In Calcutta, we were introduced to a princely rice known as gobindavog. It is a polished white medium-grain rice, but on a miniature scale, like a baby basmati. It has a delicate, very slightly sweet flavor. In Calcutta, we had it cooked the lots-of-water way with a little salt (as described below). Each time, the rice emerged firm yet tender, with beautifully separate grains. It’s an expensive rice in Bengal, within reach only of those with some extra money, but for those who can afford it, it’s the rice of choice. Gobindavog is also used to make a delicious rice pudding.
When we came home from India, one of the rices we went looking for, without much optimism, was this fabulous one. We were delighted to find it at Kalustyan’s in New York (see Mail-Order Sources). It is now being sold more widely, sometimes labeled “Kalijira.” If you ever come across it, buy plenty, then use it as a delicious and delicate everyday plain rice as well as an alternative to basmati for pilafs.