We asked internationally renowned Indian cuisine specialist, Alexis Kriel, how to whip up fluffy, perfect Basmati rice, every time. There are a few basic no-no’s when it comes to preparing Basmati rice. If you follow these simple instructions and avoid the common mistakes, you’ll have perfect rice, every time. One of the most common mistakes is washing the rice too vigorously. When you wash Basmati, or any other long-grain rice, you need to be gentle. It is a fine, long grain rice and will break into lots of little pieces if you man-handle it. Another no-no is adding too much water, as this will make it mushy. The water to rice ratio should always be 2:1. Lastly, fluff the cooked rice with a fork – using a spoon will squash the tender grains. This is my recipe for perfect Basmati rice: 1. Wash 1 cup of Basmati or other long-grain rice, very gently, and drain. 2. Heat 3 tablespoons of sunflower oil in a 2-litre saucepan over moderately low heat. 3. Add the rice and sauté for about 2 minutes, or until the grains turn whitish. 4. Pour in 2 cups of boiling water and add 3/4 teaspoon of salt. 5. Stir, increase the heat to high and bring the water to a full boil. 6. Immediately reduce the heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and gently simmer, without stirring, for 15-20 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed and the rice is tender and flaky. Adding spices will turn any Basmati rice into a fancy dish. The method I use, which is the traditional Indian method, is to fry the spices gently in the oil first. Then you add the rice and continue to sauté it in the oil, before adding the water and continuing as normal. To find out more about Alexis Kriel’s popular Indian cooking courses, visit her website or call her on 011-887-8755.