Basmati rice has a regular place on our dinner table, and I am glad that our twins have already developed a taste for it. They like to nibble on the long, flaky, bright white grains of Basmati rice. Sometimes, we mix it with yogurt or lentil soup for them. The only problem is that they make a terrible mess out of it, and we end up having to pick it up – grain by grain – from the floor under their booster seats. Oh well, that’s what you get when you try to feed the two-and-a-half-year olds!
But seriously, it is also good for you
Taste and fragrance aside, the main reason why we like Basmati rice is because of its medium glycemic index (GI). Basmati rice is a good source of carbohydrates, and according to the Canadian Diabetes Association , it has a medium glycemic index. Glucose, by definition, has a GI of 100. Foods with low GI are less than 55, medium GI are 56 – 69, and high GI are 70 – 100. High GI foods, such as white bread, baked potato, corn flakes, cereals, watermelon and jasmine rice, increase the blood glucose levels very quickly right after they are eaten. This results in a rapid release of insulin from the pancreas. Low GI foods, such as whole grain bread, vegetables, fruits (except watermelon), pasta, fish and eggs, do not increase the blood glucose levels that quickly; so the insulin levels are also low after eating. Uneven production of insulin over time can lead to insulin resistance and Type II diabetes. It has been shown that following a low GI diet over a long period of time can result in reducing the risk of developing Type II diabetes and heart disease.
Where to buy Basmati rice
Basmati rice is available in Costco and Sam’s Club in 20 lb bags. We buy a brand called Royal Basmati Rice , which at Costco costs about $25 per bag. Many other brands of Basmati rice are available in both white and brown varieties. Bags of smaller sizes may also be available in supermarkets and local grocery stores. You can also check out several online distributors for more options.
How to cook Basmati rice
Cooking Basmati rice is very simple. Add 2 cups water to 1 cup Basmati rice in a 1 quart saucepan. Although, many recipes suggest washing the rice in water to remove its starches, we don’t follow that advice. It saves time! Add a little salt and 2 tbsp olive oil and mix well. Uncovered, bring to boil. Reduce heat to the lowest setting and cover tightly. We cover the saucepan with a paper towel before putting the lid on. This way, the steam escapes very slowly. In about 15 – 20 minutes, the rice will be ready. Do not stir. When cooked well, the grains do not stick to each other; they should remain separate and flaky. Typical serving size is about 50g (1/4 cup), which packs about 180 calories, 5 g fat, 41 g (14%) carbohydrate and 4g protein.
Ready to try it out?
Follow the method described above if you are cooking for your toddler. If you want to try a few different (and very delicious!) recipes for yourself, and if you have a taste for Indian spices, here are a few recipes you can check out (I have not tried them, but they look great):
- Lime flavored rice with split peas - Lisa’s Kitchen
- Lamb chops with organic saffron basmati rice – Organictobe.org
- Navratna Pulao – Mom’s Recipes
- Basmati rice with Cinnamon and Saffron by Madhur Jaffrey
If you want to read up on Glycemic Index, here is a great technical report.