Rice is arguably the most important grain in the world, but here in the Western world, it hasn’t enjoyed the status and popularity as other staple foods like wheat, corn, beans, or potatoes. Nevertheless, for millennia, rice has played an integral part in the health of people all over the rest of world. There are more than 40,000 types of rice, but for a Mediterranean diet and cuisine, there is clearly a front runner—basmati rice. We have the history of basmati rice and what makes it the prime choice for this diet.
The History of Basmati Rice
Sometimes called “popcorn rice” for its aroma, this long-grain variety is chosen for its fragrance, taste, and slender shape. True basmati is grown in India and Pakistan, although many hybrids are produced elsewhere, including the United States. Texmati, for example, is the rice version developed in Texas.
Origins of basmati rice
As well as being the world’s second-largest consumer of rice, India is also the second largest global producer of the grain. Long-grained basmati is a popular type of rice grown and consumed in India. It produced in the foothills of the Himalayas for thousands of years, and pure basmati is a protected product of the region, just like champagne in the Champagne region of France. The best quality basmati rice is comes from the old Karnal district, known as the “rice bowl of India.”
Basmati gets its name from the Sanskrit word for “fragrant” or “perfumed one,” due to its enticing aroma, soft, silky texture, and distinctive long, curved grains. The unique aging process is one aspect setting basmati apart from other rice.
For the grains to obtain their unique flavor and fragrance, basmati rice ages for long periods of time. The usual aging period for basmati rice is a minimum nine months; although some premium brands age their basmati rice for as long as 18 months or more.
Health benefits of basmati rice
Rice is one of the most easily-digested grains, which is why many recommend rice cereal as a baby’s ﬁrst solid food. Rice makes an ideal food for those on a restricted diet or who are gluten-intolerant.
Here are a few of the health benefits of basmati rice:
- Helps fat oxidation
- High nutritional value
- Excellent source of energy and fiber
- Lowers blood pressure
- Helps with brain maintenance
Remember to add more basmati rice to your diet to keep your body balanced with a beneficial grain.
Try Paymon’s Delicious Basmati Rice Dishes
We hope we made you hungry with the history of basmati rice to try this type of rice. True to its Mediterranean roots, we serve basmati rice in several of our signature dishes in our Paymon’s Mediterranean Restaurant. Stop by one of our locations for some scrumptious recipes!