Feb 17, 2011


Worldwide there are more than 40,000 different varieties of rice though only a small number offer the quality acceptable to be grown commercially in the U.S. Rice is the most commonly consumed food grain in the world. The U.S. is the leading exporter of it, though we actually only produce about 1% of the global supply.  In the United States, these varieties can be divided into the following Types, Forms, and Basic Varieties.

There are about 20 rice varieties grown commercially in the U.S. All can be classified as long, medium or short grain.
LONG GRAIN RICELong grain rice has a long, slender kernel, four to five times longer than its width. Cooked grains are separate, light and fluffy.
Medium grain rice has a shorter, wider kernel (two to three times longer than its width) than long grain rice. Cooked grains are more moist and tender, and have a greater tendency to cling together than long grain. 
Short grain rice has a short, plump, almost round kernel. Cooked grains are soft and cling together.
Sweet or Waxy Rice
U.S. sweet rice is short and plump with a chalky white, opaque kernel. When cooked, sweet rice loses its shape and is very glutinous. Sweet is more often used in commercial product formulations. The starch and flour from sweet rice is used in frozen products as a binder for gravies, sauces, and fillings because it is resistant to breakdown during freezing and thawing, unlike some corn or wheat starches.
Aromatic Rice
Aromatic rices have a flavor and aroma similar to that of roasted nuts or popcorn. The natural compound that gives aromatic rice the characteristic aroma and flavor is present in all rice, but in the aromatic varieties it is present in much higher concentrations. The most popular domestically grown aromatic rices include: della which cooks dry, separate and fluffy; jasmine which cooks more moist and tends to cling together; and basmati which cooks into very long, slender grains which are dry, separate and fluffy.  Here are types of Aromatic Rices;  U.S. Aromatic red rice, U.S. basmati, Della, Delrose, and Delmont varieties, U.S. black japonica, and U.S. jasmine rice.

Rough (Paddy) Rice - Kernels still within the hull. Before the rice can be packaged or cooked, the outer hull or husk must be removed.
Parboiled Rice – this rough rice has gone through a steam-pressure process before milling.  It is not precooked. This process helps retain many of the vitamins found in unprocessed rice. Nutrients soak into the rice kernels before the outer layers are removed. Parboiled Rice is light golden or amber in color. It cooks up fluffy with separate distinct grains.   This procedure gelatinizes the starch in the grain, and ensures a firmer, more separate grain. Parboiled rice is favored by consumers and chefs who desire an extra fluffy and separate cooked rice
Regular Milled White Rice - Regular-milled white rice, often referred to as “white” or “polished” rice is the most common form of rice. The outer husk is removed, and the layers of bran are milled until the grain is white.  This rice, though the most popular and widely eaten is the LEAST healthy for the body.  WHY? This is raw rice that has had its outer layers milled off, taking with it about 10% of its protein, 85% of its fat and 70% of its mineral content. Because so much of the nutrition of the rice is lost, white rice sold in this country has to be enriched with vitamins that only partially replace what was removed.
Instant Rice (Converted Rice) - this is Rice that has been precooked and dehydrated so that it cooks more rapidly
Brown Rice- Brown Rice has long been known as the healthy alternative to white rice.  It is kernels of rice from which only the hull has been removed. Ironically, brown and white rice are the same grain.  The former with its bran and germ (outer layers) left intact; the latter having it removed.  As with other grains, the bran and germ layer of rice contain most of the vitamins, minerals, and oils- all the healthy stuff.  The endosperm or white center of rice is mostly starch.  As a whole grain, brown rice has a much higher fiber than white rice.  It also has a good amount of fiber compared to other whole grains!  Brown Rice is a good source of B vitamins that help the body maintain energy levels. It is also rich in Vitamin E which is beneficial to the hair and skin.  It is gluten-free and non-allergenic which means anyone with digestion problems, like Celiacs, or people with ulcers, or IBS (Irritable Bowl Syndrome) will find it comfortable to eat.

Black Rice- Black rice is an heirloom variety of rice cultivated in Asia. It is typically sold as an unmilled rice, meaning that the fiber-rich black husks of the rice are not removed. It is known as “forbidden rice” in China for it was only for the Emperors consumption. Everyone else was forbidden to eat it.  It is high in amino acids and contains phytochemicals, which provide antioxidants and other health benefits when cooked. In addition, this rice provides many minerals important for human health, including iron. The black color of uncooked forbidden rice is due to its outer coating of black bran providing important dietary fiber.

Basic Varieties
U.S. Arborio rice is a large, bold rice with a characteristic white dot at the center of the grain. By the way of length/width ratio and starch characteristics, it is classified as a medium grain rice. Primarily used in risotto, this rice develops a creamy texture around a chewy center and has exceptional ability to absorb flavors.
Cooking hints: Don't rinse. Simmer 1 part rice with a little butter, reduced wine, and chopped onion; then, stirring constantly, slowly add to the simmering mixture 2 1/2 to 3 parts hot water or stock until the rice is cooked, about 25 minutes. When cooked properly, the center of the grain should be hard while the rest of the grain is soft and creamy.
Best Uses:  Risotto, Stews, Soups 
Recipe: Italian Risotto
cup white wine
½ cup dried wild mushrooms
4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock for vegans and vegetarians (water will also do - just add some garlic paste and fresh herbs of your choice)
1 T Olive oil
½ cup(s) onions, chopped
2 Roma tomatoes chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
Sea salt to taste if using chicken stock less will be required.
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/8 cup Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
1 T butter or clarified butter (ghee) or sesame oil for vegans

Preparation: Heat ½ cup of wine in a small saucepan. Add the mushrooms; remove from heat and set aside to soak. Heat the stock until it reaches a low simmer, then adjust the heat so that it stays just at the simmering point. Heat the olive oil over low heat in a wide, heavy pot. Add the onions, sauté‚ until they begin to soften, 3-4 minutes. Add tomatoes and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir well to coat the grains. Add one cup of the hot stock and stir. When the stock has absorbed, add another cup of stock and continue stirring, adding more as the stock is absorbed. When half the stock has been used, add the mushrooms its soaking liquid, and remaining wine.  Continue adding the remaining stock, in smaller portions, stirring constantly until the rice is creamy and just tender. This stirring process should take about 25 minutes.  Season the rice with salt and pepper.  Finally, stir in butter and Parmesan cheese.
This is an excellent white rice can be interchanged with white Basmati rice for variety. This rice has a slight jasmine aroma after cooking and cooks to nice firm rice. It is just slightly sticky when compared to Basmati, which is not sticky at all. Jasmine rice is grown in Thailand.
Cooking hints: Bring 1 part rice, 3 parts liquid to a boil; Simmer, covered for 20 - 25 minutes, or until rice has absorbed the liquid.
Best Uses:  Pilafs, Side dishes, Plain boiled white rice, Not very good for puddings, burgers or any dish where the rice is not displayed whole. For such dishes parboiled rice or short grained rice is preferred.  Excellent choice when cooking Thai curries and Vietnamese dishes
Recipe -Classic Thai Fried Rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1/4 cup green peas
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups dry jasmine rice
3 cups water
salt to taste
1 In a large saucepan over a medium-low heat, warm the oil. Add onion and saute for 3 to 5 minutes. Mix in green peas, bay leaf, and jasmine rice. Stir to coat the rice.
2 Pour 3 cups water into the saucepan and add the salt. Increase the heat to medium and let the rice come to a quick simmer. Reduce heat to low and let rice simmer lightly and sit uncovered until all of the liquid is absorbed. Cover the rice and remove from heat, let sit approximately 10 minutes. Serve with curry, steamed vegetables and side dish of fresh tomato salsa.
Basmati Rice
Basmati Rice is a non-glutinous rice that has been cultivated at the foot of the Himalayan mountain ranges for centuries. The rivers Yamuna and Ganga feed the fields. The rice is a long-grain rice and when literally translated from Hindi it means ‘queen of scents’ or ‘pearl of scents’. It is the world’s best rice one can use for cooking although, for variety one uses jasmine and parboiled rice. For centuries it has been exported to the Arab countries and many of their traditional rice dishes are cooked with long grained Basmati rice. It is an aromatic long grain slender rice from India and Pakistan, is fragrant and has a nutty flavor.
Cooking Hints: – Boil it in water for perfumed rice dish or just add ghee to the water to enhance its nutty aroma and double your rice dinning experience. Add some whole spices, nuts, dried fruits, vegetables and beans (or meats) to the rice and make a rice dish into a main meal.
Best Uses
: Pilafs, biryani, side dishes, plain boiled white rice, not very good for puddings, burgers or any dish where the rice is not displayed whole. For such dishes parboiled rice or short grained rice is preferred.
Small Basmati- Kalijira from Bangladesh is a miniature basmati and can be cooked like basmati and is a small rice grain which is non-glutinous.
Cooking Hints: – Boil it in water for an excellent rice dish or just add ghee to the water to enhance its nutty aroma and double your rice dinning experience. Add some whole spices, nuts, dried fruits, vegetables and beans (or meats) to the rice and make a rice dish into a main meal.
Best Uses: Pilafs, Biryani, side dishes, plain boiled white rice, not very good for puddings, burgers or any dish where the rice is not displayed whole. For such dishes parboiled rice or short grained rice is preferred.  
Pilaw or pilafs, as this rice-based dish is known in some parts of the world, are made in different ways in different regions. A plain pilaw makes a pleasant change from boiled rice and this is a traditional way to prepare it.
·         2 cups of uncooked Kalijira Rice
·         1 tablespoon vegetable or corn oil
·         3 cups water
·         1/2 cupped diced onion
·         1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
·         3 whole cloves
·         3 cardamon pods
·         1 cinnamon stick
·         1 teaspoon salt
A bay leaf is optional Rinse the rice 1 to 2 times. Drain well. Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onions until soft and translucent but not brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook for 1 minute, or until all the grains are shiny. o Add 3 cups water, the turmeric, cloves, cardamon pods, cinnamon stick and salt; stir. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. Allow rice to sit covered for 5 minutes. For special occasions, pilaw was always served with a generous sprinkling of almonds and raisins on the top. First, blanch and fry slivered almonds in oil, set aside and using the same oil, fry the raisins until they plump up. Drain and sprinkle on the pilaw.
Haiga-mai Rice

Tamaki Haiga shortgrain rice is partially milled: the brown bran has been removed, but unlike white rice, the nutrient-laden germ remains. Haiga-mai ("rice germ" in Japanese) rice is a semi-transparent beige in color, and it tastes and cooks similarly to regular Japanese white rice - but it maintains many of the natural vitamins and other nutrients lost in processing white rice. Rice germ contains Vitamin B1, B2, B6, and E as well as fiber. This rice is expensive and hard to find in the United States.
Preparation: Prepare Tamaki Haiga rice as you would white rice - unlike brown rice, it only takes only a few minutes longer to cook. Once you taste it, you may never eat fully milled white rice again. And think of all the extra nutrition you're getting - with no sacrifice in flavor or texture!

Black Rice

It cooks very much like a non-glutinous rice. It has excellent texture, color and flavor. It has a nutty taste, soft texture, and beautiful rich deep purple color.  The U.S. sells a different variety which is called  Black Japonica rice.  It takes about 45-50 minutes to prepare and has a slightly chewy and subtle sweet spiciness.

Thai people often use 2 cups of black rice, 3 cups of white sticky rice, 1 can of coconut milk, sugar and salt to make this into a delicious dessert! 
Uses:  As a Pilaf,  steamed and plain, or served with a stir fry dish or a curryRecipe:
1 cup black Chinese rice
3 tablespoons butter or ghee or oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced fine
2 cloves garlic, minced or 1 whole red dry chili or 1/2 small green pepper
minced (optional)
Water to cover plus 1 inch of water
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
Sauté the onion in the butter till clear; add the garlic, Add rice, water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover the pot tightly and cook for approximately 30 to 45 minutes or till the rice is soft but firm. Add more liquid if rice dries out during cooking. Fluff rice when done and add sesame oil.
Red Rice
A number of different rices are referred to as “red rice.” In most cases, people mean an unhulled or partially hulled rice which has a red husk, rather than the much more common brown. Like other unhulled rices, red rice has a nutty flavor, and a high nutritional value, thanks to the fact that the germ of the rice is left intact. Some specialty stores carry red rice, often labeled as “Bhutanese red rice” or “cargo rice,” and it can also be purchased through companies which specialize in rice.  However, “red rice” can also refer to a wild variety of rice which has a very low grain yield, leading many rice farmers in its native Asia to regard it as a weed. This type of red rice can become a real nuisance next to rice plantations, because it can cross-breed, producing inferior rice plants, and it can take over. Several attempts have been made to genetically modify this rice variety making it more useful.  Assuming one is not referring to a weed or to red yeast rice, red rice comes in a variety of forms. Some cultivars are short grained and very sticky, while others are long-grained. Red rice is grown in Europe, Southeast Asia, and the American South, and some companies have developed their own cultivars by cross-breeding several varieties.
The term “red rice” is also sometimes used to refer to red yeast, a specialized product made in China and Japan. To make red yeast rice, manufacturers hull and polish rice grains and then cultivate a mold which creates a crusty red coating. This rice can be eaten like regular rice, but it is also used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat a variety of conditions. Studies on red yeast rice also seem to suggest that it may help fight harmful cholesterol.
When red rice is cooked, the natural red color in the bran or hull of the rice, leaches out and dyes the rest of the dish red to pink. Red rice is high in fiber, because of the bran, and the flavor is much stronger than that of hulled rice, tasting more nutty and full. Red rice can be served with a variety of foods in addition to being eaten on its own, and it can be incorporated into risotto and other mixed rice dishes as well.

Wild Rice

Wild rice is not really a rice, but it IS a grain!  Wild rice is the only grain native to North America and its grains have been harvested by Native Americans for thousands of years. Also called "Indian Rice", it comes in black, brown, and red varieties. It grows in slow moving rivers and marsh lands near the Great Lakes, Atlantic coast, and the Gulf of Mexico.  Wild rice are actually seeds of a water grass.  They are long and dark brown with black colorings. They have a wonderful smoky, nutty flavor and chewy in texture. Wild rice from lakes are the best choice as they are far superior than cultivated wild rice. Although, cultivated paddies provide excellent breeding ground for waterfowl and other wildlife.

Nutrition:  This whole grain is low in carbohydrates and calories but high in fiber making it a good diet food. It has important omega 3 fatty acids that help to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of certain cancers. It is also a good source of vitamin B2, folate, and zinc. Because it is a member of the rice family, it is gluten-free and can be eaten safely by people with gluten allergies or intolerance. 
Cooking hints:
1 cup of raw wild rice makes 3 to 4 cups cooked wild rice.. This rice needs to be soaked for 15 minutes and then cooked with three parts to one part wild rice of water for 40 minutes. Steam the rice for about 5 minutes before serving.Best Uses: Gives a gourmet quality to a meal as a side dish, casseroles, Minnesota hot dishes, salads and stuffings. 

Nutrition Information: Wild rice is high in protein. It's a good source of a number of nutrients such as copper, fiber, folate, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, vitamin B6 and zinc.Recipe: Minnesota Wild Rice Pilaf 4 ½ cups of chicken or vegetable stock or water
4 t of fresh minced garlic
1 small white onion diced
1 ¾ cup of lake harvested wild rice (not cultivated)
¼ t white pepper
Salt to taste
1 bay leaf
1 sprig Thyme
2 T toasted chopped almonds
-  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large ovenproof saucepan add all ingredients except almonds, cover the pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes.
- Continue to bake until the grains are done and fluffy.
- Garnish with toasted almonds
The healthiest RICES are those that have not been refined and stripped of the bran and germ layers which hold most of the nutrients.  If you don’t like Brown Rice, might I suggest you mix white and brown rice together and add a little extra water so the brown rice cooks all the way.  I now LOVE brown rice after slowly incorporating it into my regular diet.  Good-luck and have some fun experimenting with all the different varieties of Rice!

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