Varieties Of Rice

For over half of the world's population, rice is a staple. Considering how little many of us know about rice, that may sound like a pretty bland diet. But the fact is, with over 80,000 varieties of rice in the world, the gastronomical possibilities are endless. To learn about the enticements of rice, read on.

Brown, white, short, long, wild, many of the nearly 80,000 varieties of rice have you tried?

If your diet has been limited to long-grain white (with an occasional brown rice diversion) you've certainly got more than a few treats in store from the world of rice. Learn about your options while picking up a few tidbits about the rice you already know and love.

Brown vs White

Which has more nutrition? The answer may surprise you: Both.  White rice which is enriched brown rice without the bran, husk and germ provides more thiamin and iron than brown rice, while brown rice provides slightly more fibre, vitamin E, phosphorus and calcium.

Short vs Long

Long grain rice, such as basmati and jasmine, is approximately more than three times as long as wide. Once cooked the grains stay separate, light and fluffy. Medium grain rice such as arborio and japonica is between two and three times as long as wide. When cooked, the grains become moister than long grain with a bit of cling. Short grain rice which includes red rice and sticky rice is less than twice as long as wide, it is creamier in texture and sticks together once cooked.

When it comes to choosing long vs. short-grain rice for recipes, we recommend long grain for any recipe in which you need a light, separate grain. Use medium or short grain for rice croquettes, risotto and rice puddings.

Waxy vs Nonwaxy

Waxy rice absorbs less water when cooking. The result is a stickier, more glutinous rice such as Chinese Sticky rice and Thai rice. The grains of nonsticky rice remain separate after cooking.

Basmati Rice

The "King of Rice". A highly aromatic grain that is long and elegantly thin. It is primarily grown in Paddy Fields in the foothills of Himalayas.

Basmati has originated from Vasumati which means earth recognized by its fragrance; while the full exposition of the word is from Hindi. Bas originating from Prakrit Vas which has a Sanskrit root- Vasay connoting aroma, and mati from may up meaning ingrained from the origin. Common usage has changed Vas to Bas while joining bas and may up the latter changed to mati. Thus the word Basmati originated.

Black Rice

Rice with a thin layer of black bran rather than the more common light brown. Under the bran is a white kernel. Varieties include Balinese, Chinese and Thai black rice.

Instant Rice

This type of Rice can be defined as the one that is precooked and dehydrated in order to cut the final preparation time.

Italian Rice

These rice are medium to smaller grain and used for preparing risotto. The prime examples of such Rice are arborio, carnaroli, vialone and Nano.

Parboiled Rice

Rice that has been steamed in order to dissolve the nutrients from the bran and then pressurized to deposit the nutrients into the kernel. The result is more nutritious and even textured than regular white rice.

Red Rice

Rice with a red bran layer rather than the more common light brown. It is predominantly found in Bhutanese, Himalayan, Thai Regions.

Rough Rice

Such Rice Comprises of Raw grains still in the hull or husk. Before rice can be cooked, the husk must be removed.

Spanish Rice

The best known Spanish rice is Valencia rice used for making paella and other Spanish dishes which call for rice. You can substitute medium-grain rice for Valencia.

Wild Rice

While it looks like rice, it's actually a seed of a water-grass called "zizania Aquatica" native to lakes and rivers of the northern regions of North America.