Types of Rice: Shape, Length, Colour, Texture, Aroma and Recipes
14 Aug 2020
A key pantry staple of many cultures around the world – India, China, Japan, Bangladesh, Vietnam to name a few – rice is a powerhouse of energy, nutrition and versatility. Satiating the hunger of almost half of world’s population (in the 2018/2019 crop year, about 486.62 million metric tons of rice was consumed worldwide; source: Statista), rice can be prepared in limitless variations – as a main dish, on the sides, into desserts making it one of the most adaptable foods.
Predominantly people know about brown and white rice but the world of rice is full of many varieties most of which are differentiated on the basis of grain length & shape, color, texture and aroma.
Let’s brush up your knowledge about rice.
For the convenience of understanding different rice types, please go through the rice nomenclature:
Husk – Present in all rice varieties, it’s the outermost layer enveloping rice. Removed before consumption in all the rice types.
Bran – A nutritious consumable layer beneath the husk often red, black or tan-colored depending upon the pigmentation.
Germ – As known as rice kernel, germ is a nutrient-rich layer replete with B vitamins, minerals and proteins imparting color to rice.
White Rice – The most commonly consumed rice part – white rice, leftover after bran and germs layers are removed.
Types of Rice based on:
Length & Shape
Available in 3 sizes: short-grain, medium-grain and long-grain, each with different cooking characteristics.
Shorter and wider rice grains with sticky, creamy texture once cooked. The length of each grain is mostly similar or shorter than its width. Classic rice varieties are Sticky rice and Sushi rice. Used to make rice puddings, porridges, Sushi to name a few.
Almost twice as long as wide, medium-grain rice tend to become moist, tender and chewy once cooked. Arborio Rice, Bomba Rice are some of the examples of medium-grain rice to make risotto, paella, etc.
As the name suggests, slender, cylindrical, long-grain rice has milled grains that are at least 4-5 times as long as they are wide. Owing to higher starch content, each grain separates and becomes fluffier upon cooking. Varieties such as Basmati rice and Jasmine rice have intensified aroma and taste enhancing cooking experience. Perfect for festivities to cook biryani and polo dishes or as an accompaniment to any meat, vegetable or fish dish.
Basis the presence of bran layer and the colour of its pigmentation, the colourful rice varieties can be classified as below:
Brown Basmati Rice also known as whole-grain rice is highly nutritious rice owing to fewer of its nutrients being stripped away during the milling process. Its high dietary fibre and iron content makes it ideal for the health-conscious. Its dense texture, nutty taste and aromatic smell makes it healthier replacement of white rice in preparing rice bowl, wrap, salad, skillet to name a few.
Simply said, wild rice is not rice, actually. It is the seed of a semi-aquatic grass as opposed to grain, growing in small lakes, slow-moving streams and shallow freshwater marshes, around 2-4 feet deep. Owing to its chewy texture and nutty flavour, it is a delightful addition to various exotic dishes including pilafs, dolmas, soups, salads, desserts and casseroles.
Also known as forbidden rice (named black rice owing to its appearance), it’s high in nutrition and has a mild nutty flavor. Used in a variety of Chinese and Thai recipes including salad, porridge and baked foods.
Basmati Rice, a premium and the finest quality, mature long-grain rice, is harvested from the foothills of Himalayas. Renowned for its excellent quality, sweetness, fragrance and strong nutty taste, Basmati rice is nature’s delight. Works best in biryani and pilaf or as an accompaniment with curries.
Also known as Thai Fragrant Rice, is a popular alternative to white rice. Cultivated in Thailand, it is long-grained rice with floral aroma. Living up to its name, Jasmine rice has a striking fragrance and is slightly sticky making it popular for many Oriental, Asian and Caribbean dishes.
Sticky Glutinous Rice
Sticky Glutinous Rice may be mistaken for being a rice containing gluten. However, what it actually means is that this opaque rice, once cooked, turns sticky and glue-like in texture owing to its high starch content. It is often called ‘sticky’, ‘sweet’ or ‘pearl’ rice.
A premium quality parboiled basmati rice, processed (soaked, steamed and dried) with the husk on ensuring nutrients remain intact. One look at the rice and you will be able to notice the amazing golden finish of the grain which is non-sticky and separate. Once cooked, the rice will turn white, giving off the delicate aroma, nutty taste and fluffy texture that is an ideal component of any culinary dish.
Easy Cook Long Grain Rice
Easy Cook Long Grain Rice or converted rice is typically parboiled at source with the husk on. It derives its name from pre-cooked rice after being harvested. This grain is slightly off white in colour until it is cooked after which it turns white. This type of rice guarantees delicious, separate and fluffy grains when cooked.
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