Hindi word basmati means fragrant, and refers to the
nutlike flavor and aroma of this small, but long grained
rice. It has been used in India and Pakistan for thousands
of years and is excellent with curries. Several varieties
are now grown in the U.S., such as Texmati and Kasmati,
and all are growing in popularity. (One U.S. company
has made an effort to patent Basmati rice and trademark
the name). Their flavor is very good,but not quite up
to real imported Basmati.
at Blue Heaven Restaurant, we use brown Texmati or brown
Basmati when available. Brown rice has only the outer
husk removed, leaving the germ and bran layer, and retaining
most of the nutritional value, especially the B vitamins.
This minimal processing also produces a rice more flavorful
than polished white rice.
cooking, we use approximately 1 7/8 parts water to 1
part rice, with just a pinch of salt and a little olive
oil. Respected cookbooks differ on these proportions,
some recommending 1½ - 1 and others up to 2 -
1 ratios. Experiment, using the same brand and type
of rice each time, and find the proportions which work
best for you.
is a variety of long grain rice, famous for its fragrance
and delicate flavour. Its name means "Queen of
Fragrance" in Hindi.
rice has been cultivated in the Indian sub-continent
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.
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.
article is from Chef James Ehler of Key West, Florida.
is a webmaster, cook, chef, writer and (like me) a self-confessed
computer nerd. He is the former executive chef of Martha's
Steak & Seafood Restaurant and the former Reach Hotel
(both in Key West), the Hilton Hotel in Fayetteville,
Arkansas, and the New Bern Golf and Country Club, North
is now webmaster and cook at the Blue Heaven Restaurant
in Key West while he works on his Food Encyclopedia
(five years so far). It is well worth paying a visit
to James' food reference website which is a useful resource
well worth Bookmarking - to visit either website just
click on their title:
Food Reference Website
Blue Heaven Restaurant, Key West, Florida
James T. Ehler, 2001
All rights reserved