Different Types of Rice You Should Know
Rice is one of the most versatile ingredients in the world. You can make porridge, cakes, risottos, biryanis, sushi, and many others. Rice can come in different varieties. There are those with long, medium, and short grains. There are also varieties that are starchier than others. They can also differ in terms of color and aroma. Having a basic knowledge of the different rice varieties can help you make more fascinating dishes out of this ingredient.
White rice is the most common type of rice in the United States. Each grain of rice has several parts. The hull forms the outer covering. Underneath the hull or husk is a very thin layer of tissue known as bran. Beneath this layer is the rice, colored white. There is also the rice kernel, which is the most nutrient-dense portion of the rice. White rice is a type of grain with its bran and husk removed. This gives it its white color. It is a versatile grain. It stays fluffy when steamed. It also separates a lot easier than stickier varieties. Most individuals enjoy white rice with chicken, vegetable, or meat dishes. Some use it as part of their salads or in pilafs. Leftover white rice can make for a good ingredient for some delicious garlic fried rice.
This is quite similar to white rice, except that millers did not remove the bran layer of the grains. They can be either short- or long-grained. The best thing about brown rice is that it has more nutrients than white or polished rice. The bran contains fiber, B vitamins, and other nutrients. It also has a slight nutty flavor and a subtle chewy texture. These can provide a different kind of rice-eating experience. It is also as versatile as white rice. You can use it instead of white rice in many of your dishes. Many people like the heartiness that brown rice brings to Chinese stir-fries as well as Mexican rice and bean dishes. Whatever rice dish you have in mind, you can bet that brown rice will be a healthier alternative to white rice.
This is not the rice that’s cooked in squid ink. Rather, it is a rare variety of rice that only the Emperors of China had the right to eat. This is why people also call black rice the Emperor’s Rice or the Forbidden Rice. The reason why it has a black color is that its grains contain high levels of the antioxidant, anthocyanin. This is the same substance that gives eggplant, purple corn, and blueberries their dark color. Black rice is not that popular outside China. However, restaurants in the west that serve this rice variety often present it as an exotic dish. It pairs well with mushrooms because of its rich flavors. You can use it in your sautés plus cilantro to allow the flavors to explode. Some people combine it with brown rice in the making of rice pudding.
This type of rice is perfect for making risottos. It is a short grain variety of Italian origin. It is bold, large, and has a characteristic oval shape. Arborio also comes with a distinct white mark in its center. Because of its size, it has the ability to absorb liquids a lot better than other rice varieties. It also contains more starch. This is the main secret to making good risottos. This characteristic also makes Arborio the preferred rice when it comes to slow-cooked rice-based dishes. When cooked to perfection, Arborio rice can lend any dish a creamy texture. Its chewy core also lends the dish a different kind of texture. In addition to risottos, Arborio is also excellent in the making of fried rice balls, soups, rice puddings, and arancinis. It can also be a good thickening agent for minestrone.
This variety of rice is native to the Himalayas, especially in India and Pakistan. Many refer to Basmati as the King or Prince of Rice. Plenty of Indian and South Asian cuisines use Basmati as their base ingredient. It has a wonderful aroma and flavor. Traditional dishes of the Indian subcontinent always include other Indian spices to help bring out the natural flavors and aroma of Basmati. This type of rice comes in two versions: white and brown. White Basmati rice is often well-milled. It has less fiber content and a milder aroma than its brown counterpart. What makes Basmati so fragrant is that farmers age the grains for about 10 to 12 months after harvesting. It is ideal in the making of Biryani, saffron rice, and dal. Curries and other savory dishes also pair well with this kind of rice.
Jasmine Rice is one of the most fragrant rice varieties in the world. It has a distinct floral scent that makes eating it a true pleasure. It also has the aroma and flavor of jasmine, giving your dish that unique characteristic that very few other rice varieties can match. The rice originated in Thailand. It is one of the most popular rice varieties in Southeast Asian cuisine. It is ideal for stir-fry dishes and curries. Its soft and moist texture is perfect for soaking up the different flavors of other ingredients. In the Americas, Jasmine rice is the perfect companion for Jamaican jerk chicken. For those seeking a more exotic dish, then the Persian jeweled rice is a good choice.
Red Cargo Rice
This rice variety is also a native of Thailand. It is almost similar to Jasmine rice, except for its reddish brown color. You can think of it as the Thai equivalent of the traditional brown rice that Americans love to eat. Like the brown rice, red cargo rice still has its bran on. Only the husk or hull is removed during milling. As such, it also has more nutrients than Jasmine rice or white rice. It also has a chewier texture and a nutty flavor. This makes red cargo rice a wonderful accompaniment to meat dishes, fish recipes, and savory curries. In the US, people often combine red rice with stir-fried vegetables. This makes for a hearty salad.
Not all types of rice are ideal for making sushi. Japanese sushi chefs always use the Japonica rice in the making of sushi rice. This has short grains. Sushi chefs in the US use the medium-grained type of sushi rice known as California rice. Both rice varieties are well-milled or polished to make sure that the rice will be as white as possible when cooked. These rice varieties have a higher starch content than other varieties. It is what sushi chefs need to make sure that the grains will not fall out from their rolls. You can form them into balls or almost any other shape without ever losing their form. The best part of sushi rice is that they are as versatile as white rice. They are perfect with seafood, however.
If you love paella, then you must be familiar with Valencia rice. This is a rice variety with short grains. It’s named after the Spanish city and province of the same name. It has the same grain characteristics of the Arborio. It can absorb liquids a lot better than other varieties. Their only difference is that Arborio grains are often longer and rounder. Nevertheless, Valencia rice is perfect for soups and stews. And since it holds liquids quite well, it is the ideal type for paella and other similar dishes. You can also use it as a stuffing.
If Thailand has the red cargo rice, then India also has its own version of brown rice. It calls this the rosematta rice. Indians prefer to call it as matta, however. Matta has a reddish-brown color, owing to the fact that it is semi-polished. Like all bran-on grains, rosematta rice has more nutrients than its polished counterparts. Matta has an earthy flavor. One should never eat it without an accompanying dish. It is ideal for rich curries and slow-cooked stews. Rosematta pairs best with beef and lamb because of their more intense flavors than chicken, fish, or pork. In India, rosematta rice is perfect with cooked game.
Asians love making rice pudding. These are very delicious, gelatinous foods that locals and tourists love. There is only one type of rice that Asians use when it comes to rice puddings – sticky rice. People in Western countries call this variety glutinous rice. However, it does not contain gluten. What makes it very sticky when cooked is its high starch content. In addition to rice puddings, sticky rice is also popular in savory preparations. Some people love pairing it with shrimps and vegetables. For those who crave for something sweet, sticky rice is perfect with sweet coconut milk. Top it with slices of fresh mango or ripe jackfruit and you’ve got a dessert that’s as filling as the main meal.
There are hundreds of rice varieties in the world. The ones we shared here are the most popular ones. Try each one of them to find out what you like.