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Heat the oil over medium-low heat in a medium saucepan (3-quart capacity). Add the onion, smashed garlic clove, and a pinch of kosher salt. Sauté, stirring frequently, until softened and slightly translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes. If the pan gets dry, add a small splash of water to prevent the onions from gaining color.
As the onion is cooking, heat the chicken broth in a large heat-proof measuring cup in the microwave for about 3 minutes, or until nearly boiling. *You can also heat the broth or water over the stovetop in a small pot, if you prefer.
Add the rinsed and drained basmati rice, dried bay leaf, and an additional 1.5 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt. Gently stir together until the oil coats every rice kernel and lightly toast the rice for 5 to 10 seconds.
Add the hot broth (or hot water, if using) and stir to combine. Place over high heat and bring to a vigorous boil. Thoroughly stir the rice mixture with a fork, cover with a tightly-fidded lid, and immediately reduce to low heat. Set a timer for 10 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat. Remove the lid and place a kitchen towel over the pot to absorb any excess moisture, then cover once again with the lid. Set a timer for 15 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork, discard the bay leaf, and season with additional salt if needed. Garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro, if desired, and serve.
Leftover rice can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 days; or frozen for up to 3 months and thawed in the refrigerator.