Basmati rice is a type of long grain rice cultivated in India and Pakistan that’s renowned for its multi-faceted flavor and fragrance (its name actually means “the fragrant one” in Sanskrit). Basmati has longer grains than most other kinds of rice which results in it being much more free flowing instead of sticky. India and Pakistan are the two major exporters of Basmati; it’s normally grown in paddy fields in the Punjab region and can be found in both white and brown varieties. Cooking Basmati is a relatively simple process that only requires a proper pot, some butter, salt, and water. If you’ve got a pressure cooker you can perform roughly the same procedure but cut the cooking time down from 25 minutes to about 5 minutes, however today we’re just going to cook it on the stove top the old fashioned way. Let’s get started.
What to do
Oh, if you’re curious, this is the pot that he’s got in the video (it’s a bit expensive, and you certainly don’t need this particular one, but I do imagine that a thick steel or ceramic pot would work better than a thin aluminum one): Le Creuset Round French Oven.
Additional Resources and Further Reading
If you’re a rice fiend like me, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of a book called Seductions of Rice by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. The authors are photographers as well as writers, but their greatest skill may be to travel the world at the level of the culture they visit. They seem able to drop away from Western culture and hunker right down with rice vendor or cook, no matter where. Seductions of Rice opens with all the basics of rice, everything you might want to know and then some, and then (this is what I really love about this book) they move on to include the cultures of rice: Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indian, Central Asian, Mediterranean, Senegalese, and North American. The recipes are either made from rice or made to accompany rice ranging from Chinese Congee to Thai Green Papaya Salad to Japanese Quick Morning Miso Soup to South Indian Lentil Stew to Cuban Black Beans to Mexican Green Rice.
Also, if you’d like some more recipes and ideas, RiceRecipes.org has one of the largest collections of rice recipes available.