See also: Rice History; Rice Varieties; Rice: Rinse or Soak?; Cooking Tips; Rice Trivia
The Hindi word ‘basmati’ means fragrant, and refers to the nutlike flavor and aroma of this small, but long grained rice. It has been used in India and Pakistan for thousands of years and is excellent with curries. Several varieties are now grown in the U.S., such as Texmati and Kasmati, and all are growing in popularity. (One U.S. company has made an effort to patent Basmati rice and trademark the name). Their flavor is very good, but not quite up to real imported Basmati.
Here at Blue Heaven Restaurant, we use brown Texmati or brown Basmati when available. Brown rice has only the outer husk removed, leaving the germ and bran layer, and retaining most of the nutritional value, especially the B vitamins. This minimal processing also produces a rice more flavorful than polished white rice.
When cooking, I use approximately 1 7/8 parts water to 1 part rice, with just a pinch of salt and a little olive oil. Respected cookbooks differ on these proportions, some recommending 1 1/2- 1 and others up to 2 - 1 ratios. Experiment, using the same brand and type of rice each time, and find the proportions which work best for you.