Throughout history it has been on royal menus of various cultures as the main dish. From the pilav of Turkey, to polou of Persia, pilafs of the Steppes and paellas of the Mediterranean, to the pulau of India it has been served to great Sultans, Maharajahs, Nawabs and Emperors. Spices, nuts, dried fruits, vegetables and herbs with Basmati rice transform rice dishes into extraordinary meals.
Basmati Rice: is nature's exclusive gift to the Indian sub-continent. No other rice in the world has this combined characteristic of exquisite aroma, sweet taste and the post cooking elongation. Basmati rice has been known to the world since the early days of the 19th Century though the British and the Portuguese and for a millennium and more it’s known to the Gulf, the Mediterranean and up to Greece.
Basmati was introduced to the Middle East by Indian traders. Through cultural exchange, it remains not only an important part of various Indian/ Pakistani cuisines but now is also used extensively in Persian and other Middle Eastern cuisines as well. India and Pakistan are the exclusive growers and exporters of this type of rice.
Agro- climatic conditions of the specific geographical area as well as method of harvesting, processing and aging attribute these characteristic features to Basmati rice. Owning to its unique characteristics the “scented Pearl” lends a touch of class that can transform even the most ordinary meal into a gourmet’s delight.
An important first question to ask about all rice—and for that matter, most foods—is how much it has been processed. In the case of rice, processing usually involves milling and polishing. The outermost layer of rice, called the hull, is removed to make brown rice. Brown rice is rice with the whole kernel intact and the kernel is still surrounded by all layers of bran.
To produce white rice, the bran layers of the rice have to be milled off. Most of the rice germ is also removed during this abrasive grinding process. At this point in the process the rice is called milled, unpolished white rice. Finally, a wire brush machine is used to remove the aleuronic layer that remains on the rice. This step is called polishing. As polishing is not an all-or-nothing process, semi-polished rice may still contain parts of its aleuronic layer.
The bran, germ, and aleuronic layers of rice contain most of the fat content found in rice and are the source of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin E as well as many other nutrients. If the high-fat components of the rice grain are left intact, the shelf life of the rice greatly declines; this is partly the motivation for manufacturers to remove the bran, germ, and aleuronic layers of rice, although this process reduces its nutritional value.
There is a processing technique called conversion that results in "converted rice." Converted rice is produced by steaming the whole grain before milling, causing some of the B vitamins to migrate from the outside layers into the starchy center of the rice (called the endosperm). This process leaves some B vitamins inside the converted rice even though the manufacturers remove the outside layers. Yet, this version is still not your best choice; the most nutritious rice is always whole grain, minimally milled, and unpolished (or semi-polished)—whether it be basmati, jasmine, or "regular" rice—with its outer layers intact as you want a rice to feature its bran and germ when you enjoy it so that you can enjoy greater health benefits.
In India, Basmati rice is characterized by extra-long, superfine slender grains having a length to breadth ratio > 4.3, sweet taste, soft texture, delicate curvature and an extra elongation with least breadth-wise swelling on cooking. This highly aromatic rice is India's gift to the whole world.
Indian Basmati rice has a very different aroma and taste from Chinese and Thai Jasmine rice. There are many "knock off" varieties grown in the US and other countries, but none match authentic Indian basmati for flavor, aroma, texture, and appearance. Basmati contains the natural, 2 actyl-1-Pyrolline content of PPM 0.06, which brings its unique aroma, unmatched by any other rice in the world.
The main varieties of Basmati rice as notified under the seeds Act, 1966 are Basmati 386 , Basmati 217 , Ranbir Basmati , Karnal Local/ Taraori Basmati, Basmati 370, Type-3 (Dehradooni Basmati), Pusa Basmati-1, Pusa Basmati 1121, Punjab Basmati-1, Haryana Basmati- 1, Kasturi and Mahi Sugandha.
Areas of Cultivation:
The areas of Basmati Rice production in India are in the states of J & K, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttarakhand and western Uttar Pradesh.
By virtue of its geographical position, water and soil quality plus special weather conditions, this rice is different from other rice varieties. It is grown only in Northern India.
Basmati Rice is exported in 4 major physical states, which are as follows: Parboiled Rice (White and Golden), Raw rice, Steam Rice & Brown Rice.