Rice Information


Will the Right Rice Please Stand Up


Can't decide which rice to use for what purpose? No wonder, considering that there are more than 40,000 varieties of rice worldwide. Here's a quick guide to commonly available rices.
Arborio: A plump-grained rice that's translucent in color with a white dot at the center of the grain. It's classified as a medium-grain rice in the United States, although elsewhere it's considered a short grain rice. Arborio is most often used in cooking risotto, as this rice develops a creamy texture and maintains a degree of chewiness.
Aromatic: Aromatic rices have a natural aroma and flavor similar to that of popcorn or roasted nuts. The most common aromatic rices in the US include basmati, jasmine, and della.
Basmati: Basmati only swells lengthwise when cooked, resulting in long, thin grains. It cooks up dry and is therefore useful in pilafs or other mixtures where separate grains are desired.
Brown rice: The least processed form of rice, has the outer hull removed, but still retains the bran layers that give it color and a nutty flavor. (All white rice has had the husk removed, and was milled to remove the bran.)
Brown rice has a longer cooking time than white rice, is chewier and has up to three times more fiber, vitamin E, and magnesium than white rice.
Quick-cooking brown rice can now be found in some markets. Brown rice can be used interchangeably with white in most recipes.
Della: Developed in the US, this is a cross between a long-grain rice and basmati rice. It cooks up dry and separate, but the grains are not as long or slender as basmati.
Jasmine: A long-grain rice that cooks up soft and moist, its grains cling together.
Long-grain: These long, slender kernels are four to five times longer than their width. The grains cook up separate, light and fluffy, making it ideal for use in recipes that require texture. Long-grain rice is the most popular rice in the US and Canada.
Medium-grain: The length of medium-grain rice is two to three times its width, and it cooks up moist. Because it clumps more than long grain rice, it is often used in recipes that call for a creamy consistency, such as desserts and puddings.
Parboiled, or converted: The steam treatment conducted prior to milling hardens the grain so that there is less grain breakage. The process also forces some of the vitamins and minerals into the grain before the bran and germ are removed. In this way, some of the nutrients are retained. Parboiled rice cooks up extra separate and fluffy.
Polished: This is regular white rice and is the most common form of rice. In the US, it is enriched with vitamins and minerals.
Precooked, or instant: This rice has been milled to remove the bran, is cooked and then dehydrated before packaging. Highly processed, it is more porous, so that boiling water penetrates the grains in a shorter time.
Short-grain: The almost round kernels of short-grain rice cook up soft and tend to cling together. Short-grain rice is used in Japanese, Taiwanese, and some Chinese dishes. Look for it in Asian markets.
Sweet: Sweet rice has a short, plump, opaque kernel. When cooked, this rice loses its shape and becomes very sticky, hence its other names: glutinous rice, sticky rice, or waxy rice. Although it doesn't taste sweet, it's often used in Asian desserts.
Texmati: This is a hybrid of basmati rice, it's available in brown or white varieties.
Webani: This California-bred rice is similar in taste to cracked wheat when cooked.
Wild: Wild rice is actually not a rice but the seed of a wild grass. It is expensive, but it can be extended by combining it with varieties of rice, which is how it is usually sold. Its chewy texture and smoky flavor make wild rice ideal for pilafs, stuffings, and salads.


4.0 servings


Saturday, February 13, 2010 - 9:44am



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