seconds, then reduce the heat and allow the rice to gently simmer. Place a tight-fitting lid on the pan and cook without stirring or removing the lid for about 15 – 20 minutes or until the rice is tender, dry, and fluffy. Turn off the heat, allow the rice to steam another 5 minutes.