Kasmati rice is a variety of long grained aromatic rice which was developed by Rice Select, an American company based in the state of Texas. The company is well known for producing an assortment of rice hybrids which are meant to build upon popular varieties of rice from Asia; Kasmati rice is meant to be similar to Basmati rice, a popular rice from India. Markets which sell a variety of rice strains may offer Kasmati rice, and it can also be ordered through specialty stores.
Like Basmati, Kasmati rice has a long grain and a distinct texture when cooked. The grains tend to separate during cooking, creating a fluffy rice rather than a dense one, and the rice stays chewy through the cooking process. The flavor of Kasmati rice is fairly mild, but the rice has a rich aroma which can add a new level of complexity to the foods it is served with. In recipes which call for long grained rice, Kasmati rice is certainly a choice to consider, especially if a fluffy, yet chewy texture is desired in the finished dish.
Both Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine use Basmati rice extensively, often flavoring the rice with spices like cumin seeds or saffron. The texture and scent of Basmati rice are particularly prized, and the rice can get expensive for people trying to purchase it overseas. Rice Select recognized the potential for scented and flavored rices in the 1970s, producing Texmati rice and following with an assortment of other scented and exotic rice varieties for American consumers.
Some Asian rice producers have protested the introduction of specially bred hybrid rice varieties like Kasmati to the market, arguing that it weakens the strength of their traditional products. However, Kasmati rice and similar hybrids are aimed primarily at a niche of the American market. Rice Select is also working to be an environmentally sustainable and healthy company, and it places a heavy focus on producing natural, healthy products for consumers who specifically request them, even offering a line of organic products which is clearly aimed at American consumers, not at the Asian rice market.
For anyone who is curious, Kasmati is technically a genetically modified organism, produced through a mixture of cross-breeding and work in the laboratory. The foundation stock for Kasmati was probably originally Asian Basmati rice. This has also caused some concern among Asian Basmati producers, and is part of the recurring debate over genetically modified foods in the global marketplace.