Isn’t that interesting? Just like flowers come in various shapes, colours and fragrances so does rice!
There are some varieties of aromatic rice – two are most sought after and are cultivated in the Eastern part of the world – Basmati and jasmine rice. Basmati rice has been cultivated for centuries in the foothills of the Himalayas, while jasmine rice is grown in Thailand. Both come with their unique fragrances. Rice connoisseurs claim that cultivating aromatic rice is like ageing a fine wine – it requires skill and expertise! Among the aromatic rice Basmati variety has created a niche for itself. Widely accepted across more cultures and recipes, basmati and its varieties hold their sway across the Middle East, Eastern Europe and South Asia and is increasingly accepted as a standard among communities and new convertors. Extra Long Grain Basmati is one such variety.
When the grains of this rice are cooked they tend to be separate from each other. This is because extra long grain rice does not contain as much starch as short-grained rice does. Extra long grain basmati rice is one of the more popular types of rice, due to its having a slightly fuller flavour than regular white rice. When the grains are milled the husk and bran layers are removed, and the kernels that remain are slim and long, almost 4-5 times longer in length than the regular grains of rice. Even longer than the regular Basmati.
When this rice is cooked the grains separate, and they look attractively fluffy! And because they stand out separately they complement both, rich as well as delicate sauces. International dishes use a lot of this rice, as it is extremely versatile and mixes impeccably with diverse sauces.
A lot of regions around the world cook with this rice.
Some popular recipes are fried rice, Risi Bisi(rice with peas), rice rummage – a kind of salad that uses rice, kabobs over rice, chicken pot pie – a hybrid recipe that can be made without chicken but with veggies instead, squash with warm rice stuffing, lemon cilantro rice and gumbo soup.
The list is endless. Extra long grain basmati is so versatile that you can, with a little bit of creativity dish up a recipe using this rice, and you may very well end up with a personal favourite! You never know!