This Is A Game-Changer: Smoked Basmati Rice

I made dinner at a friend's place in Brooklyn Saturday night and thank Vishnu I forgot to bring rice or I wouldn't have made this discovery. Yes there were four kinds of rice in her pantry, but curry like mine deserves really great super-long grain basmati rice, which I happen to hoard at home and usually remember to bring along. It really makes a difference. Quick note: this friend and I have been eating curry together for going on 26 years. Isn't that special?

We hit her supermarket, a humble Met in Prospect Heights, where I discovered bags of smoked basmati rice. I think I actually yelled an alarming yell, for her to come see what I found. Obviously she was less excited than me, but she's not a food writer with a lunch column to keep fresh. She was still excited though, because basmati rice is obviously the best rice and smoked stuff is obviously superior to unsmoked stuff. Case in point: I refuse to move from my neighborhood...because Zabar's. I bought a bag for dinner...then tossed the other five on the shelf into the cart.

"What are you doing?" she asked.

"I'm buying all the smoked rice. All of it. It could be good," I said, pushing the cart while shielding the contents with my arms.

"Oookay," she said. She stopped questioning the stuff I do in like, elementary school.

Back at her place, I poked my nose in the bag and found that it smelled very naturally like wood smoke. I had feared the stuff had just been doused with liquid smoke by some kind of sick swindler, but it was delightful. I wish someone would make a candle that smells like smoked basmati rice. I'd pay a whole bunch for that on Gilt. Rinsing the rice didn't remove the smoky smell and lo and behold, it proved to be the perfect accompaniment for my classic chicken curry, which really is just superb, you guys.

Here are some other things to do with this gem of an ingredient, should you find it (which you might, because I've totally never seen it before and I have been looking), or buy it online (which I have already done):

Also I had to haul, like, seven pounds of rice home at 1 a.m. Early night, I know — we ate a lot. Oh, and the train was running local, like that time I was hallucinating from fried egg cravings. Oh hey, that story involves rice too! Ah, so much rice. Love rice.

More rice for lunch on Food Republic: