all about rice

Which type of rice do I buy?

This question can be a tough one, but with some information you can determine which rice best suits your needs.  Not all rice is the same. Rice is like wheat.  It contains a hull to hold everything inside, it is removed before it can be consumed.  Under the hull contains the bran.  This nutritious whole grain part is usually tan-colored, but it may be black or reddish, depending upon the pigmentation in the bran layers.  This part may be consumed for optimal nutrition benefits, but it is removed to further process the rice down.

The germ is found under the hull and  is nutrient-dense. Full of B vitamins, minerals, and proteins, it helps give rice its color and added nutritional benefits.

Once the bran and germ are removed, you are left with the white rice.  This part is commonly consumed.

The different varieties of rice are based on their length and shape.  Long grain rice will have a longer cylindrical shape and short grain rice will be short and wider.

Three varieties of rice:

  1. long grain
  2. medium grain
  3. short grain

Long grain rice has milled grains that are at least three to four times as long as they are wide.  The grains when cooked are separate, light, and fluffy due to its starch content.

Medium grain rice is shorter than long grain rice.  When cooked the grains are more moist and tender than long grain and they have a greater tendency to stick together.

Short grain rice when cooked has a sticky texture.  This is best in dishes like sushi.

When cooking different rice dishes, you will want to think about what type of texture you want your rice to be.  Starch content will vary among rices.  This will affect how your dish will turn out.

Type of textures in rice:

  1. sticky rice
  2. parboiled rice

Sticky rice is used in many traditional Asian dishes.  When cooked, this is especially sticky and is used when making rice flour.

Parboiled rice has gone through a steam pressure process before milling that gelatinizes the starch in the grain. This when cooked makes a rice that is light and fluffy.

The colors of rice also will vary with the many different types.

Brown rice is the natural color after harvesting, but as soon as the nutrient rich outer layer is removed, it is then  white.

You may also see red, black, and purple colored rice, this has the layer of bran left in tact for visual appeal and nutritional benefits.

The aroma of rice is another factor to consider:

Basmati rice

This is a type of long grain rice that is popular among Indian cuisine.  This gives a nutty or popcorn like flavor and aroma.

Jasmine rice

This is used in Thai dishes.  It is a long grain rice and has a slightly sticky texture when cooked.  It will add jasmine flavor to your dishes.

Which do I use?

Now that you are familiar with the different types of rice, which do I use???  You may still be confused, I know I was.  It is just like eating wheat flour verses white flour.  You want to start moving slowly to the “healthier” one.  We personally enjoy a parboiled rice.  I look for the long grain variety.  Then I mix it with some brown long grain rice.  We get  a mixture of the “fluffy, separate kind” along with the “heartier, chewier kind.”  We eat a lot of rice so this is our choice.  For yourself you will need to decide which will be best in your dishes.