Not so long ago, it was easy to choose rice. You went to your local store and you bought a bag of white rice and maybe, if it was a larger store there was brown rice as well.
But NOW. There is a huge amount of choice and the shelves are stacked with different packages, colors, shapes and sizes. And, well at the least it leaves one bewildered.
White, brown, long grain, short grain, medium grain, arborio, risotto, calasparra and the list goes on. Oh and then you have wild rice, which isn’t even rice.
So sit tight and we will take a quick journey into the world of rice and determine which one is used for what.
White and Brown
Many rice’s will come in white or brown varieties. Brown rice has the bran and hull intact where as the white rice has been milled and this has been removed.
Brown rice has a more nutty flavor and is less soft. It does have more fiber, vitamins and minerals than white rice. White rice is however quicker to cook.
Which to use? This comes down to personal preference. I use both. The white with curries and some mild stews while I love brown rice with hearty dishes and in salads.
Long grain rice’s are exactly that. The grains are long and thin with pointy ends. Generally the longer and thinner the higher the quality, with the best type being basmati.
Long grain rice is the variety you need to produce separate grain, light and fluffy rice.
Medium – Short Grain
The grains of this rice are shorter and plumper. They produce the creamy and sticky type of rice.
Arborio rice or Risotto rice is the choice for making the best creamy, soupy risotto. The stirring of this rice causes it to release starch and thus produce the required consistency.
A similar rice, Calasparra, is used for the Spanish Paella. This dish is not stirred, so the grains remain plump and firm but with a distinctly moist and creamy edge.
In Japan they use several varieties of short grain rice ranging from sticky to the very sticky rice used to make Sushi. Sometime called glutinous rice, this is misleading because it does not contain any gluten.
Jasmine and Fragrant rice are the sticky rice’s of Thailand and Southeast Asia. Although actually a long grain rice and not really any more fragrant than any other rice, they do produce a good quality rice that adheres together. It could be described as fluffy and sticky.
Other Special Rice
Camargue red rice comes from France. It is a reddish brown, short grain rice that is un-milled. With an earthy, gutsy flavor and a slightly chewy, sticky texture it is excellent in salads.
Black rice is an Asian rice that is used for puddings and dessert recipes. It is a reddish black color that turns purple when cooked.
Wild rice is not really a rice, but as it is cooked and treated the same it is generally included with rice. It is actually the seed of a swamp grass native to North America. The seeds are long and a shiny black color. They have a subtle smokey, nutty flavor and are great mixed with other rice in salads.
Have fun cooking and until our next cooking tip together.
Lisa “The Crock Cook”
Lisa with husband Neil, love cooking and share their own Crock Pot Recipes [http://www.a-crock-cook.com] with you at [http://www.a-crock-cook.com] They even have a delicious Rice Dessert Recipe [http://www.a-crock-cook.com/crock-pot-rice-recipe.html].