Did you know that rice comes in several varieties other than white and brown rice? Read this blog to find out about all the major types of rice.
Rice is the one and only crop that has fed millions of people over a longer period of time than any other crop. The history of rice goes as far back as 2500 BC, where historic records show that it has been a great source of tradition and food and continues to be so till this day.
Rice cultivation is believed to have started in China, and from there on, it popularized in India and Sri Lanka. It then moved to Europe, Central, and South America. The cultivation of this crop has seen and experienced great progress in terms of being grown and cultivated in various parts of the world. The main reason behind this is its great versatility, that is; its ability to grow in a variety of different climates and environmental conditions.
Most Popular Types of Rice
Rice, undoubtedly, is one of the most staple ingredients in almost all households. This has led to a variety of rice recipes and methods of cooking rice.
However, did you know there is a huge array of rice types and kinds, other than the usual white rice?
Each type of rice comes with its own unique qualities, features, texture, smell, flavor and uses. From the aromatic jasmine rice to the nutty brown rice, every type of rice is simply unique, to say the least.
Here is a list of the most common and popular types of rice.
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Named after the town of Arborio in the Po Valley of Italy, Arborio Rice is an Italian medium-grain rice that is slightly wider in size. While it is native to Italy, it is now also grown in Texas and California. This rice contains high starch content, giving it a very sticky and chewy consistency that turns the rice into a creamy texture when it’s cooked. This makes it ideal for dishes like risotto, soup and rice pudding.
Arborio Rice has a pearly white texture and a slightly fat-oval shape. It comes in a variety of sizes; however, among all of them, superfine which is the longest grain size is the most commonly used in the United States.
This rice has a great ability to hold its shape really well during any cooking process and even absorbs liquids and flavors when cooked slowly.
This is a fairly long-grained type of rice with a nutty flavor profile. It is commonly found and grown in Pakistan, India and the Himalayas with India producing almost two-thirds of the entire world’s supply. Basmati rice has quite a floral aroma which is why it is the most preferred choice of rice for dishes like saffron rice, curries, pilafs, etc. This distinct flavor and aroma particularly come from its aging process which goes on for almost a year before harvesting.
Basmati rice is basically a skinny and quite long rice that falls in the same category as American and Jasmine long grain. Interestingly, it becomes even longer when it is cooked and turns into a fluffy and lighter kind of rice that doesn’t stick together at all. It comes in both white and brown
color varieties where the latter has a deeper flavor and its color normally should appear to have a golden-like hue than pearly-white.
Brown rice is typically associated with healthy eating because it is considered a whole grain and is less processed as compared to white rice. This is due to the fact that during processing, it only has its hull removed, which is the hard protective covering on top of the rice, leaving behind the germ and bran, the two by-products that are packed with key nutrients and proteins.
Brown rice has a chewy texture when it’s cooked and releases a very pleasant and mild nutty flavor in the particular dish. It is often described as a versatile kind of rice because of its ability to become really fluffy and light during cooking which further ensures that the rice doesn’t stick together into a messy lump. It is ideal for dishes like stuffed peppers, rice pilaf, casseroles, and stir-fry dishes. Many people also often use it as a substitute for the average white rice since it retains all its natural minerals and nutrients.
This is a long-grain rice that was initially cultivated in Thailand, and that’s where it originated from. The name “jasmine” basically is a reference to the color of the rice, the similar to the jasmine flower, which is white.
Jasmine rice is often featured in a variety of dishes in the Caribbean and is also quite often used in Asian cuisine. This popularity essentially stems from the fact that the rice becomes slightly sticky while cooking and gives off a heavenly jasmine aroma and flavor. It also has a super soft and moist texture that allows it to soak up flavors and spices.
An interesting fact about brown rice is that it contains an exceptionally high amount of manganese, a mineral that plays a great role in several bodily processes like wound healing, regulation of blood sugar levels, bone development and nerve function, to name a few.
This has to be the most common type of rice consumed around the world, particularly famous among Americans. White rice is long-grain rice and is often believed to be a highly versatile kind of rice. It is often compared to brown rice with regards to its nutritional value because it ends up losing a large amount of its nutrients and minerals due to the way it is processed.
However, despite its low dietary value, it is still quite popular in a variety of traditional American recipes and even in Mexican and Asian cuisines.
White rice has very mild, light flavor and turns out to be quite fluffy in terms of texture when it is cooked. Some famous dishes that feature white rice are stir-fries, casseroles, and rice pilafs.
Also referred to as Indian Rice, Canada rice or water oats, wild rice is actually believed to be an aquatic grass instead of rice. This grain is native to North America and is often sold alongside white rice. It is commonly grown in wetland areas that are found near rivers and lakes, particularly near the Great Lakes region in the United States.
When cooking wild rice, they tend to curl and reveal a white interior, a feature that makes wild rice quite unique and different from the other types of rice. Originally though, the grains of wild rice are brown or black in color.
Wild rice contains a smoky and nutty texture with a chewy exterior but is really tender from the inside. They are also rich in antioxidants and proteins which gives the rice a high nutritional value. It is a great option for soups, stuffings and rice pilafs since it provides added taste and substance to the dish.
As the name suggests, black rice is actually black in color. The rich black color comes from the high levels of anthocyanin present in black rice, the same antioxidant that is also present in blueberries. Anthocyanin gives a major boost to your immune system which makes black rice great for all those looking for a healthier type of rice.
Black rice is medium-grain rice and is typically known by a number of other names such as Thai black rice, Venere black rice, forbidden rice, and Nerone Black rice.
It is commonly found in Asian cuisines and in a variety of dishes such as noodles, desserts, porridge, and the traditional Chinese black rice cake.
Interestingly, it is not as popular as the average white or brown rice; however, it is the richest in terms of containing powerful antioxidants that fight disease and also contains anti-inflammatory properties and dietary fiber that thoroughly combat heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
This is short-grain Japanese rice that is famous for its use in sushi, as the name suggests. It consists of extreme stickiness, even more than the sticky rice itself which makes it an ideal choice for sushi rolls.
Sushi rice is available in several varieties, some of which are Akitakomachi, Hitomebore, and Koshihikari. It is basically short-grain rice that gets super dense and tender when cooked which is why sushi rice is ideal for sushi blocks or sushi rolls.
This rice is medium-grain rice that is native to India. A very weird but interesting fact about Rosematta rice is that when you eat it on its own, you are likely to feel like something is really missing. Basically, it is a kind of rice that is meant to be paired and eaten with something like meat or curry.
It is also known as Kerala Red Rice, Kerala Matta rice, and Red parboiled rice. Despite its different and strange earthy taste and flavor, Rosematta rice has gained significant popularity since the olden days where this distinct taste was believed to be quite unique and rich.
Rosematta rice consists of yellowish pink grains and a reddish exterior or outer layer. Even after cooking though, the rice retains its pinkish hue and looks pretty on the plate.
The best way to eat rosematta rice is to serve t alongside your curries and stews which will also help bring out the unique flavor of this rice.
Traditionally found in Thailand, red cargo rice is quite similar to brown rice in terms of its milling process in which the outer husk layer is removed, and the bran layer remains intact, allowing the rice to retain its nutritional value.
It is non-glutinous long-grain rice that comes in a reddish maroon color with a touch of brown. This rice is believed to be a great source of vitamins, calcium, fiber, and iron and contains a nutty, sweet flavor with a very chewy texture.
This rice was given its unique name due to its fascinating origin. It was named“cargo” due to the fact that the red cargo rice was transported by ship to importers who then forward it to different markets in small packages, unlike the normal white rice we eat which was already distributed to exporters in packages.
The name of this rice might suggest that it is pre-cooked; however, that is not the case. In actuality, parboiled rice is processed differently from the other types of rice. Due to this difference in processing, this rice provides a large amount of calcium, fiber, vitamin B-6 and potassium than the regular rice.
Parboiled rice contains a fuller flavor than the average white rice, owing to its milling process which also hardens the grains of this rice, preventing it from over-cooking. This further helps the rice retain all of its essential nutrients and elements.
This rice is often found in various kinds of salads, curries, vegetable dips, and casseroles.
Are you fond of eating paella? If yes then you have probably heard of, and eaten Valencia rice because that’s what paella is made of. This rice, as the name suggests, is native to Valencia, Spain which is the country’s seaport.
Valencia is medium-short-grain rice and is also known by various other names including pearl rice or round rice. It contains a high starch content which helps it become very absorbent and tender once cooked. It often acts as a buffer in several dishes that contain a liquid element because of its absorbing qualities, giving the dish the perfect dry-wet ratio.
Be it a black rice cake or a sushi rice roll; you ought to try every single type of rice and pick your favorites.
If anything, most of these are full of flavor, nutrients and essential minerals required by your body so you must have a bite out of each type of rice!