29 Nov 06
Basmati is a variety of long grain rice, famous for its fragrance and delicate flavour. Its name means "Queen of Fragrance" in Hindi. Basmati rice has been cultivated in India and Pakistan 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. The 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 in cooking.