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NEWS & VIEWS SPICE BUSINES S


REVEALING THE SECRETS OF BASMATI


pyrroline, which is found in basmati rice at about 90 parts per billion. That’s about 12 times more than in other types of rice, giving basmati its special aroma. Brown basmati rice is comparable to other types of brown rice in nutrient content and white basmati rice is comparable to other types of white rice. To produce white rice,


WHEN you have a curry there is every chance you will also order some basmati rice. But what makes this different from others? Basmati is long-


grain rice from India, and is considered to be one of the best-quality white rices. It has a distinctive aroma and, when cooked, each grain should remain separate, giving a light,


42 OCT/NOV 2013 ISSUE 49


fluffy result. It is the perfect accompaniment to Indian curries and is used in biriyani and pilau dishes. Just like all species


of rice, basmati is available in white or brown versions, depending on the extent of the milling process. It has a unique smell which is due to the presence of a chemical called 2-acetyl-1-


the bran layers of the rice have to be milled off. Most of the rice germ is also removed during this abrasive grinding process. At this point in the process the rice is called milled, unpolished white rice. Finally, a wire brush machine is used to remove the aleurone layer that remains on the rice. This step is called polishing. As polishing is not an all-or-nothing process, semi-polished rice may still contain parts of its aleurone layer. The bran, germ, and


aleurone layers of rice contain most of the fat content found in rice


and are the source of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin E as well as many other nutrients. If the high-fat components of the rice grain are left intact, the shelf life of the rice greatly declines; this is partly the motivation for manufacturers to remove the bran, germ, and aleurone layers of rice, although this process reduces its nutritional value. There is a processing


technique called conversion that results in “converted rice.” Converted rice is produced by steaming the whole grain before milling, causing some of the B vitamins to migrate from the outside layers into


the starchy centre of the rice (called the endosperm). This process leaves some B vitamins inside the converted rice even though the manufacturers remove the outside layers. The most nutritious rice is always whole


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