The rice called Basmati has been a special part of Pakistani and Indian cuisine since centuries. Today its popularity has spread to the Western world as well. The evidence of this rising popularity is the growing numbers of Basmatiexporters nativeto the Indian subcontinent.
This variety of rice is most popular because of its special aroma and flavor. The lovely aroma of Basmati rice is because of a chemical content called as 2-Acetyl-`1- Pyrroline which is present 12 times in Basmati compared to other types of rice.
Basmati is popular not only for its delicious flavor and special aroma, but also due to a slew of nutritional benefits. Some of these are:
• High calories:Those seeking high energy foods in their regular diet must go in for Basmati than other types of rice. Basmati is good source of instant energy because 200 gms of cooked rice consist of more than 200 calories.
• Proteins and carbohydrates: Though protein content is minimal (4 gm in 200 gm of basmati), it contains 8 essential amino acids. Types of basmati like 11-21 and Royal rice contain around 45 gm of carbs.
• Low in gluten and fat: 200gm of rice in a bowl contains minimal fat content of less than 1gm. It is also free of cholesterol. Thus basmati is a very healthy food. Also, all types of Basmati are free of Gluten. This makes it ideal for those who have gluten allergy.
• Rich in vitamins: Basmati contains substantial vitamins like niacin and thiamine. Deficiency of these vitamins is unhealthy for the body. But their presence in Basmati makes it very nutritious. These vitamins keep the skin, the digestive system, nervous system and the heart in good condition.
• Other benefits: Basmati is also rich in minerals like Iron. Also brown type of Basmati contains fiber which is valuable for easing constipation and being a healthy part of the diet for treating obesity.
Because of these reasons, Basmati is becoming popular in cuisines around the world. Here is a sample of a delicious recipe using Basmati:
Almond Cranberry Rice Pilaf
• Unsalted butter-3 tablespoon
• Almonds with skin, sliced- ¼ cup
• Onion, chopped finely: ½
• Basmati rice- 1 and a half cup.
• Dried cranberries-1/2 cup
• Chicken broth -1 cup
• Black pepper freshly ground-as required
• Kosher salt-as needed
• Fresh parsley, finely chopped-2 table spoon
• Keep a medium sized saucepan over medium heat and melt 1 tbsp of butter in it.
• Add almonds and allow cooking, whilingstirring constantly till golden and smelling nutty (around 3 minutes). Transfer into a bowl and keep aside.
• The remaining 2 tbsp of butter must be melted in saucepan to which onions must be added.
• Cook for 5 minutes, till this is softened (stirring occasionally)
• Add the cranberries and rice and cook for 1 minute till it is well coated.
• Add 1 and half cup water, chicken broth, salt and pepper (to taste) and raise heat to medium high.
• Bring to boil and keep rice mix covered over low flame.
• Cook for 18 minutes till all liquid is absorbed.
• Take away from heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes, covered.
• Stir in parsley and half of the cooked almonds. Season with pepper and salt.
• Serve hot, garnished with remaining almonds.
These are some of the benefits of Basmati type of rice.