This really is such a nice recipe. You don't have to soak the rice 3 full hours -- if you can do at least 30 mins... the rice really does come out nice, fluffy and separated - instead of a sticky mess with no rinsing. The raisins are such a great touch. I love serving this with a plain roasted chicken. Someone asked about Uncle Ben's -- I would not recommend that - but plain long grain rice would work. Basmati is best for it's beautiful slim grains and wonderful nutty flavor.