In some parts of the world, the words "to eat" literally means
to "eat rice." It's no surprise given that a third of the world's
population depends on rice for vital nutrition.
For thousands of years rice has been a staple of East- and
South-Asian diets. Rice is believed to date back almost 6,000
years, but recent archaeological discoveries have found primitive
rice seeds and ancient farm tools that could date back 9,000
Rice is a very versatile grain, which can be ground into flour
for the gluten-intolerant, cooked slowly in paella, steamed to
accompany a variety of Asian dishes, rolled into sushi or added to
soups. Rice is also used in the production of grain alcohol like
White: White rice is milled to remove the husk, bran and
germ. This is done to extend the storage life of the grain. After
milling, the rice is polished, resulting in a bright, white, shiny
appearance. Milling and polishing the rice removes all the
nutrients that reside within the bran and the germ. Because of the
loss of nutrients, white rice is often enriched with added vitamins
B1, B3 and iron.
Brown: Only the hull (outermost layer), is removed, thus
no nutrients are destroyed. Brown rice is rich in fiber and
selenium, which may reduce the risk of colon cancer. The oils and
nutrients in brown rice may lower cholesterol and blood pressure,
reduce the severity of asthma, reduce the frequency of migraine
headaches and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Arborio: Arborio is a round Italian grain that is white
and starchy and traditionally used to make risotto.
Basmati: An aromatic rice with a nutlike fragrance,
delicate flavour and light texture. Delicious as a side dish.
Sweet rice: Almost translucent when cooked, this very
sticky rice is traditionally used to make sushi.
Jasmine: A soft-textured long grain and aromatic rice
that is available in white and brown varieties. Typically more
expensive than other rice, jasmine is less sticky.
Bhutanese red rice: Grown in the Himalayas, this
red-coloured rice has a nutty, earthy taste. When cooked, the rice
is pale pink, soft and slightly sticky.
Forbidden rice: A black-coloured rice that turns purple
when cooked and has a sweet taste and sticky texture. Popular
dishes include sticky rice with mango, a favourite dish in
Rice is available prepackaged and in bulk. When purchasing
packaged brown rice, check the "best before" and "use bye" dates,
as it can turn rancid if kept too long. Brown rice should be stored
in the refrigerator or at room temperature and keeps for about six
months in an airtight container.
White rice varieties should also be stored in an airtight
container, in a cool, dry place. Stored properly, they keep for
about one year.
Cooked rice should not be kept for more than four days in the
refrigerator. Be sure to keep it in a tightly sealed container.
It happens to the best cooks-cooked rice stuck to the pot!
Perfectly cooked rice depends on the ratio of water to rice and
most rice is perfectly cooked when the final moisture content is
between 58 and 64 per cent. But who has time for math when cooking
dinner? Luckily there are a few general guidelines to keep the pot
clean even when cooking the stickiest varieties:
Rinse rice thoroughly under cool running water before
For almost all types of white rice, the best quality is achieved
when the rice is washed, soaked, blanched or boiled and then
To cook basmati rice, which has a lighter, fluffier texture,
soak in a bowl of cool water before cooking, stirring frequently
and replacing the water four or five times until it no longer has a
Use a heavy-bottomed pot so heat is distributed evenly and use a
tight-fitting lid so steam can't escape.
If you eat rice frequently, it may be a good idea to invest in a
rice cooker, which offers a no-risk solution by steaming the
Try it today:
Wild Rice Crusted Duck
Chicken Fried Rice
Sticky Rice Sticks with Shrimp and
Forbidden Rice Risotto