Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Jasmine Rice of Thailand (Thai Hom Mali)

Jasmine rice is Thailand’s top exported rice. While China, by its sheer size, is the world’s largest producer of rice; Thailand has led the world as the largest rice exporter since the 1960′s, owing much to jasmine rice. With continued Thai government support, stringent quality control, all rice destined for export passes the government stamp of approval. The active involvement of the government in the promotion of Thai rice abroad has placed jasmine rice in the spotlight on the world stage. Among discerning Asians in many countries, jasmine rice is considered the best-tasting rice in the world. Archeological evidence supports that in northeastern Thailand rice cultivation dates back at least 5,400 years The Golden Phoenix2 label consistently markets top-grade jasmine rice from the premium northeast region. Besides where the rice is grown, the fragrance, texture and flavor can differ depending on the age of the rice. Jasmine rice is softest and most fragrant when newly harvested.

The rice is naturally fragrant with an aroma similar to that of “pandan” leaves. When the native jasmine rice was first isolated in 1950 it immediately became the accepted standard of best tasting rice.

In my mind, a fresh bowl of steamed perfectly cooked jasmine rice has the essence of perfection. I may cook a pot and top a rice serving with a spicy chili sauce having garlic and ginger.

This cooking method is the least fastidious, and never burns the bottom of the rice. The problem with cooking rice on the stove top is that, as the rice absorbs all the water in the last throws of cooking, the single source of heat cannot be properly spread away from the bottom of the pan without the water. The bottom becomes too hot, and the rice in contact with the bottom of the pan then burns. The stove top formula was 5 minutes on high, 5 minutes on low, five minutes off which meant you had to be diligent about the timing. This method, however, is non critical. A little extra time will not reduce the rice to mush as long as the water content is on the lien side. This recipe may be scaled as required.
2+ Cups of premium jasmine rice (+ means heaping 2 cups)
3 ½ Cups of water
Bring water to a full boil using an oven safe pot. Add rice without stirring, cover with a tight fitting lid. Heat to a boil. When boiling, place covered pot in preheated 350 F oven for 40 minutes. Remove lid, allowing steam to escape. Wait 5 minutes to serve.



1.        Pandan Leaf (Screwpine Leaf) The leaf is used in curries of Sri Lanka and in Malaysian, Balinese, and Thai cooking. It is commonly used as a flavoring and coloring in Malaysian and Singaporean
cooking, especially in Malay dishes. The screw-pine or pandan leaves are tied in a knot and placed in soups or stews that are being cooked. The leaf is also bruised or raked with the tines of a fork to release its aroma, pounded to release its aromatic juice, or even boiled to obtain its flavor. Pandan leaves are used as wrappers in Southeast Asian cooking to provide a distinct flavor to the foods. They are wrapped around chicken, pork, glutinous rice, fish, and desserts before grilling, roasting, barbecuing, or steaming. Pandan leaves also enhance the flavor of seasoned rices, puddings, beverages, and curries.

2.        Chia Meng Group has started exporting rice to Hong Kong since 1955 under the brand name of “Golden Phoenix”

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