Basmati is the long grained aromatic rice grown in the Himalayan foothills in the northwestern parts of India and is a major export crop for our country. The word “basmati” in Hindi means fragrant and the rice is so named because of its distinctive aroma. Basmati is used not only in regular diet but signifies festivities and celebration in India. It is not only a mere crop but a symbol of heritage for us.
Basmati has created a lot of ripples across the world. It is not only one of the best known aromatic rice but is subject of various legal tangles. A host of countries have staked claim to Basmati or have created a variety of rice that they claim is Basmati (example Texmati in Texas). India has been very proactive in protecting her intellectual rights on Basmati that is exclusive to our plains.
This fabulous gift of nature is the subject of a new dispute. A new controversy has erupted in connection with Basmati. The social media is rife with the rumor that a plastic version of basmati rice is being sold in the market. Consumers in various parts of India have gone ahead and filed complaints and laboratories are conducting tests to ascertain the authenticity of the claims.
Meanwhile, how feasible is this claim? Dr. V. P. Singh, Retired Head, Division of Genetics, of Indian Agricultural Research Institute, popularly known as Pusa Institute discusses this aspect and allays our fears in a short video.
While adulteration of food items is a common problem in India and lot of this happens from contrabands overseas, it is not necessarily the case with basmati rice grains. Cooked basmati contains 80% starch. The high starch content in this rice may give it such adhesiveness and elasticity that might make a ball of cooked basmati rice have some bounce. Just because a ball of sticky rice bounces, it is not plastic. Such bounce of a ball of cooked basmati rice is nothing but a natural phenomenon.
Therefore consumers can let go of any concerns that they may have and safely enjoy their basmati.
And that’s a relief. We have enjoyed basmati in various forms and our experiences have come up off and on in our blog posts. Basmati is our inheritance, “nature’s gift”, and we are glad to know it’s safe.