ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design

27. The one and only Basmati

basmati rice seeds and in the middle the text Basmati rice

India is a generous land of precious materials: gems, diamonds, pashmina, silk... but also edibles, like Basmati rice.
How do you know that what you bought is authentic? For silk there’s the burnt wire trial (if it smells like burnt hair it is authentic). For pashmina there’s a ring trial. What about Basmati? The experts say that it is very easy to recognize Basmati among all other rice, for Basmati is the champagne of all rice. Because it is one and only, and because it is only from India – and a little bit from Pakistan, we have to admit.

The first trial is the aroma: whether it is raw or cooked, it smells delicious and fragrant. It tastes sweet.
The second trial: if it is true Basmati, by the thin and tapered shape of each grain, during the cooking it grows in size and length.

There are many variations of Basmati: not everyone is from India. In 1997 there was a litigation between America and India for Basmati. RiceTec was granted a patent by the US patent office to call the aromatic rice grown outside India 'Basmati' and sell many different varieties under basmati brand. The government of India reacted immediately in order to protect India's interests and a legal dispute is going on. Europe, meanwhile, accepted to preserve Basmati’s indian origins.

When we speak about Rice, in fact, we speak about geography. The aroma must blend to the perfect soil and weather conditions in order to create the correct alchemy and give birth to Basmati. The pre-himalayan hills are the perfect spot to grow Basmati.
The history of Basmati goes very fare in the past, and little is known about its origins. The name comes from the Sanskrit Vasaymayup (vasay, aroma; mayup, soaked) and was then transformed into vasumati. And then basmati from the hindi. Ayurveda considers is the king of all rices: it is saatvic (pure), feeds the body. It is also easy to digest. During XVII a diamond merchant (Jean Baptiste Tavernier) tasted the rice at the moghul court, finding it absolutely delicious.

There are currently 86 existing variations of Basmati, but only 18 has the proper standards to be considered original. Price may vary upon the type and, of course, on the quality. The high price of the true Basmati keeps it away from most tables, but allows you to feel the true aroma of the rice when you want to treat yourself with a royal dinner.

For whoever wants to know more and become a true Basmati expert, we suggest to read Drs. R.K. Singh, U.S. Singh and G.S. Khush Aromatic Rices (Oxford IBH, New Delhi, 2000).

And for everyone… We hope you’ll be enjoying a good dinner with nice Basmati – maybe using one of our recipes? Good Basmati everyone!





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