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Brown Basmati Rice

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I eat a fair amount of brown rice, and have been buying a brown basmati rice from a couple of local sources. The rice is good, but it doesn't have the aroma that white basmati rice has, and none of the white basmati rice I've tried even comes close to the aroma and texture of the aged Indian basmati I sometimes get.

Is there a brown basmati out there that has a more intense aroma and flavor, closer to the aged Indian rice?


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post #2 of 10
I get my brown Basmati from a local health food co-op, and it's full of frangrance and flavor. Smells very nutty when you start the cooking process.

Been buying it there for a dozen years, and, until recently, didn't even know there was a white version. Then I bought a sack of Basmati at a Lebanese market, and discovered it was white when I got it home.

I've just, finally, finished that sack (it takes us awhile to go through ten pounds of rice). So, based just on that, here are my observations:

White Basmati cooks faster, and you might have to adapt your cooking style.

White Basmati is less aromatic and less flavorsome than brown.

Obviously, this is the reverse of your experience. So I'm wondering, now, if "Basmati" actually means anything at all?
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #3 of 10

Basmati rice

There are two sorts of brown basmati. There's imported brown basmati from northern India, which is true, unhulled basmati rice - rich, nutty aroma and packed with flavour.

There's also brown basmati grown in California. This isn't true basmati: it's a hybrid cross between basmati and ordinary brown rice and doesn't have the shape, flavour or fragrance of genuine Indian basmati.

Most Indian people eat white rice (arwa chaval), not brown rice (ukad chaval). Yamuna Devi (Lord Krishna's Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking (London: Century Hutchinson, 1987)) says:

"Indian brown rice has a strong flavor which even seems to overpower seasonings. So great is the preference for white rice that only the poorest eat brown rice..."

Here in the UK the basmati rice available in supermarkets is imported basmati from India and Pakistan: you can find both brown and white.
post #4 of 10
Yeah you probably got texmati or some sort of hybrid. :);

Still, I've found that using the correct proportion of water in basmati rice makes all the difference. I use 1 3/4 cup of water to one cup of basmati. and a pinch of salt.

You might try sauteing and then soaking the brown rice first. That might make a difference.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Oh, I do sauté first. While the rice isn't Texmati, my guess is that it's not the same as the Indian basmati. I'll check out the Indian grocery where I but the aged white basmati and see what they have. I'd love to get a brown rice with more of that white rice flavor and aroma. Thanks guys.

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
That's me :smiles:
post #7 of 10
I'm sure happy to see this thread.. I've been trying to switch my DH and myself over to brown rice and have had no luck at all.. We both find the regular brown rice (whatever brand I've bought) awful..
I know its a matter of getting used to it but I can't tell you how much I've thrown out after trying it once..

We both enjoy white basmati and white jasmine and have them a lot. I know brown is supposed to be the better choice healthwise, but tastewise sorry, I/we think it sucks..

Its sounds like you all think the brown basmati is pretty good, so maybe I'll give that a go..
I'm with you Shel, I'd love to find a brown rice with more of that white rice flavor and aroma..
post #8 of 10
I'm a brown rice freak. Have always preferred it over white.

That said, let's examine the health issue a little closer.

Because the hulls are not milled away, brown rice is more nutrionally complete than white rice. This doesn't mean that white rice is unhealthy. It just means it doesn't pack as strong a nutritional punch as the brown.

It's a long stretch from "not as healthy" to "unhealthy." A stretch, unfortunately, that many food scientists don't mind making.

In practical terms, what does this really mean? In a strictly vegetarian diet it could have consequences. There is a remote chance that you'd suffer certain nutritional deficiencies. Note my use of the word "remote."

But in a regular balanced diet, in which you are using fresh, home-prepared foodstuffs? Not a chance. Whatever is missing from the white rice will be made up by other foods.

What I'm saying is, don't sweat it. And don't switch to brown because you think you should, because it's healthier. If you prefer the white there is no reason you should give it up.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #9 of 10
Thanks KYHeirloom. I really like your way of thinking! My DH is diabetic plus other problems to go along with it.. I tend to feel guilty thinking I'm not preparing the 'right' foods for him and myself.. We do eat well, no junk etc. (well maybe the odd cheat hear and there) but at the same time, we're having a heck of a time giving up or switching some of the foods we've always enjoyed..
post #10 of 10

Basmati, like Champagne in France, can only be from a certain region in India. There are , however, many varieties of long grain rice from many different regions of the world. The brown Basmati rice that I get from my local Indian grocery store is from India. It is chewy, nutty and closer to California wild rice that I also use. It does nothing for the authentic Indian recipes but works with the daily Indian meal of roti ( unleavened whole wheat tortilla), sabji ( seasonal vegetable), daal ( lentil stew) and rice.


I do not flavor my brown Basmati because I serve it with other flavorful dishes. I have made a salad with it that guests have liked. The white Basmati of my younger years in India, was so fragrant and flavorful on its own, it needed no additions of flavor except fresh peas and cumin seeds flash roasted in ghee( clarified butter). But I had never even heard of brown Basmati before arriving in the USA.

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