Monday, November 14

Good Eating Monday: Kinds of Rice

I recently purchased some "Black Rice" and came to wonder about varieties of rice. What's the difference between Basmati and Jasmine? Or long, medium or short grain rices?

So, today's Good Eating is all about rice: an explanation of various kinds.
I've gleaned this information from various references on the web and I really appreciated coming to a better understanding of things like basmati rice or sweet rice and even Uncle Ben's rice!
First of all, rice is divided into 3 general categories: all purpose, aromatic & specialty of which I'm only listing a few of the most common. There are many more breeds of rice, some only grown in local areas for local use.

All Purpose Rices:
White Long Grain Rice :
This is a long, slim polished rice that is doesn't stick together on cooking and fluffs-up nicely making it preferred for Chinese cooking or any thing that calls for a fluffy, non-sticky rice. 


White Medium & Short Grain Rices:
 These type of polished white rices contain a lot of a certain starchy substance called amylopectin, which causes the grains to cling to get together, making a stickier rice. It's the rice of choice for dishes where a creamy texture is desired, such as rice pudding.  

Brown Long Grain Rice:
This is rice that still retains it's bran husk giving it a greater nutritional & vitamin value. It has a nutty flavor, cooks up fluffy, but does take longer to soften and benefits from soaking before cooking.


Easy Cooking Rice (Par-boiled, Converted or Pre-fluffed)
Unlike regular rice, which is milled directly from the field, these kind of rices are steamed under pressure before milling, which hardens the grain and reducing the possibility of over-cooking. This method helps this kind of rice retain it's natural vitamin & mineral content. This can be used in any dish, but the easy-cooking rices are especially useful for rice salads.

Aromatic Rices:
Jasmine:
This is known as a Thai fragrant rice. It has a slight perfume when cooked and is slightly more sticky then other long-grain rices.
It's most commonly used in Asian cooking.

Basmati:
This is fragrant long grain rice is called the "Prince of Rice," and is used in Indian dishes. A fluffy, non-sticky rice when cooked, it's often cooked with spices to enhance it's aromatic qualities.
It's available in easy-cook, brown & white varieties.

Specialty Rices:
Risotto
This is a famous Italian kind of medium-grain rice that has plump, round grains. When cooked with liquid stirred in slowly, they keep their individual shapes and become very creamy. 

Paella Rice:
This is a Spanish breed of rice very similar to Risotto, but with a less creamy texture that's used in Spanish Paella.

Wild Rice:
This is rice harvested from native grains common to North America, where it has become something of a delicacy.

Glutinous Rice:
Also called "sticky rice" or "sweet rice," this kind of rice is common in Thai & Asian cooking and becomes extremely sticky when cooked!

Chinese Black Rice:
Also known as "Forbidden Rice," this kind of rice is an unrefined rice with a blackish-brown skin and flattish grains that is served steamed with Asian cuisine. 

Red Rice:
There are several varieties and, grown for it's unique color, it's high in nutritional value like brown & black rices.

Blue Rice:
This is style of rice popular in Malaysia where the rice is colored with the petals of the Butterfly Pea flower to make it blue.
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I hope you found this as educational as I and start expanding your rice cooking!

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