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Thai Hom Mali Rice
Thai Hom Mali Rice, popularly known as "jasmine rice," is an original species developed by a local Thai farmer and improved to be a premium white rice with pandan-like aroma, globally known for its quality, long grain, curled-up tips, and clear, glossy exterior.
When cooked, the rice maintains its white color and long grain, although the texture becomes tender, fragranced with a fresh, appetizing aroma that goes well with almost all savory dishes. Hom Mali rice is filled with nutritional substances: vitamin B1, B2, niacin, carbohydrates, protein, and minerals such as iron, calcium, and phosphorous.
A Humble Thai Farmer's Conviction that Changed the Face of Thai Rice Production
The Department of Agricultureus records show that this species of rice was first found in Bang Khla district, Chachoengsao province. In 1950-1951, a farmer in Bang Khla stored 199 specimens of this species. He later moved to Khok Samrong district, Lop Buri province, and in 1955 he had the species purified at the Rice Experimentation Post there.
In 1959, the comparisons performed among species of rice from the northern, the northeastern and the central regions revealed that this particular types possessed higher quality with higher yield and better fragrance. The Ministry of Agriculture thus promoted its distribution on 25 May 1959 and gave it the official name "Khao Dok Mali Rice 105," later called "jasmine fragrant rice" or "jasmine rice," as it is known overseas.
It was widely grown in all regions during the first 10 years of its promotion. In the South it tapered off gradually, until none exists there any more, because of its dislike of excess water, but it thrives in the northeastern region, where it is more
Presently, it is grown in eight northeastern provinces: Surin, Buri Ram, Si Sa Ket, Yasothon, Maha Sarakham, Nakhon Ratchasima, and some parts of Ubon Ratchathani and Thung Kula Rong Hai, which borders six provinces - Roi Et, Surin, Buri Ram, Yasothon, Maha Sarakham, and Si Sa Ket - and covers approximately 2.1 million rai (over 800,000 acres). Currently, the best Hom Mali rice in Thailand is grown in the Northeast.
In addition, it is grown in the Central Plains' Bang Khla district and Ratchasan subdistrict in Chachoengsao province; Phan Thong district in Chon Buri province; Khok Samrong district in Lop Buri province; and in Phetchabun province; while up in the North, it can be found in Chiang Rai and Phayao provinces, but not much in the rest of the country.
The Unique Characteristics of Thai Fragrant Jasmine Rice
Although there is a number of species of Hom Mali rice, the one officially selected and promoted is "Khao Dok Mali Rice 105," which represents most of the Hom Mali rice grown in Thailand.
Hom Mali rice not only gives off a unique fragrance while it is being cooked, but after it is cooked, the grains become tender, held together loosely by natural moisture, and with a heavenly flavor. Many consumers do not want any other rice once they get to taste this wonderful specimen.
These attributes are for the "new crop" of Hom Mali rice, when it is marketed soon after its harvest and properly stored before consumption, so it tastes delicious and needs less water to cook.
The "old crop" is stored five to six months after harvesting. The fragrance fades slightly, and its unique tenderness and moistness after cooking are gone, although the taste is about remains the same. It needs more water to cook but it doesnut become tough, the way other species do.
Because Hom Mali rice is "light-weight rice," it is ready for harvest sooner than other species, around the end of November. Consumers can get the "new crop" around that time and later go back to the old crop. Hong Kong and Singapore are the most avid consumers of Hom Mali rice, so the new cropus price soars at the end of every November.
Preserving the Premium Quality of Thai Hom Mali Rice
The quality of Hom Mali rice, and its appeal to consumers, rests on its fragrance and quality after being processed or milled into raw white rice. Its fragrance comes from the aromatic oil in it, which evaporates if it is poorly stored. There are several methods for preserving the quality:
Hom Mali rice should be harvested sooner than other species. The beginning of its harvesting season is set for November 20, when most species' grains are ripe enough for growing seeds but not for harvesting or onsumption. In the case of Hom Mali rice, if it is harvested at the same time as others, the grains will be too ripe and lose their unique fragrance, tenderness, and taste.
In addition, harvesting while its panicles still extend upward is also easier and faster; most of the grains are kept intact, resulting in a higher yield and better price.
Before the hulling process, the panicles should be sun dried along the