Speak of taste and aroma, the first thing that crosses the minds of any Indian is definitely Basmati Rice. This long-grained and the fragrance-filled ingredient is an essential which we find in almost every household across the country. This rice is grown specifically in India and Pakistan and is geographically exclusive to both these countries. This surely explains why we prefer Basmati rice to cook Pulaos, Phirnis, or Biriyanis!
History of Basmati Rice
The word ‘Basmati’ has emerged from the Sanskrit terms Vas (aroma) and Mayup (ingrained). Interestingly, if you look for its Hindi meaning, that means fragrance. Most of you might be aware that this term was used back in the 18th century as it has been mentioned in the tragic romance ‘Heer Ranjha’ (1766). However, we have got more stories to tell! In fact, the earliest mention of Basmati is found in the epic poem ‘Padmavat’ written by Malik Muhammad Jayasi in 1540. Even the British could not stop themselves from relishing and praising the delicacies made of this essential in pre-Independence India.
Basmati rice has a deep-rooted connection with Indian culture and this eventually paved the way for various traditional recipes which are a hit even in today’s world. However, there was a time when it was considered an explicit variety meant only for the royals and the elite class. In fact, it was given as a token of gift to the nobles in the bygone era. It was only eventually that the restrictions were eased and everyone can have their share of the king of rice in today’s world! This special rice is known to symbolize whiteness, purity, humility, prosperity, and grace.
Basmati in folk literature
Its name is mentioned in the folklore of multiple Indian languages like Punjabi, Urdu, Hindi, Nepalese, Himachali, Awadhi, and so on. It has also been mentioned in popular short stories, novels, folk songs, and for the fact, in prayers too! You may also find a woman named ‘Basmati’ in popular pieces written by renowned writers. So, there is no second doubt that this essential is an evident part of the country not only in terms of recipes but also its rich culture. That is the reason why we still prefer to cook phirnis, pulaos, or biriyanis with only and only Basmati rice!
Best ways to cook perfect Basmati Rice
There are times when you must have wished to make restaurant-style rice at home. Well, we have got some great tips for you which will surely win accolades from the guests!
Soak before you cook
While most people prefer not to soak Basmati rice before cooking, we recommend you do the otherwise. Try soaking the rice at least 30 minutes prior to cooking and get your soft grains ready for the rest of the recipe. However, you can skip this process if you are using parboiled
Don’t waste the soaking water
Many people have the tendency of throwing away the water in which the rice was initially soaked. However, you can retain the same and use it for the recipe. You can also make rice water a part of your skincare routine and see the results within a few weeks.
No stirring, please
You should never stir rice when cooking it. Doing so breaks the grains and the Basmati rice would lose its appeal.
Take your time
Everyone’s busy in today’s world. But we bet you surely can take out some time for making a scrumptious meal, right? Rice is something that needs to be cooked with patience. We recommend you take a little more time when cooking this essential and voila! Your restaurant perfect dishes would be ready in no time.
Add colors and flavors
There is no problem in adding a little tinge of color to your rice even if it’s a simple meal. Try adding a tinge of turmeric or some strands of saffron to make your dish look appealing or colorful. While Basmati has its own lingering fragrance, this acts as a cherry on the cake for the same.
Health benefits of Basmati Rice
- It’s a great option for people diagnosed with diabetes because of its lower glycemic index. Basmati rice has some essential components like starch, fiber, and protein which makes it a healthier option.
- As mentioned above, it has high fiber which aids the cardiovascular system and prevents clotting.
- It also helps in the prevention of the formation of cancer cells. In fact, brown basmati rice is known to prevent breast cancer.
- While rice is not considered to be a good choice when it comes to weight loss, this is exactly the opposite case when we talk about Basmati rice. The fiber content present in it helps control the appetite and makes the stomach feel fuller.
- Brown basmati rice is rich in potassium and magnesium because of which it helps in controlling blood pressure.
- It is a good option for people who have constipation or digestive issues. That is because Basmati rice includes soluble fiber which helps in proper movement with the digestive system.