Fresh new-crop rice, with its pleasant, nutty aroma, is often preferred to rice that's been sitting around for a year. But aged basmati rice has its fans. "Aged basmati, especially if you soak it for an hour before cooking, better absorbs liquid and results in a longer grain," says almansa. The better grades of basmati rice have been aged from one year to more than two years, says OnkleWillie.
How do you find it? "Aged basmati will have the words 'aged' or 'aged for more than XXX' prominently displayed on the front of the bag, says OnkleWillie. "If it doesn't have that legend, it's likely not aged." Virtually all of the basmati rice at OnkleWillie's local Indian market is labeled "aged." It's usually sold in fairly large quantities. "I don't recall their having any bags of basmati smaller than 10 pounds," he says.
Discuss: Advantages of aged basmati rice?