Basmati Rice

Basmati Rice

Basmati, which is endemic to northern India, Pakistan and Iran, has been falsely assumed to be in the Indica group due to its characteristic long, thin grains and because it is grown in India, where Indica varieties are widespread. Japonica varieties, which include sushi rice, are widely grown in East and Southeast Asia and tend to have shorter, stickier grains.

When the gene, called BADH2, loses its function through the natural process of mutation, rice becomes fragrant. This study reports eight novel mutations in BADH2 associated with fragrance and found that a previously discovered mutation, or allele, is shared by the vast majority of fragrant rice varieties today, including the fragrant Japonica varieties known as basmati and the fragrant Indica variety known as Thai jasmine.

Through genetic analysis of the DNA flanking BADH2, the researchers determined that the major fragrance allele originated in a Japonica-ancestor of basmati rice and was later transferred to Indica varieties, including Thai jasmine rice.

“People think that all rice [varieties] in India are from the Indica varietal group, but that’s not true,” said Susan McCouch, professor of plant breeding and genetics and the paper’s senior author.

Basmati Rice Classic Raw1©BondingTool Nasi Briyani Rice©BondingTool

Basmati Rice:
500g Basmati Rice
Salt, to taste (I usually put salt into the water first, should taste very slightly salty but not too much).
1 stick Cinnamon
5 Green Cardamons
5 Cloves
1 tsp Black Cumin Seeds
1-2 Bay Leaves
Lots of Hot Water in big pot to boil the rice (like cooking spaghetti)
1 tbsp Ghee (Oil)
½ tsp Saffron Strands or ¼ tsp Saffron Powder mixed with 1 tbsp water (optional)
1 tsp Rose Water, optional

Soak rice in lukewarm water for 30 minutes.
Drain away water.
Place rice and everything else in rice cooker except saffron.
Add 1 litre of water in the rice cooker.
Sprinkle with fried onions and some chopped cilantro, optional.
Drizzle the saffron water over cooked rice, if using.

For open pan cooking method, see Nasi Biryani recipe for rice (approx. 5 cups water to 1 cup rice).

Rice cooker and closed pan cooking: 1½ – 2 cups water to 1 cup rice (depends on hardness of water).
Closed pan: Cover pot and cook for 9-10 minutes. Turn off heat and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

P.S. This rice recipe with some side dishes is estimated to feed 5-8 persons (depends on the person’s appetite).

You can sprinkle fried cashew nuts and sultanas over the rice for more flavour and texture.

To ensure fluffy rice when cooking basmati for pilaf/biryani, or even nasi lemak, add in juice of 1 lemon or 1 tbsp of sugar together with the water upon cooking the rice. This will ensure each grain is fluffy and not sticky.

Happy cooking 🙂

Basmati rice fragrance cited from Cornell Chronicle

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