An aromatic long-grained rice grown on the Indian subcontinent. Like all rice, basmati is found in both brown and white forms.
The rice is characterised by its long grain size, which expands when cooked to produce fluffy elongated shards. Brown basmati is usually covered by a light brown husk.
The colour of a basmati is translucent, creamy white. Brown Basmati Rice is also available but the most commonly used is white Basmati.
The grain is long (6.61 - 7.5 mm) or very long (more than 7.50 mm and 2 mm breadth).
Shape or length-to-width ratio is another criteria to identify basmati rice. This needs to be over 3.0 in order to qualify as basmati.
Dry, firm, separate grains. Upon cooking, the texture is firm and tender without splitting, and it is non-sticky. (This quality is derived from the amylose content in the rice. If this value is 20-22%, the cooked rice does not stick. The glutinous, sticky variety preferred by the chopsticks users has 0-19% amylose).
The rice elongates almost twice upon cooking but does not fatten much. When cooked the grains elongate (70-120 % over the pre-cooked grain) more than other varieties.
Selecting and Buying
# Make sure it is long grained and does not contain too many broken grains.
# It should be free from stones and other unwanted things. You may need to separate those things before you cook rice.
Basmati is sold under many brand names such as Kohinoor, Dawat, Tilda, Dehra Dun, Pari etc. It is long grain rice and cooks fast. Though it is a bit expensive compared to the other varieties of rice, it is in demand for it's delicate flavor and wonderful taste.
The plant of the basmati rice grows very tall and is weak, thereby making it prone to lodging. The plant should be sowed timely to ensure good yield and quality.
Preparation and Use
Basmati rice grains are longer than any other grains of rice. When cooked, the grains of Basmati rice become even more longer and do not stick to each other. The texture of the rice is dry and firm. It has a distinctive fragrance which makes it unique and different from other varieties of rice. Brown basmati rice is one of the healthiest food options available as it has a very low Glycemic Index.
Conserving and Storing
# Store rice in a dry and cool place. Put it in a container with a tight lid.
# Rice should be stored away from moisture and open air. Rice will get moldy if exposed to moisture.