Basmati rice is a popular long grain rice originating from South Asia, namely the countries of India and Pakistan, though production of the grain has spread to other parts of the world as well. It can be served in a variety of ways, as a plain side dish, coated with spices and herbs, topped with or served alongside curry, and more.
If you’re looking for basmati rice nutrition facts, tips on how to properly prepare it, and a good recipe to make it, you’ve come to the right place! If you want to learn more about preparing and cooking Indian cuisine, check out this Indian food cooking course from Veena’s Kitchen.
Basmati Rice Nutrition
In the Hindi language, bas means “fragrance” and mati means “full of.” So the word basmati translates into “full of fragrance,” and anyone who’s prepared the rice themselves knows exactly how good that fragrance is!
But is basmati rice’s nutritional value as good as its scent?
One serving of prepared basmati rice – about 3 /4 of a cup – is 150 calories. We specify “prepared” here because basmati rice, like most grains, expand a ton when put in boiling water. A 3/4 cup of dry basmati rice grains is going to be become much fuller than its cooked counterpart.
The bulk of the calories in basmati rice comes from its carbohydrates, with very small amounts of fat and protein. Brown basmati rice that has not been milled or hulled (the bran and germ have not been removed) has more fat, protein, and fiber than plain white basmati rice, because most of the fat is found in the grain’s germ, but it can also spoil a lot quicker.
One serving of basmati rice contains 35 grams of carbs, most of which is found in the starchy white grain inside the bran. While you should definitely watch your intake of carbs, especially if you’re not an active person, basmati rice is composed of complex carbohydrates, meaning it’s digested easily and made available as an energy source for the body fairly quickly. Basmati rice also contains a little less than 1 g of fiber per serving. As far as carbs go, rice is a better choice over something like bread.
As stated previously, rice is a low fat, low cholesterol food. Most of its very minimal fat content located in the grain’s germ, which is stripped away during the milling process for white rice. Brown rice maintains its germ, and has a very slightly higher fat content.
Most of your concern regarding fat consumption should come from how you prepare your rice dish; whether or not you use a lot of butter or oil while it’s in the rice cooker, and what kind of toppings you’re putting on it. Plain basmati rice itself is very low in fat, with about 1 g per serving.
Rice isn’t exactly known for its protein, with only about 3 g per serving, but the little rice protein it does contain is very valuable. Rice protein contains all eight essential amino acids! It’s also, perhaps most importantly, a gluten-free grain. This means people who are gluten intolerant can enjoy a bowl of rice with little to no problems.
Vitamins and Minerals
Basmati rice contains thiamin and niacin, two B vitamins that are very valuable to the metabolism. One serving also contains 6% of your daily value of iron.
All in all, that’s about…
- 150 calories
- 35 grams of carbohydrates
- 1 gram of fat
- 3 grams of protein
- 1 gram of fiber
- Thiamin, niacin, and iron
… per one, 3/4 cup serving of basmati rice. Sounds fairly healthy on its own – but how are you going to make it?
Basmati Rice Preparation Tips
So you’ve decided that basmati rice is something you want to add to your diet, but now you might be wondering how to prepare it. Don’t start whipping out the instant rice boxes yet! Cooking rice at home is actually very easy, a lot cheaper, and healthier, since you’re in control of what goes in and what doesn’t.
Tip #1 – Wash your rice!
Pour the rice you want in a large bowl, and run it under warm water. Rinse the rice with your hands, drain the water, and continue this process until the water in the bowl of rice is clear, not cloudy. This removes excess starch from the grains.
Tip #2 – Let your rice soak before cooking
Cooking rice is super easy: you measure out the rice and water, pour it in a pot, let it boil, lower the heat, and cook it until it’s done. It shouldn’t take longer than half an hour. One trick to improving the look and texture of your rice is letting it sit in a bowl of water and soak for 30 minutes before you put it on the heat. This will let the grains expand and become more absorbent to curries or stews added on top.
Tip #3 – Measure your water and rice right
Some people are able to guess when adding water to their rice grains, but if you want perfect basmati rice that isn’t too soggy or too dry for your tastes, you need to measure things out. 1 3/4 cups of water to every 1 cup of rice is the general rule, but you’re totally free to adjust and see how the rice comes out, then take note for next time.
Basmati Rice Recipe
Ready to make your first pot of basmati rice? Here’s a recipe you can use that produces a little something extra!
Persian Basmati Rice and Tahdig
- 3-4 cups of basmati rice
- 3 tbs salt
- A pinch of saffron
- 4 tbs butter
- 3-4 tbs olive oil
Tahdig is a Persian dish made from the crunchy rice at the bottom of the rice pot.
Step 1 – Boil the water
Step 2 – Add salt to the water
Step 3 – Wash the rice, as instructed previously
Step 4 – Add the rice to the pot of boiling water
Step 5 – Let the rice boil on high heat for 5 minutes
Step 6 – Drain the rice in a colander over the sink and rinse with cold water
Step 7 – Set rice aside
Step 8 – Place the empty pot back on the stove on medium-high heat, and coat the bottom of the pot with olive oil
Step 9 – Melt the butter in a separate bowl, adding a pinch of saffron
Step 10 – Add the rice to the pot, clearing spaces in the middle to pour the melted butter and saffron mix so that it can pool at the bottom
Step 11 – Layer some paper towels over the pot and fix the lid over the top
Step 12 – Cook the rice on medium-high heat for about 8 minutes
Step 13 – Turn the stove to simmer and let the rice steam for another 30-35 minutes
Step 14 – When the rice is done steaming, remove it with a large spoon, leaving the tahdig at the bottom
Step 15 – To remove the tahdig, place a large plate upside down over the top of the pot, and flip it so the tahdig is transferred onto the plate