WHAT IS BASMATI RICE
Basmati is a type of long-grain rice that originated in the Indian region. There are many different varieties, but they all have three things in common: a light and fragrant aroma, an elongated shape, and thin grains. It has a distinctive, slightly nutty fragrance and flavor due to its high amylose content.
Basmati rice is traditionally used for savory dishes such as biryani and pilafs, but it can also be used in desserts such as kheer or with fruit, nuts, spices or vegetables for sweet dishes like halwa. It’s most commonly used to make biryani dishes but can also be eaten on its own as well.
Basmati rice was first grown in India about 2 thousand years ago and became popular during the Mughal Empire because of its unique characteristics. Today basmati is grown all over the world from Russia to America. The most important countries are Pakistan (world’s largest producer).
Its name is derived from “bas” which means fragrance and “mati” meaning rice. The grains are slender and have an almost transparent appearance with a nutty flavor, making it one of the most popular types of rice in India.
The cultivation process starts by soaking the grain for several hours to allow germination – this helps increase water absorption during cooking as well as breaks down cell walls that provide texture.
Basmati has been praised for its nutritional value, versatility, and taste by nutritionists around the world.
TYPES OF BASMATI RICE
The basmati rice grains are classified into three types:
1. Type 1 (Long Basmati Rice)
It has 2–3 times longer than medium grain types, very slender grains with thin bran layer and plump kernels when compared with other types. This type is generally not used for consumption but as seed material for propagation or for making animal feed due to the fact that it does not store well. has the least aroma and flavor.
It is not commonly cultivated in India for table use but is used mostly for industrial purposes like making glues, other food products, paper and textiles
2. Type 2 (Regular Basmati Rice)
It has smaller sized grains than type 3 variety but is still longer than the medium varieties have 1.5–2 times longer than medium grain types, slender grains with thin bran layer and plump kernels when compared with other types.
This type is used mostly for making of animal feed that does not store well but can be consumed especially in its milled form.
3. Type 3 (Super Basmati Rice)
It has shorter length than the abovementioned two varieties; it has 2–3 times longer than medium grain types, very slender grains with thin bran layer and plump kernels when compared with other types.
This type is also called aromatic rice, accounting for more than eighty-five per cent of all Basmati cultivation area in India. It comprises 20% to 30 % of total cultivation area in India and major producers’ states are Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF BASMATI RICE
Basmati is one of the most popular types of rice in India. Basmati has been gaining popularity among rice aficionados in other parts of the world as well due to its distinctive aroma and flavor. It is an aromatic long grained fragrant variety of rice.
But what are the health benefits of basmati rice?
The Scientific Evidence Behind Basmati’s Health Benefits
Basmati is very rich in essential nutrients like iron, B vitamins and antioxidants. It is a good source of protein, fiber and complex carbohydrates. This makes it an important part of a healthy diet. Here are some ways in which eating basmati rice can benefit your health:
1. Good Source of Energy
Basmati has a high nutritional content per serving size due to its high carbohydrate content (about 80%). Therefore, it provides you with instant energy when eaten as long as it is digested properly within about 3 hours.
For this reason, basmati alongside other types of whole grain rice is considered a good food for athletes because it helps in the production of energy.
2. Improves Digestion and Eliminates Constipation
It is said that basmati has a relatively lower glycemic index than other types of rice, which makes it more suitable to be eaten by people who are prone towards hypertension or diabetes. This also means that it does not increase one’s blood sugar levels very quickly after eating, thus reducing the risk of being affected by spikes in insulin levels and consequently weight gain.
Moreover, basmati contains both insoluble and soluble fiber that combines to slow down the digestion process; thereby making you feel fuller for longer periods of time and helping you avoid binging on any unhealthy snacks between meals.
Digestion can also be improved in those who suffer from constipation and other digestion-related illnesses by eating basmati rice on a daily basis because of its high fiber content.
3. Supports Weight Loss and Helps You Feel Full Longer
Basmati is packed with iron, vitamin B1 and protein that are critical for the formation of red blood cells in your body. The additional energy produced makes your metabolism work much more efficiently than usual producing results faster.
You will feel fuller for longer periods since it takes quite some time to digest compared to other types of rice which means you won’t feel hungry as long as you concentrate on healthy food choices at higher amounts. Also, consuming basmati helps you feel full faster.
4. Helps to Reduce the Risk of Cancer and Mental Diseases
Basmati also contains phytoestrogens that help protect male and female bodies from cancers such as breast, cervical, prostate etc. These chemicals have been found to be very effective in reducing weight gain too, while at the same time improve circulation rates in arterial blood vessels leading to reduced chances of heart attack and stroke.
Basmati rice is also a great source for omega-3 fatty acids; antioxidants that help prevent depression by slowing down the rate at which neurotransmitters break down in your brain thereby making one feel happier all day long!
5. Reduces Menopausal Symptoms in Women
Menopause can be quite a challenge for both women and their partners. The hormonal imbalance can be responsible for mood swings, hot flashes, insomnia among other common symptoms in menopausal women. This is why eating two servings of basmati rice per day reduces these problems tremendously.
6. Controls Blood Pressure Levels
One serving of basmati has about 75 percent less sodium than the white variety and for that reason it helps regulate the blood pressure levels considerably in those who are prone to hypertension or have normal blood pressure levels as well.
High consumption of sodium in food can create an imbalance which leads to an abnormal rise in your blood pressure levels. Therefore, one serving of basmati meets all your daily requirements for this mineral; thereby preventing any unwelcome rises in body pressure levels.
7. All Type of Rice Helps You Lose Weight Fast!
White rice is pretty much the same as brown rice except that it has been polished and had its outer layers removed, which results in its nutrients being largely diminished. While there are still some health benefits of eating white rice, they pale considerably when compared to those of brown rice.
Brown rice on the other hand contains more fiber than any other type of rice, thus making it one of the best foods for you since fiber plays a key role in weight loss by speeding up your metabolism and also helping you feel full all day long. In addition, brown rice has high amounts of selenium; a mineral known to lower your risk of certain types of cancer.
NUTRITION FACTS FOR A SERVING SIZE OF BASMATI RICE (UNCOOKED)
Serving Size 15g
Number of Servings 1
Amount Per Serving
Calories 80 % Daily Value
Total Fat 0g
Saturated Fat 0g
Potassium 67 mg
Total Carbohydrate 17 g
Dietary Fiber 2 g
Sugars less than 1 g
Protein 2.5 g
Vitamin A 3%
Vitamin C 8%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your caloric needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U. S. FDA.
COOKING INSTRUCTIONS FOR BASMATI RICE
Basmati rice is the best for Vata dosha. It is also very popular in many Western countries nowadays because of its fragrant aroma and taste. However, cooking instructions on how to cook it are really different from other methods.
Slice a few sticks of cinnamon into small pieces, add 1 tsp cloves (or cloves powder), 1/2 tsp cardamom powder and 2 tbsp rose water or essential oil to a cupful of rice and mix well.
Take this mixture as the filler along with one cup plain boiled Basmati rice in a pressure cooker for 2 whistles till it becomes soft and fluffy, then pour cold water over it to cool down immediately before removing the lid. This rice will be ready to serve!
Add fresh cold milk (preferably non-homogenized), chopped nuts (cashew nuts, almonds or pistachio) or yogurt to cooked basmati rice to turn it into healthy tasty one dish meal. You can also mix honey with this dish for patients with diabetes.
No Microwave Oven
Doesn’t recommend cooking Basmati rice in a microwave oven because it changes its taste and aroma. If you must cook this type of rice, then follow these steps: Put 1/2 cup Basmati rice (any variety), 2 cups water and 1 tsp salt in a pressure cooker for 6 whistles till the rice is cooked soft.
With Pressure Cooker
I would recommend cooking brown basmati rice in a pressure cooker because it will lose its smell if you cook it on high heat for too long but keep the aroma of white basmati rice after cooking. So, follow these instructions for each variety of Basmati rice individually.
Put 1 cup Basmati rice with 2 cups water and 1 tsp salt in a pressure cooker for 3 whistles till cooked, soft or simmer covered on medium low heat till tender; stir at least once every 5 minutes to prevent from over cooking. If you like slightly softer texture, then increase the water amount by half (1-1/2 cups).
What To Do Without Pressure Cooker
If you don’t have a pressure cooker, cook Basmati rice in 2 times more water than normal; put 1 cup rice and 2-1/2 cups water, add 3 tsp salt after boiling on high heat till half of the water evaporates. Then cover and simmer for 20 minutes on medium low heat or until tender (add more hot water if needed during cooking). Stir at least once every 5 minutes to prevent from overcooking.
Basmati rice is best cooked by steaming with a little salt added to the cooking vessel along with ½ cup of thinly sliced onions and 1 teaspoon of high-quality oil like mustard or vegetable oil. The lid should be removed from the pot after a few minutes and set aside to avoid condensation dripping onto the rice while its being cooked.
Cooking time per batch- 75 minutes Steam over medium flame until the grains are separate but not crunchy (al dente). You can use this rice for savory dishes, pulao’s et cetera.
How to Make Basmati Rice Flakes
After you have cooked the rice, remove it from heat and let it cool for about 20 minutes or so. Then put it in a blender with just enough water to get the blades turning. Blend into a smooth paste but NOT a very thin batter. Pour this over your steamer that has been lined with cheesecloth and steam (also made of cloth).
The steaming time is usually 45 minutes at medium-high heat; all done when you can break one grain easily between your fingers without crumbling. Now spread out on a flat tray and leave air dry for 2-3 days (as mentioned in Indian recipes) until its hard and crispy like black pepper corns. You can store it in an air-tight container for about one year.
RECIPES THAT USE BASMATI RICE
You can create a delicious and exotic meal by combining two recipes that use Basmati rice: spicy Indian raita sauce with chicken (using the curry recipe) and hard-boiled eggs. You could also use this dish for a special occasion, like having friends over to watch a football game or hosting a dinner party.
The vegetables are optional. Feel free to add your own favorite veggies, like onions or broccoli. I wouldn’t recommend adding super-strong whole vegetables like asparagus or green beans, though. You can use plain white rice if you don’t have Basmati on hand; just increase the water by 1/4 cup and cook it according to package instructions.
With these recipes, you control how much spice and salt goes into your food. The curry recipe makes a lot of sauce—enough to cover 5 lbs of chicken breasts! If you want less sauce, just save some for later. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week, so that gives you two meals. The sauce is so good, you’ll want to dip your fingers into it!
Basmati Spiced Chicken Breasts
Ingredient (Serves 2-4):
- 1 cup uncooked Basmati rice
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp black pepper (or to taste)
- 4 chicken breasts, cut into pieces
- 6 oz plain Greek yogurt
- Spicy Indian Raita Sauce
- 1 cup cucumbers, peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup carrots, diced and cooked
- 3 Tbsp fresh mint leaves, chopped if desired
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the rice with the water, salt and pepper in a 2-qt baking dish. Stir it together with your hands until the water is absorbed, and the rice has sopped up all the liquid. Let stand for 20 minutes (this step allows all of the grains to expand individually).
Put chicken in a 9×13 baking dish. Pour yogurt over top. Bake for 35 minutes or until tender and cooked through. To make raita sauce, mix cucumbers, carrots, mint leaves, sugar and lemon juice together in medium bowl. Season with salt to taste (I like about 1 tsp). Serve chicken over Basmati rice (or plain rice), topped with raita sauce.
Mix it all together! Chicken, Basmati rice & spicy Indian Raita sauce
This dish is not only tasty, but it’s healthy too! Basmati rice and chicken breasts are low in fat and carbs. The raita sauce has lots of veggies without extra calories. This recipe is a great way to serve rice for guests, since everyone can add their own spicy Raita sauce to suit their taste. Enjoy!
TIPS FOR BUYING AND STORING BASMATI RICE
When buying basmati rice, choose grains that are long and very white. The grains should appear clean, without any discoloration or black spots on them.
1. The Best Time To Buy Indian Basmati Rice
The best time to buy basmati rice from any store including specialty stores that sell it is early morning before noon. This is when the grains are likely to have retained all of their moisture and aroma because they haven’t been exposed to sunlight. After 12 noon sun exposure dries them out so avoid buying Indian basmati rice in the afternoon.
2. Smell The Rice Before Buying It
Basmati rice has a very distinct aroma. In fact, its name is derived from the two words ‘bas’, meaning fragrance, and ‘mati’, meaning delicate. The best way to tell if you are buying good basmati rice is to smell it for its characteristic fragrance. No other type of rice will have this particular scent.
3. Store All Types Of Grains In Airtight Containers
To maintain their freshness and flavor, keep basmati rice away from light as well as strong odors like spices, onions and garlic. Although refrigeration will not go bad your entire supply of basmati at one time, store only what you need in an airtight container; cover it tightly, and mark the date on your container.
It is suggested to store it in a wooden box or basket lined with a clean cloth. Basmati rice stored in this way will keep for about six months without getting rancid.
4. For Long Term Storage
For long term storage, airtight freezer bags are your best bet. These bags should be filled completely before sealing them; this will prevent rice from coming into contact with other odors like onions or garlic which will give a bad taste to the grains of basmati rice even if they haven’t actually gone bad.
5. Cleaning Tips
Always wash your hands before handling the rice to avoid any form of contamination. Rinse the cooked grains under cold running water to separate them and then soak them in cold water for 10 minutes or longer. The soaking releases excess starch from its surface that can turn starchy when you cook it so be sure not throw away this starch-free water but use it instead for cooking vegetables, potatoes, soups etc…
After soaking, drain Indian Basmati Rice through a colander or sieve and replace with fresh cool clean water; repeat washing process two more times to make sure you’ve removed all impurities. Before serving rinsed basmati rice always let it sit in a colander for about 10 minutes or so. This will allow the excess water to drain off, making it less sticky and clumpy when cooked.
Basmati rice is a type of aromatic long-grain white rice that originates from India. It’s known for its characteristic, nutty aroma and flavor when cooked – though the specific flavors are determined by what spices are used to season it or how it was prepared.
As with any other food product, shopping for basmati can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start (or end!). That’s why we put together this list of tips on how to buy, store, cook and serve your favorite Indian dish. We hope they help guide you through eating healthy versions of basmati rice in your own kitchen!