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Home Glossary Staple Foods Basmati Rice

Basmati Rice

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dBasmati rice has been cultivated in the Indian subcontinent for hundreds of years. The Himalayan foothills are said to produce the best basmati. The Super Basmati, a premium variety from Pakistan and Dehra Dun from India, are the most prized of the basmati varieties. Patna rice is a close cousin of basmati rice grown around Patna in Bihar. The best types of basmati rice are aged for several years before they are milled and sold, as rice cooks better with a lower moisture content.

The grains of basmati rice are much longer than they are wide, and they grow even longer as they cook. They stay firm and separate, not sticky, after cooking. Basmati rice is available both as a white rice and a brown rice. Both of these cook in about 20 minutes. Due to the high amount of starch clinging to the rice grains, many cooks wash this rice before cooking it. Soaking it for half an hour to two hours before cooking makes the grains less likely to break during cooking.

Basmati Rice  is a variety of long grain rice, famous for its fragrance and delicate flavour. Its name means "the fragrant one" in Sanskrit, but it can also mean the "soft rice." India and Pakistan are the largest cultivators and exporters of this rice - primarily grown through paddy field farming in the Punjab region.

The grains of basmati rice are longer than non-basmati varieties. Cooked grains of Basmati rice are characteristically free flowing rather than sticky. Cooked basmati rice can be uniquely identified by its fragrance. Basmati rice is available in two varieties - white rice and brown rice.

In 2000, the US corporation RiceTec (a subsidiary of RiceTec AG of Liechtenstein) attempted to patent three lines created as hybrids of basmati rice and semi-dwarf long-grain rice. The Indian government intervened and the attempt was thwarted. Meanwhile, the European Commission has agreed to protect basmati rice under its regulations pertaining to geographical indications.

A number of varieties of Basmati rice exist. Traditional ones include Basmati-370, Basmati-385 and Basmati-Ranabirpura, while hybrid basmati varieties include Pusa Basmati 1 (also called 'Todal', because the flower has awns). Fragrant rices that are derived from basmati stock but are not considered true basmati varieties include PB2 (also called sugandh-2), PB3 and RH-10.

Traditional basmati plants are tall and slender and are prone to lodging in high winds. They have a relatively low yield, but produce high-quality grains and command high prices in both Indian and international markets.

The Rice Research Institute at Kala Shah Kaku (Pakistan) has been instrumental in developing various varieites of Basmati rice, including the popular variety of Super Basmati. Dr. Majeed is the scientist who developed this variety of Basmati rice in 1996.

Scientists at Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Pusa, New Delhi took the traditional basmati and genetically modified it to produce a hybrid which had most of the good features of traditional basmati (grain elongation, fragrance, alkali content) and the plant was a semi-dwarf type. This basmati was called Pusa Basmati-1. PB1 crop yield is higher than the traditional varieties (up to twice as much).

 Rice is a cereal foodstuff which forms an important part of the diet of many people worldwide and as such it is a staple food for many.

There are two species of domesticated rice, Oryza sativa (Asian) and Oryza glaberrima (African).

Oryza sativa contains two major subspecies: the sticky, short-grained japonica or sinica variety, and the non-sticky, long-grained indica variety. Japonica are usually cultivated in dry fields, in temperate East Asia, upland areas of Southeast Asia and high elevations in South Asia, while indica are mainly lowland rices, grown mostly submerged, throughout tropical Asia.[8]

Boiled Rice - ukda chawal, mota chawal, 

White rice may be also buffed with glucose or talc powder (often called polished rice, though this term may also refer to white rice in general), parboiled, or processed into flour.   Parboiled rice is rice that has been boiled in the husk. Parboiling makes rice easier to process by hand, improves its nutritional profile, and changes its texture which is called "Ukda Chawal" in India.  . Today, it is the preferred rice of many in the southern parts of the Indian Subcontinent. White rice may also be enriched by adding nutrients, especially those lost during the milling process. While the cheapest method of enriching involves adding a powdered blend of nutrients that will easily wash off (in the United States, rice which has been so treated requires a label warning against rinsing), more sophisticated methods apply nutrients directly to the grain, coating the grain with a water insoluble substance which is resistant to washing.

Raw Rice, on the other hand is obtained by removing the husk from the paddy, without boiling it.  It cooks very fast, and experience only teaches how long it should be allowed to boi in hot water.

Jeersal Rice, Delhi Rice

File grain, long type, similar to Basmati.

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