How to Cook Steamy Buttery Rice | Sada Chaval

Buttery Steamed Rice

I cook rice a lot. I have even blogged at length about it. But I have never steamed rice. No, really. I have never REALLY steamed rice.

Yes, I have been through South East Asia and up into Hong Kong. I have seen the bamboo rice steamer things, tasted amazingly fluffy steamed rice, buttery steamed rice. But never really knew what to do, how to start.

I tried.

I ended up with rock hard rice after hours of steaming.

When I googled steaming rice, I only found methods using the absorption method. I fooled myself for a while that this must be the way of steaming rice.

I have come to realise that the bamboo steamers are used for sticky rice, and work well for them, but less well for other rice.

But I recently found a very gentle way of cooking rice using acombination of steaming and the absorption method, using indirect heat that leaves the rice so very fluffy with a wonderful texture. The method uses indirect heat to cook rice that as been previously soaked.

I don’t usually soak rice, but soaking will allow the long pointed grains to absorb some water and allow the rice to relax a little before cooking. It does make a difference if you are using basmati (which I do).

Recipe Notes

This recipe uses the double-steamed approach. Rice and water sit in a closed pan which rests in a larger closed steamer pan. Steam surrounds the closed rice pan, producing very soft, evenly cooked rice with fluffy, well separated, unsplit grains. It is far superior to any other method that I have tried.

Multi tiered steamersare very available today and can be used for the rice. Otherwise, place the dish containing the rice on some sort of trivet that keeps it 2 cms above the level of the water in the steamer pan. You can use a cake cooler, or upturned heat proof bowl, or, as I did, an upturned Chinese bamboo steamer. If you have a vegetable steamer that fits onto a saucepan, use that.

It is a very gentle style of cooking, and the end point is therefore not as critical as in other types of cooking rice. Use around 30 minutes for a “just cooked” style of rice or 40 minutes for a softer end result. DON’T OPEN THE STEAMER DURING COOKING.

Buttered Steamed Rice
Sada Chaval

Source : Lord Krishna’s Kitchen
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 5 mins + 10 mins soaking time
Cooking time: 25 – 45 mins
Serves: 3 – 4 people, depending how you use it

1 cup basmati or other long grained rice
1.5 – 1.75 cups (360 – 470 ml) water
1 tspn salt
1 – 2 Tblspn ghee or butter

Wash the rice to remove dust and excess starch. Soak in water to cover for 10 minutes. Drain very well, removing as much water as possible.

Combine the water (if using basmati, you can use 1.5 cups of the soaking water), salt, half of the ghee or butter and the rice in a pan or dish with a lid.


If no lid is available, fashion one with some foil and secure tightly.


Add some water to a large steamer pan and set up your steaming tier or trivet. Bring the water in the steamer to the boil. Reduce heat to low and place the covered rice pan into the steamer. Cover the steaming pan.

Cook the rice slowly for 30 – 45 minutes, depending on the texture desired.

Remove the rice from the heat, uncover, add the remaining ghee and fluff gently with a fork.

Steamed Rice

Buttery Steamed Rice


Love to you.



About Ganga108

Heat in the Kitchen, Cooking with Spirit. Temple junkie, temple builder, temple cleaner. Lover of life, people, cultures, travel. Champion of growth, change and awareness. Taker of photos. Passionate about family. Happy.
This entry was posted in 02 Late Summer, Asian, Indian, Lentils - Grains - Rice - Nuts, Tips and Techniques, Vegan, VEGETARIAN and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to How to Cook Steamy Buttery Rice | Sada Chaval

  1. Aparna says:

    I cook my daily rice somewhat this way, but in a pressure cooker. The rice and water sit in the pressure cooker which has water in it and the rice cooks in the steam, but under pressure.

    That makes sense, Aparna. I don’t use a pressure cooker, and had never cooked rice this way. But love the results and will use the method more often.


  2. Lakshmi says:

    I love your website, absolutely adore it! This is such a beautifully designed website – one of my favourites at first sight. I read a whole lot of food blogs and maybe a tiny percentage of that shows up in my cooking… :)

    Hi Lakshmi, welcome. Thanks for your lovely and kind comments. Hope you find some inspiration here.


  3. Patty says:

    I have found by accident, that putting the pot with water/butter/salt/rice in the oven when I bake something, the rice turns out perfect. It’s ok on the stove top using the common method….but putting it all together, cold, etc. and then letting it sit at 350 in the oven for an hour it’s incredible.

    Hi Patty, that sounds like a great and time saving way of cooking rice when you are using the oven or just want to get the rice off of the stove top. Thanks for sharing – I will certainly try it.


  4. coolienne says:

    Aaah! I see, 10 min soaking and bain-marie cooking… OK, I see.
    Thank you!

    My pleasure. And I edited it as you requested :-)


  5. Madelyne Chavez says:

    I’m trying it out right now! We’ll see how it turns out. :D


  6. Terfu says:

    Been steaming rice my whole life (that’s the only way I know how to cook rice, sadly speaking), and I never needed to soak rice prior to cooking. I use basmati rice as well. Usually I only need to wash it, make sure there is enough water for absorption and leave it in the steamer for 20 to 30 minutes, and it’s perfectly cooked – anything longer than that would dry up the water (though I’m not sure how much water you put to be able to cook for 45 minutes). I don’t have an actually steamer by the way, just use a wok with a cover, and those steaming stands.


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