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Basmati Rice Information and How to Cook Basmati Rice

Updated on July 12, 2011
Bags of Basmati rice photo: robtain @flickr
Bags of Basmati rice photo: robtain @flickr

Basmati Rice History

Basmati rice has been cultivated since ancient times. Kings and the wealthy have favored it for centuries. It is still an expensive rice to buy. It was originally grown at the base of the Himalayan mountains. The soil was rich from the water melting off of the mountains.

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Himalayas - Origin of Basmati rice photo: sir_watkyn @flickr
Himalayas - Origin of Basmati rice photo: sir_watkyn @flickr

Where Is Basmati Rice Grown?

Basmati rice is still grown in India and Pakistan. Basmati rice is a huge export product of the area and a huge contribution to the regional economy. Pakistan and India are the largest growers of basmati rice, mostly in the Punjab region. It is the livelihood of many farmers.

The name itself, basmati, means fragrant in the Hindi language. It is very popular in southeastern Asian countries, especially India. Traditional curry dishes are often prepared with basmati rice.

Basmati Rice Cooking - Why Chefs Prize It

Basmati rice is still prized by chefs today. It has a characteristic aroma that is all its own. It has a pleasant nutty flavor, which is tasy and compatible in many different dishes.

Another reason chefs like cooking with Indian Basmati rice is its texture. Basmati rice is long grained and non-glutinous. It is fluffy, and doesn't get sticky or turn into a messy glob like some rice does. It is an excellent choice for a side dish.

Basmati Rice Nutrition

Both brown and white basmati rice is available. Brown basmati is healthier because it has more fiber and nutrients than white basmati rice. Brown basmati has a stronger flavor as well.

A cup of cooked basmati rice has about 200 calories and approximately 43 grams of carbohydrates. It has no fat, cholesterol, or sodium.

Basmati Rice for Diabetics

Rice is well-known to be bad for diabetics and those with excess belly fat because eating rice causes blood glucose levels to rise too quickly and sharply. Basmati rice is a better choice than instant white rice for this reason. Basmati rice doesn't cause blood sugar levels to rise as quickly as some types of rice. It has a medium glycemic index rating.

Basmati rice from the Himalayas photo: voidmstr @flickr
Basmati rice from the Himalayas photo: voidmstr @flickr

How to Store Basmati Rice

If you can't find basmati rice in the grocery store, check the ethnic section. If you have no luck, look for it in health food stores or specialty grocery stores. Or order it online.

Store rice away from humidity and heat. It is best kept in a sealed container, such as a canister or jar.

After basmati rice has been cooked, it will keep in the refrigerator for a week. Or freeze it for up to six months.

Basmati rice curry dish photo: House of Sims @flickr
Basmati rice curry dish photo: House of Sims @flickr

How to Cook Basmati Rice

Rinse basmati rice at least a couple of times before cooking.

After washing it, soak basmati rice in cold water for at least an hour. Basmati rice has more starch than any other rice, and this helps to remove some of it.

Drain the rice well to get rid of excess starch. Keep rinsing it until the water becomes clear.

Add the same amount of water as rice to a covered, heavy pan. If you like your rice more fluffy, add about 1 1/2 times more water than rice. Add a pinch of salt if you prefer.

Add less than a teaspoon of oil or butter to the water and rice. This is all that is needed to keep the rice from sticking together.

Bring the rice to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Keep it tightly covered for about 30-40 minutes. When you can't hear or see the steam evaporating from the pot anymore, your basmati rice is done! Remove from heat.

Leave the rice alone completely while it is cooking. Don't lift the lid at all. After it is done, let it sit for about ten minutes before fluffing it with a fork.

Basmati rice grains photo *Luana* @flickr
Basmati rice grains photo *Luana* @flickr

How to Make Perfect Basmati Rice Video - Different Method

Basmati Rice Information and How to Cook Basmati Rice Comments

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    • Corin profile image

      Corin 7 years ago

      An informative and useful hub. And like Hello, hello, I cook my rice without oil or butter.

    • ocbill profile image

      ocbill 7 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      don't you lose the nutrients if you wash it ?

      I think this is a very common mistake people do or a long-told falsehood that you should not wash it. I think you'll find differing opinions

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      I cook my rice only with salt because I think with oil or butter it becomes mushy -- at least with me.