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Basmati Rice

Basmati is a variety of long grain rice, famous for its fragrance and delicate flavor. Its name means "Queen of Fragrance" in Hindi.

Basmati rice has been cultivated in India and Pakistan for hundreds of years, and some varieties are now grown in the United States. The Himalayan foothills are said to produce the best basmati and Dehra Dun is the most prized of these varieties. Patma is a basmati rice grown in West Bengal. The best types of basmati rice are aged for several years before they are milled and sold.
The grains of basmati rice are much longer than they are wide, and they grow even longer as they cook. They stay firm and separate, not sticky, after cooking. Basmati rice is available both as a white rice and a brown rice. Both of these cook in about 20 minutes. Due to the high amount of starch clinging to the rice grains, many cooks wash this rice before cooking it. Soaking it for half an hour to two hours before cooking makes the grains less likely to break in cooking.
In 2000, the US corporation RiceTec (a subsidiary of RiceTec AG of Liechtenstein) attempted to patent three lines created as hybrids of basmati rice and semi-dwarf long-grain rice. At the same time, they tried to trademark the name "basmati". The Indian government intervened and the attempt was thwarted. Meanwhile, the European Commission has agreed to protect basmati rice under its regulations pertaining to geographical indications.

A number of varieties of Basmati rice exist.. Traditional ones include Basmati-370 and Basmati-Ranabirpura, while hybrid basmati varieties include Pusa Basamti 1(also called 'Todal', because the flower has awns). Fragrant rices that are derived from basmati stock but are not considered true basmati varieties include PB2 (also called sugandh-2), PB3 and RH-10.

Traditional basmati plants are tall and slender and are prone to lodging in high winds. They have a relatively low yield, but produce high-quality grains and command high prices in both Indian and international markets.

Scientists at Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Pusa, New Delhi took the traditional basmati and genetically modified it to produce a hybrid which had most of the good features of traditional basmati (grain elongation, fragrance, alkali content) and the plant was a semi-dwarf type. This basmati was called Pusa Basmati-1. PB1 crop yield is higher then the traditional varieties (up to twice as much).

 

  Copyright © 2006 Andy's Market. This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Basmati Rice".


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