The Global Appeal of Basmati Rice: Famous International Dishes

Basmati rice, with its distinctive aroma, long grains, and unique taste, has managed to win hearts across the globe. This versatile grain is not only a staple in many countries but also a star ingredient in numerous iconic dishes. 

From the kitchens of India to the dining tables of the Middle East, Europe, and beyond, basmati rice adds a touch of elegance and flavor to meals. Let’s explore the global appeal of basmati rice and find some of the most famous international dishes that feature this prized grain.

The Allure of Basmati Rice

Basmati rice, often referred to as the “queen of fragrance,” is known for its exceptional qualities. The word “Basmati” originates from the Sanskrit word “Vasmati,” meaning “fragrant.” This variety of rice is primarily grown in the Indian subcontinent, with India and Pakistan being the leading producers. 

According to the All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA), India exported over 4.45 million metric tons of basmati rice in 2020-21, highlighting its global demand.

In this day and age, brands like Kohinoor are creating quite the waves. Known for their premium quality and consistent flavor, something like Kohinoor Basmati Rice is a favorite among households and chefs worldwide. Its grains are carefully aged to enhance the aroma and taste, making it perfect for a variety of dishes.

Cooking Rice: A Universal Practice

Cooking rice is a universal practice, but the methods and recipes vary widely across cultures. The versatility of basmati rice allows it to be used in an array of international dishes, each with its own unique twist. 

Here are some renowned dishes that showcase the global appeal of basmati rice:

1.Biryani – India

Biryani is perhaps the most celebrated dish made with basmati rice. This flavorful and aromatic rice dish is a staple in Indian cuisine and has numerous regional variations. Whether it’s Hyderabadi, Lucknowi, or Kolkata biryani, the common thread is the use of basmati rice. The long, slender grains of basmati are perfect for biryani, as they absorb the rich flavors of spices, meat, and vegetables while remaining fluffy and separate.

2. Pulao – Middle East

Pulao, also known as pilaf, is a beloved dish in Middle Eastern cuisine. This dish typically involves cooking rice with meat, vegetables, and a blend of spices. The use of basmati rice, with its delicate aroma and texture, elevates the pulao to a gourmet level. 

In countries like Iran and Afghanistan, pulao is often served during special occasions and family gatherings. The versatility of this grain ensures that every grain is perfectly cooked, enhancing the overall experience.

3. Paella – Spain

While traditionally made with short-grain rice, paella has seen adaptations that incorporate basmati rice. This Spanish dish, known for its vibrant colors and rich flavors, benefits from the unique texture of basmati rice. The grains remain separate and absorb the saffron and seafood flavors beautifully. 

4. Sushi – Japan

In a surprising twist, basmati rice is sometimes used as a substitute for sushi rice in fusion cuisine. The long grains of basmati rice offer a different texture but still complement the delicate flavors of sushi. While not traditional, this variation showcases the adaptability of basmati rice in international dishes. 

Something like Kohinoor Traditional Basmati Rice, with its premium quality, can be a fun and interesting alternative for sushi enthusiasts looking to experiment.

5. Jollof Rice – West Africa

Jollof rice is a popular dish in West African countries like Nigeria and Ghana. It is a one-pot dish cooked with tomatoes, onions, and a variety of spices. The choice of rice has a major impact on the final plate, and basmati proves to be a good option as it tends to be fluffier than the rest of the lot.

6. Health Benefits of Basmati Rice

Apart from its culinary versatility, basmati rice offers several health benefits. Basmati is inherently gluten-free, something that makes it suitable for individuals with sensitivities. Basmati rice also has a lower glycemic index compared to other rice varieties, which helps in managing blood sugar levels. 

7. Cooking Tips for Perfect Basmati Rice

Achieving perfectly cooked basmati rice can sometimes be a challenge, but with a few tips, you can master the art of cooking rice. Here are some pointers to ensure your basmati rice turns out perfect every time:

Rinse Thoroughly: Rinse to remove murkiness and the excess starch that’s present in the rice.

Soak the Rice: Soak the rice in water for about 30 minutes before cooking. This helps in achieving longer, fluffier grains.

Use the Right Water Ratio: A common ratio is 1 cup of basmati rice to 1.5 cups of water. Adjust according to your preference and the specific brand’s instructions.

Cook on Low Heat: Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. About 15-20 minutes should be enough to gain the desired results.

Let It Rest: Once cooked, let the rice sit covered for a few minutes before fluffing it with a fork.


The global appeal of basmati rice is undeniable. Its unique aroma, texture, and versatility make it a favourite in kitchens around the world. From the rich and aromatic biryanis of India to the vibrant paellas of Spain, basmati rice plays a crucial role in many iconic dishes.  As you embark on your culinary adventures, consider incorporating basmati rice into your recipes. 

Whether you are cooking rice for a simple meal or preparing a lavish feast, the elegance of basmati rice will undoubtedly elevate your dining experience. Enjoy the journey of flavors and aromas that only basmati rice can offer.


By Michael Willey
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