Tried & Tested: Tilda Basmati Rice

In the last forty years global rice production has more than tripled, with sales of Basmati – also known as ‘the Prince of rice’ – accounting for over 50% of the rice sold in the UK. 

Naturally gluten free, rice is a particularly popular choice with those with an allergy or intolerance to wheat or gluten. However, despite there being over 40,000 varieties of rice available, eating the same grain night after night can be more than a little boring. It’s also not as easy to cook as we might like to pretend, with cooking times ranging from 10-12 minutes for Pure Basmati to 45-50 minutes for Wild Rice.

Thankfully, Tilda – the first company to bring Basmati to the Western world – only understand how to bring out the best in rice, but are happy to do the hard work too.  From Vegetable Biryani and Sundried Tomato to Firecracker, Egg Fried and Mexican Chilli, Tilda’s ready-to-heat microwavable rice pouches combine steamed Basmati with fresh-tasting vegetables, herbs and spices to create deliciously flavoured, perfectly fluffy rice in two minutes flat.

Why Basmati? Literally translated as ‘the fragrant one’,  Basmati’s long, slender grains have a distinctive, slightly nutty taste and light, fluffy texture which cooks easily into light, delicate and separate grains. Health-wise it’s equally impressive. Basmati contains all eight essential amino acids, folic acid, and is very low in sodium and has no cholesterol, with a low to medium glycaemic index, meaning that energy is released at a slower, steadier rate leading to a more balanced level of energy.

There’s certainly plenty to choose from. Each of Tilda’s twenty-one steamed Basmati pouches are gluten-free and vegetarian, without any artificial colours, flavours or preservatives to worry about either. There’s even an additional four child-friendly flavours in the Kids Range, and five in the authentically Indian Tilda Humara.

So what do they taste like? Well, for starters, they certainly don’t taste microwaved. Pleasantly soft, perfectly separated grains, carefully flavoured and surprisingly fresh. Portion-wise, each 250g pouch serves two (or one more generous serving) with a two-minute cooking time, or just 40 seconds for the smaller 125g Kids Range. Don’t have a microwave? Not a problem. Simply heat a  small glug of oil in a pan, add the rice and gently warm through for 3-4 minutes. Here’s our pick of the best: 

Egg Fried

A fresh, healthy and lighter take on this Chinese classic. Think soft, perfectly separated Basmati rice mixed with peas, scrambled egg and a hint of lemon. Surprisingly fresh and moreishly tasty.

Pure Steamed Basmati 

This simple white rice showcases Tilda at its best: soft and fluffy long white grains, expertly separated and lightly aromatic.

Brown Basmati & Wild Rice

Combining the natural goodness of supergrain Basmati with exotic Wild Rice, the distinctive flavours of this mixed rice are not only deliciously earthy but doubly nutritious – wild rice boasting 30 times the antioxidant content of white rice.

Lime and Coriander

Fragrant with the zest of limes, coriander leaf and smooth coconut cream, this aromatic rice dish is bursting with fresh Thai flavours – the perfect accompaniment to a stir fry or curry.

Firecracker

Red chilli, ginger, Szechuan pepper, soy sauce and garlic add smokiness and spice to this limited edition Far Eastern flavour.  Calling it ‘Hot & Spicy’ is a little ambitious – its warming at best – but the zesty aromas and tantalising blend of vibrant natural ingredients are certainly tasty and guaranteed to awaken the senses.

Sundried Tomato

Sun dried tomatoes, passata and red pesto gives depth and warming Mediterranean flavour to these long, slender grains.

Brown Basmati &  Quinoa

Another combination rice dish and this one – like the Brown Basmati & Wild Rice – combines the health benefits of wholegrain Basmati with protein-packed quinoa for a best-of-both gluten-free grain, nutty in flavour with slight added bite from the quinoa.

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