Basmati Rice: Things you Should Know About This Premium Rice Variety

Basmati Rice: Things you Should Know About This Premium Rice Variety


Basmati Rice: Things you Should Know About This Premium Rice Variety

Organic Food

Rice, like wine, ages gracefully with time. And if Merlot or Chardonnay are the premium varieties of wine, then basmati would be a fitting analogous pair. Basmati rice is hands down, the crown of all rice varieties.

But what makes basmati rice so special? Is it because it sounds fancy? Or is it the basmati price that makes it so rare? How does basmati rice amp up the flavour of biryanis or curries?

Here is everything that you need to know about basmati rice:

What is Basmati Rice?

Basmati Rice is a variety of rice that is cultivated at the foothills of the Himalayas. Its grains are long, thin, and pointed, and come in a variety of colours. According to the Directorate of Rice Development, India is the lead exporter of basmati rice globally, with the Middle East, the UK, and the US as primary import destinations.


In Hindi, the word ‘basmati’ means ‘queen of fragrance,’ and it stands true to this name. The woody, popcorn-like scent is complimented with its distinct nutty and spicy flavour, both of which are a product of 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline (AP2). Due to its low starch content, cooked basmati rice grains are fluffy and non-sticky, with each individual grain separate from each other.

Different Basmati Rice Variety

Typically, basmati variety can be categorised as white and brown rice. Brown basmati is basically unmilled basmati with its husk intact. White basmati is softer and fluffier, while brown is nuttier and possesses more intense flavours. Brown basmati can be equated to whole grains.

Apart from the above, a publication by APEDA (Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority) states that India recognises 29 varieties of basmati under the Seeds Act (1966), including Dehraduni Basmati, Pusa Basmati, and Karnal Local Basmati, amongst others.

How to Cook With Basmati Premium Rice?

Different cooks have different methods to cook basmati rice. For example, some recommend soaking the rice for at least 20-30 minutes before cooking it, while others discourage soaking basmati rice. Thus, the instructions on the packaging will offer the best direction for cooking the rice.


However, when you are cooking with basmati premium rice, these standard steps apply:

  • Rinse the rice a couple of times, until the water runs clear, before cooking it. It allows you to get rid of the starch present on the surface of the rice grains.
  • Typically, the best rice to water ratio is 1:1.5, that is, for every cup of rice, you should use 1.5 cups of water.
  • Transfer the rice and water to a heavy-bottomed pan. Turn the heat on high and bring the water to a simmer.
  • Lower the heat and place a heavy lid on top. Allow the rice to cook for about 12 minutes.
  • Take the pan off the heat and let it rest for another 10 minutes (do not take the lid off). Fluff and serve!

Sauteeing the rice grains in some butter or oil coats every individual grain and imparts a nutty, smoky texture to the rice.

How to Store Basmati Rice?

Everyone knows that basmati is a premium grade rice. Hence, it must also be stored accordingly. Here are a few tips for storing basmati rice:

  • Leave uncooked rice in its original packaging for short-term storage and keep it tightly sealed.
  • For storing uncooked basmati rice for a longer duration, transfer it to a clean, dry, airtight jar. Screw on the lid tightly.
  • Store the rice in a cool, dark place away from moisture.
  • For longer shelf life, you may even place the rice in an airtight container or heavy-duty resealable bag and pop it in your fridge or freezer.
  • Cooked basmati lasts about four to six days when stored in the fridge.
  • If the rice grains are emitting a funky odour, appear “off,” or look like they have been contaminated, discard it immediately.

Surprising Facts About Basmati Rice

Here are some interesting facts about basmati rice:

Basmati Rice is Healthier Than Other Varieties

Basmati is comparatively lower on calories and contains several other micronutrients, which makes it a healthier option. Furthermore, it is also often enriched with additional minerals to add to its nutritional value. According to an international report published in the Journal of Pediatrics, basmati rice has the least amount of arsenic content amongst all varieties, which adds to its health benefits.

Basmati Can Help With Weight Loss


If you are trying to lose weight, then the basmati rice can come to your rescue. The two main factors that come to play is the low glycemic index (GI) and high amylose content of basmati. With a GI of 50-58 (as discovered in the Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition), it offers sustained energy to the body. At the same time, amylose takes longer to digest, which makes you feel full for a longer duration.

It is Diabetes and Allergy-Friendly

Due to its low GI, basmati offers better blood-sugar regulation, making it diabetes-friendly. However, do consult your physician before incorporating it into your diet. Similarly, those with gluten allergies or lactose intolerance can switch to basmati rice and basmati rice-based products like flour, milk, etc.

It Offers Several Health Benefits

Long-grain basmati rice is not only delicious but counts as a whole grain, especially brown basmati rice. As a result, it offers all the benefits of whole grains, such as a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, certain forms of cancer, heart diseases, along with reduced inflammation.

How to Pick the Best Basmati Premium Rice?

If you wish to get your hands on basmati of the premiumvariety, here is what you should look for:

  • Shape and Size: The longer the grain, the better the quality. Basmati rice also has tapered ends. Stay off grains that are flat along the edges.
  • Colour: Aged basmati has a tinge of gold. Younger rice will appear pearly white. Avoid rice that is grey or black.
  • Choose Organic: Look for basmati rice that is marked as organic as it will be chemical and pesticide-free.

It is clear that basmati rice holds a special place when compared to its counterparts. Besides its health benefits, basmati’s delicious fragrance and ability to absorb flavours from spices, gravies, curries, and condiments make it a culinary delight. Thus, basmati justifies its price and emerges as a “must-have” food ingredient in your pantry!

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