I must stress, this is how my Mum taught me to cook this and she was a Geordie so it might shock purists – but fuckem.
Use Tilda Basmati rice. It is way more expensive than other brands – but it is so worth it.
Allow 2 mugs of rice for 3-4 people.
First off pour the rice into a pan or dish and rinse it thoroughly – swishing it with your hand in water and then pouring the water off and repeat. About 6 times.
Then cover the rice in cold water and pour loads of salt on and leave it to soak for at least 45 mins.
Get a BIG heavy bottomed pan (with a lid that fits) and fill with boiling water (or cold water and bring to the boil – whatever floats yer boat).
Pour the salty soaking water off the rice then add the rice to the boiling water. Add salt. Bring back to boil, make sure you watch because it will boil over. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and also to release the starch.
This is the most tricky and crucial part – and it’s a bit trial and error I’m afraid. After about 5-7 minutes you need to test a grain. Yes 1 grain. Scoop it out and squeeze it between your thumb and index finger. It shouldn’t break (it’s underdone) and it shouldn’t squish completely (it’s overdone). Obviously it’s better to be early and keep testing than be late and have claggy rice. Thing is you’ll see it has expanded – so you’ll know when to start testing. Don’t forget to stir in between tests!
Once it’s passed the squish test, you need to strain it in a colander. Give it a little rinse (removes excess starch). Then stand colander on a plate and clean your heavy bottomed pan and dry it.
Now return the pan to a medium/low heat add loads of unsalted butter (about 50 grams) and a couple of tablespoons of your preferred flavourless cooking oil. Once the butter & oil mixture has melted add about a shot of boiling water, swirl it around to make sure it’s all mixed together. Then pour about half of it off into a jug or something and set it to one side.
Next it’s time to scoop the parboiled rice into the heavy bottomed pan – first covering the bottom (the oil and butter creates the tadigh). You should just be fluffing it in, creating a nice mound. Once it’s all in, drizzle the remainder of the oil/ butter/ water mix over the rice. Put the lid on and turn the gas down to about a quarter – even less – say the lowest plus 2 ticks.
Time it for 8 minutes and then turn down the heat to the lowest setting plus one tick and time it for further 7 minutes.
Finally get a clean tea towel and lie it down on a clean bit of bench near the cooker. Take the lid off the pan and place it into the centre of the tea towel. Wrap the lid up in the tea towel and then pick it up and place it back onto the pan. Turn the heat down to its very lowest setting. Time for 30 minutes.
That’s it. Remember to take all the rice out and the crispy tadigh which should be coating the bottom of the pan. If you leave it in the pan it’ll go soggy.