We've been trying some new types of rice this week. I usually buy Elite rice from Kazakhstan because it's not too expensive and it's good for plov. It's fine but nothing amazing. There's also Batken rice (from the southern part of Kyrgyzstan). I used that when we lived in Bishkek. And we tried something labeled "Leder" but I can't figure out anything about that. I'll ask more about it in the bazaar. My favorite was the rice labeled "Pakistan."
The trickiest part was guessing how to cook each time. The Pakistani was easy, since I rightly guessed that cooking it like basmati would be a good idea. I've cooked the Elite and Batken rice a lot in plov, so I knew what to do with that (except that I have a habit of putting too much water in with the Elite). I still don't know what I should have done with the Leder. Middle son and husband liked that type best though. Out of the four types we tried, there wasn't any agreement on what was the best. The little one liked the Batken and the oldest son liked the Elite (ironically, because he's always complaining that he doesn't like it when there aren't any other types of rice around).
After looking around I think the best guess for the type of Pakistani rice is parboiled Irri-6 or Irri-9. It's a long-grain non-basmati white rice. Unless there are basmati types that are shorter, this rice isn't long enough to be basmati, and it certainly doesn't lengthen when it cooks like basmati. I tried it tonight in our Pakistani pilau (I usually use basmati for it, or the Elite rice when I'm here, or sometimes plain old American long grain) and I was in heaven. The rice was perfect for the dish (makes sense) and so creamy and delicious. It costs 60 som a kilo or 60 cents a pound (with the dollar at 47 som, that makes the conversion easy) which isn't a bad price, although it's expensive for Central Asia.