Different Types of Rice and Their Uses

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Rice, (Oryza sativa), is an edible starchy cereal grain, actually, one of the world’s most-produced grains.

According to Healthline, “around 3 billion people in over 100 countries rely on rice as a staple food.”

On average, 100g of rice contains 80g of carbohydrates, 7.13g of protein, 11.61g of water, and 0.66g of fat.
Rice also provides a large number of vitamins and minerals such as Vitamins B1 (Thiamine), B3 (Niacin), B5 (Pantothenic acid), Folate, Iron, Copper, Manganese an,d Selenium.

According to Britannica, “95 percent of the world’s rice crop is eaten by humans.”

That’s because there are over 40,000 varieties of rice around the world that make this precious food super versatile and used daily by many cultures to prepare both salty and sweet foods.

Types of Rice

Rice can be classified according to different characteristics such as length, shape, texture, color, and flavor.

Length and shape

Rice can be divided into long-grain, medium-grain, and short-grain. Long-grain rice has a long and cylindrical shape; it’s three to four times as long as wide and, when cooked, remain separate due to starch’s high presence. Medium-grain rice it’s a little shorter and wider than the long one. Once cooked, it’s soft and moist, and the grains easily stick together. Last, the short-grain rice is twice as long as it’s wide and very gluey.

Color

We are all probably used to see white rice, which is also called milled rice, and looks cleaner since it has had its husk, bran, and germ removed.

With the outer layer of bran, the rice would look brown. Red, black, purple, and brown rice are still with husk, bran, germ, which means they have higher nutritional values, vitamins, and minerals.

Once cooked, you can create colorful dishes combining different types of rice with vegetables, fresh fruits, and meat or fish.

Flavor and texture

Some rice varieties have a very peculiar aroma, such as the Basmati rice, commonly used in Indian cuisine, or the Thailandese long-grain Jasmine rice.

The after the cooking texture of the rice also changes according to the type; glutinous rice, also called sticky rice, is sweet and soft, while red or brown rice keeps its defined shape and consistency better.

Always check the cooking time on the rice box to make sure it’s properly cooked and enjoy it at it best consistency.

Popular Types of Rice

Arborio & Carnaroli

Arborio and Carnaroli are two Italian varieties of rice perfect for risotto.

Carnaroli is medium-grain rice and has a higher starch content, firmer texture, and a little longer shape than Arborio.

Arborio is short-grain rice also rich in amylopectin starch and has a typical white dot in the grain’s center.

The risotto will appear creamy, chewy, firm at the same time with a lovely texture.

Basmati

Basmati is probably the most popular type of long-grain rice. It’s original from India but commonly used in Middle Eastern and Central Asian cuisine too.

It has a light, nutty flavor, and once cooked, its grains remain dry, fluffy, and well separate. It’s ideal for pilaf, biryani, and kheer.

Brown

Brown rice is also known as whole-grain rice since it still has the outer hull, germ, and bran. Once cooked, its texture is chewy, dense, and has a nutty flavor.

Since it still has the bran layers, which gives it the brown color, it also has higher nutritional values than white rice. It’s rich in fiber, magnesium, iron, and B vitamins. B

rown rice can be used as a healthier substitute for standard white rice.

Jasmine

Jasmine rice is original in Thailand; it a bit shorter than Basmati but quite similar and easily interchangeable. Its name is related to the jasmine aroma it develops while cooking.

It has a chewy texture that makes it perfect as a side for many spicy-rich or stir-fry dishes and typical Thai meat, fish, or curry meals.

Red Rice

Red rice owes its color to the presence of anthocyanin. It is available in both long-grain and medium-grain varieties.

Red rice is also known as Himalayan or Bhutanese rice, it has a nutty flavor, and the texture is slightly sticky.

As the brown rice, it is rich in antioxidants, fiber, magnesium, and vitamins. It is commonly used in Thai, Japanese, and Philippine recipes such as kheer, salads, idli, appam, and dosa.

Japanese Short-Grain Rice

Japanese short-grain rice is a variety of Japonica rice.

The grains are short and round. It is defined by a peculiar stickiness and texture.

It can be used to make sushi (add some sushi vinegar, sugar, salt, and dashi kombu), rice balls, or simply served plain as a side for Japanese dishes.

Glutinous Rice

Also known as sweet rice (mochigome) is another rice variety typical of Japan, Northeastern India, Bangladesh, and Indonesia.

It can be short, medium, or long grain. Its grains might be round and matt.

Despite the name, the glutinous rice does not contain gluten. It has a low content of amylose that makes it sticky, chewy, and sweet once cooked.

The sweet rice is perfect for desserts, pudding, and the famous Japanese sweet mochi.

Chinese Black Rice

The Chinese black rice is also known as forbidden rice, a variety only for the aristocrats since it has a very low yield, around 10%. It is whole-medium-grain rice original from northern China.

Once cooked, the grains are firm and slightly sticky; they also turn purple due to anthocyanin’s high presence. It is also rich in antioxidants, vitamin E, and iron.

The soft texture combined with the nutty flavor makes it perfect for porridge, pudding, bread, and the classic Chinese black rice cake.

Conclusion

Rice is a versatile food that can be eaten alone or combined with vegetables, meat, or fish. It can be used to make bread, pasta, or sweet desserts.

You can make rice the day before and have it cold mixed with a fresh salad during summer or stir-fried the day after.

According to WebMD, plain white rice can be taken to help firm up your stool and in case of diarrhea.

Rice is so easy to prepare that everyone can create delicious dishes with it. As for any other food, remember that some people can be allergic to it.

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