This rice is a take on the traditional Indian wood-fire cooked rice and the rounded bottom, thin neck traditional pots of India. Sadly this is difficult to do in the modern home, so par cooking the rice and finishing it in the oven approximates it.
It is worth looking for Basmati Aged Rice. Your rice will be perfect and very unlike rice cooker rice.
Obla Chaval | Oven Finished Rice
1 cup basmati rice or other long grain white rice
9 cups water
0.5 tspn fresh lemon or lime juice
0.75 tspn sea salt
1.5 Tblspn ghee
First, make sure that your rice does not contain any foreign objects – small pebbles, dirt or other impurities. It is less likely to find many objects in Australia and more likely in India.
Now wash the rice by swirling it in some cold water and tipping the water off. Do this several times until the washing water is clear.
Soak the rice in warm water for 10 minutes. This allows the grains to absorb water and relax before cooking. Then, keeping the water, strain the soaking water off and allow the rice to air dry for 15 – 20 minutes. Use the retained water when you are cooking the rice.
Bring the water, salt and lemon juice to a boil in a large saucepan and add the soaked rice, stirring all the time. Bring back to a full boil and boil without stirring for 8 – 10 mins until the rice is no longer brittle but is still firm.
Preheat the oven to 150C.
Strain the rice and place in a flat ovenproof dish and spread it out evenly. Put half the ghee over the rice and cover tightly – I recommend covering with foil. Place in the preheated oven for 15-20 mins, or until the rice is tender and any remaining liquid has been absorbed.
Add the remaining ghee and toss gently with a fork. Serve piping hot.
recipe notes and alternatives
Cook the rice for 5 mins only, no more, then bake in the oven for 45 mins. This rice can be placed in any oven-proof container, it does not have to be a flat dish.
Namkin Chaval | Oven Finished Rice
Another way of using the oven in cooking rice is this way.
Take 1 cup soaked and drained rice and toast it in 0.5 Tblspn ghee with sea salt to taste, stirring all the time. Add 2 cups hot water and quickly bring to the boil. Pour the rice and water into an ovenproof dish with a tight fitting lid and place in a 160C oven for 30 mins. The rice should be tender and perfectly dry.