Thai Hom Mali Rice : The Rice of Choice Around the Globe

By: Vipp Rongsit

Rice is the staple food of the Thai people. In fact, "kin khao" (eating rice) in the Thai language means "to have a meal". The Thai people have great reverence for this grain: stepping on it is considered taboo. In 1960, His Majesty the King revived the centuries-old tradition of the Royal Ploughing Ceremony, where blessed rice seeds are distributed to farmers throughout the Kingdom. His Majesty does not take only a symbolic role in safeguarding the success of the rice harvest, he has personally initiated and supervised numerous projects throughout the country to assist farmers in taking full advantage of modern technology and the latest advances in agriculture and irrigation. In Thailand, rice is grown in most provinces, though the highest concentration is found in six plains, namely: the Upper Northern, Lower Northern, Central, Upper Northeastern, Lower Northeastern and Southern Plains. Due to different soil conditions and climate, each plain produces different varieties with different qualities.

The Upper Northeastern and Lower Northeastern Plains are topographically separate but both produce the same kind of rice. This area is also famous for Thai Hom Mali Rice and glutinous rice.

The Lower Northern Plain is the second largest production area in terms of tonnage. The country's top quality grain, Thai Hom Mali Rice, is grown here.

Originating in Thailand, Thai "Hom Mali" Rice is the world's only traditional strain of rice with a natural fragrance similar to the pandanus plant. Though several other countries have tried to grow this variety, none has been successful in preserving its distinct aroma, texture and taste.

Thai Hom Mali Rice - "Hom" for its gentle, unique aroma and "Mali" for its jasmine white appearance - is the official name, of Thailand's finest fragrant rice. A photo-sensitive variety. Thai Hom Mali Rice is best grown in Thailand's Northeastern Region. Our annual harvest yields the best quality Thai Hom Mali Rice: long grain, silky smooth, pure white, a tender texture when cooked and a distinct fragrance.

Thai Hom Mali Rice is a traditional variety which was first found planted in Phanat Nikhom District, Chon Buri Province in 1945. Currently there are two sub-varieties - Khao Dok Mali 105 and Gor Kor 15. These sub-varieties of Thai Hom Mali Rice originated from a small village called Bang Klar in Bang Nampliew District, Chachoengsao Province in central Thailand. Widely grown in the North and Northeast of Thailand, the two sub-varieties produce similar quality of cooked fragrant rice.

Thai Hom Mali Rice has an international reputation for its appearance and cooking texture but most of all for its aroma, which is subtle yet fragrant. It is also the grain's versatility as a cooking staple that has made it such a mouth-watering prospect for consumers around the world.

Thai Hom Mali Rice is also very nutritious, containing high fibre, vitamins B1. B2, niacin, carbohydrates and protein but contains no gluten, so it is non-allergenic. It is rich in minerals such as iron, calcium and phosphorous. In highlighting its widespread popularity, the Thai Hom Mali Rice International Recipe Contest has been held to feature recipes sent in by individuals and institutions from around the world, sharing with us their ingenious creations.

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Vipp Rongsit is an editor specialize in Thai restaurant & Thai recipes.

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