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Basmati Rice: Long, slender-grained nutty-tasting aromatic rice
Basmati is a variety of long, slender-grained nutty-tasting aromatic rice which is traditionally grown in the Himalayas, India, Nepal and Pakistan. “Bas” in Hindi language means “aroma” and “mati” means “full of,” hence the word Basmati — or “full of aroma.” Basmati rice is indigenous to India and has been cultivated in the Indian subcontinent for centuries.
Many countries use domestically grown basmati rice crops; however, basmati is geographically exclusive to certain districts of India and Pakistan. In India The areas which have GI tag for Basmati rice production in India are in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Western Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.
Basmati rice comes in two varieties, white and brown. Both have a nutty taste and a distinct smell. White basmati, however, is more processed. The hull, bran, and germ are all removed. With brown basmati, only the hull gets removed. Both types make for a delicious and healthy addition to your diet.
Aroma and flavour
Basmati rice has a characteristic pandan-like flavour caused by the aroma compound 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline. Basmati grains contain about 0.09 ppm of this aromatic chemical compound naturally, giving basmati its distinctive fragrance and flavour. The level of 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline decreases while cooking, Soaking the rice for 30 minutes before cooking permits 20% shorter cooking times and conserves more of the 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline
The "Basmati Mark" is a DNA-fingerprinting-based certification done by the laboratory of Basmati Export Development Foundation (BEDF).
According to the Indian Government agency APEDA, a rice variety is qualified to be called Basmati if it has a minimum average precooked milled rice length of 6.61 mm and average precooked milled rice breadth of up to 2 mm, among other parameters.
Both brown and white basmati rice provide many health benefits.
According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, basmati, brown, wild, short and long grain rice has a "medium" glycemic index (between 56 and 69) opposed to jasmine and "instant" white rice with a glycemic index of 89, thus making it more suitable for diabetics as compared to certain other grains and products made from white flour.
In addition to a lower glycemic index, basmati rice can also contain a significant amount of fiber. The fiber in basmati rice is soluble, meaning it adds bulk and helps move waste along the digestive tract.
Better Heart Health
Eating whole grains like brown basmati rice is linked to a lower risk of heart disease. Whole grains help to reduce blood cholesterol levels. They also help to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease.
Reduced Risk of Cancer
Brown basmati rice has more fiber than the white version, and about 20% more than other types of brown rice. Higher fiber diets can help to reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancers, particularly colorectal cancer. Eating 3 ounces of whole grains per day may lower your risk for this type of cancer by about 17%.
Better Brain Health
Basmati rice is high in B vitamins, including B1 (thiamine). It has 22% of your daily recommended intake in each serving. Thiamine is crucial for brain health, and a deficiency can lead to a condition called Wernicke encephalopathy.
Nutrients per Serving
1 cup of cooked white basmati rice contains:
- Calories: 210
- Protein: 5 grams
- Fat: 0.5 grams
- Carbohydrates: 46 grams
- Fiber: 0.7 grams
- Sugar: 0 grams
Basmati rice also contains many other important nutrients, including:
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
The nutrients in white basmati rice are similar to those found in other types of white rice. Brown basmati rice is also comparable to other types of brown rice.
Following is the recipe for Vegetable Pulao, a popular food item in Indian households.
Recipe for Vegetable Pulao
- 1 cup basmati rice, uncooked
- Water for soaking
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, or peanut oil
- 1-inch cinnamon stick, broken in half
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 whole clove, or 2 to 3 if you really like cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 large onion, chopped thin
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- Wash rice under running cold water till water runs clear and soak in enough water for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, drain the water.
- Chop the vegetables you need and keep the spices ready while rice is soaking.
- Heat the oil in a saucepan on medium heat add cumin seeds, whole spices (cinnamon stick, cloves, peppercorns, cardamom and bay leaf) and sauté until the aroma is released.
- Add onions and cook till they get translucent or light pink in color.
- Add ginger paste, garlic paste, and green chilies and sauté till the raw smell of ginger garlic goes away.
- Add tomato, cook for a minute.
- Add the vegetables (carrots, green beans, potato, peas). Mix well.
- Add salt, pepper and garam masala. Stir well and cook for a minute
- Add lemon juice.
- Mix in the soaked drained rice and sauté the rice, vegetables for 1-2 minutes.
- Add water, crank the heat to high. Let the water come to a boil. Once it starts boiling, switch the stove to sim mode. Cover and cook for 17-18 minutes.
After 17 minutes, turn off the stove. Let it rest covered for 5 minutes. Then open the lid.
Note: Once pulao is cooked. It is important to let it rest for 5 minutes covered. Within this 5 minutes, the rice grains will firm up. So they will not get mushy when you fluff up or stir.
- You can add chopped coriander leaves or mint leaves at the end. It gives very refreshing flavors.
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