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WHY BASMATI IS CALLED AS “QUEEN OF RICE” OR “QUEEN OF FRAGNANCE” ?

The word Basmati derives from the Hindi word bāsmatī  which literally means “fragrant” is a rice variety which is long-grain and well known for its delicate flavor and savory aroma. The Indian Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) specifies that among other requirements, a rice variety can be referred to as basmati if its average precooked milled rice length is at least 6.61 mm (0.260 in) and its average precooked milled rice breadth is up to 2 mm (0.079 in). 

Long Grain basmati rice

There are certain characteristics which specifies why basmati is known as “queen of rice “or “queen of fragrance”. Let’s Have a Look on some of them  

  • Aroma: Basmati rice is renowned for its flavourful aroma, often described as nutty or popcorn-like. This pleasant fragrance is one of the key reasons for its popularity and the royal title. 

 

  • Long Grain: Basmati rice grains are long and slender, which sets them apart from other rice varieties. The elongated grains remain separate and fluffy when cooked, making it a preferred choice for dishes where the individual grain structure is important. 

 

  • Texture: The cooked Basmati rice has a soft and fluffy texture, offering a delightful mouthfeel. This quality makes it suitable for a variety of dishes, from biryanis to pilafs. 

 

  • Taste: Basmati rice has a unique flavor profile that enhances the overall taste of a dish. It is not only about the aroma but also the subtle, slightly nutty taste that adds to its regal appeal. 

 

  • Culinary Versatility: Basmati rice is versatile and can be used in a wide range of dishes, from savory to sweet. It is a staple in many South Asian cuisines and is often associated with festive and special occasions. 

 

  • Geographical Indication (GI): Basmati rice from certain regions, particularly in India and Pakistan, has received Geographical Indication (GI) status. This means that the name "Basmati" is protected and can only be used for rice grown in specific regions that meet the defined standards. This adds to its exclusivity and royal recognition. 

  

  • Cultural Significance: Basmati rice has deep cultural roots, especially in South Asian cuisines. It is a staple in traditional dishes and is often associated with celebrations, rituals, and special occasions. Its role in cultural practices contributes to its esteemed status. 

 

  • Export Demand: Basmati rice has gained international recognition and is in high demand in global markets. Its popularity has expanded beyond South Asia, and it is widely used in various international cuisines. The export demand for Basmati rice has contributed to its reputation as a premium and sought-after rice variety. 

 

  • Cooking Excellence: Basmati rice is known for its cooking excellence. It has the ability to absorb flavors well, making it an excellent choice for biryanis and other rice-based dishes. The grains remain separate and do not stick together, resulting in a visually appealing and delicious final product. 

 

  • Health Benefits: Basmati rice is a good source of carbohydrates and provides essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. It has a lower glycemic index compared to some other rice varieties, which may be beneficial for individuals seeking to manage blood sugar levels. 

 

  • Traditional Growing Practices: Basmati rice is often cultivated using traditional farming practices that have been passed down through generations. The careful cultivation and harvesting methods contribute to the quality and authenticity of Basmati rice, adding to its royal reputation. 

 

  • Economic Importance: Basmati rice plays a significant role in the economies of the regions where it is cultivated. The cultivation and export of Basmati rice contribute to the livelihoods of many farmers and are integral to the agricultural landscape of certain areas. 

Production and Characteristics of Traditional Basmati Rice

These are the characteristics of Basmati rice which brings a bit of elegance to even the most quotidian meal into a gourmet’s delight. 

Updated on 28/11/2023

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