Famous around the world today, India’s long-grained Basmati rice, also referred to as the Patna or Dehradun variety is grown in the foothills of the Himalayas (abode of snow).
About fifteen hundred years ago an Indian story recorded that rice was dressed in ghee with its full accompaniment of curries. Little has changed since then, for an Indian meal is incomplete without rice. The Muslims introduced the traditional pilao and biryani festival dishes to India in the eighth century.
The rulers (nawabs) of Awadh (Oudh) and Hyderabad dazzled the world with their culinary delights. Their unforgettable and incomparable pilaos resembling plates of rubies and emeralds were conversation pieces. The chefs used techniques that were developed in the kitchens of the caliphs of Baghdad where rice was soaked in saltwater before cooking to give it the luster and sparkle of crystals.
Here is a simple way to prepare Basmati rice.
Basmati Rice (Chawal)
2 cups long-grained Basmati rice
10 cups water
1 tablespoon corn oil
Wash and thoroughly rinse the rice three times in cold water until the water is clear. In a large pot add the rice, 10 cups water, and 1 tablespoon oil. Cover and boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until rice is almost cooked. Remove, rinse in cold water, and drain thoroughly in a colander.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Transfer the rice to a baking dish. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 5-6 minutes until rice is steaming.
Remove and serve hot with chicken curry, vegetables, plain yogurt, and salad.
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