The first reported incident of rice cultivation can be traced to China thousands of years ago. Rice has come a long way to becoming a prominent staple for more than half of the global population especially in the Asian subcontinent. Rice is a labour intensive and water intensive crop, no wonder 9 out of 10 top global rice cultivating countries are in Asia.
Popularity of rice can be traced to immigration and cultural revolution through the silk route. Most popular rice dishes across the Asia and the world are Biryani, Pilaf and Risotto.
Long grain rice are long, fragrant, and when cooked after soaking goes well with curries and meats. One of the most famous variety: Basmati Rice has become a benchmark for long grain rice but is not the only variety of long grain rice consumed in Indian subcontinent. When cooked takes on drier, fluffy texture.
Next in the typology comes the medium grain rice, also known as the regular rice. This is smaller than the long-grain rice, almost half the size. When cooked becomes moist and tender and complements gravy-based dishes.
this is the smallest grain rice but still popular in some belts and cuisines. When cooked short gain rice takes on a sticky texture.
White rice is one of the most loved staples across the world. While it is rich in carbohydrates and micro nutrients, it is also one of the most processed. White rice is derived from removing out hull (which is not edible), germ and bran removed during the Milling Process. The polished white rice can be fragrant but may lack the essential fibre content and micronutrients. It is recommended to consume the rice which is either least processed or processed using Japanese Milling process (which is known to retain essential nutrients and fibres).
Brown rice is also known as the whole-grain rice, Brown rice is emerging as a popular complement to curries and vegetables. Brown rice is rice grain with just the hull removed during processing. This rice is nuttier in flavour and takes a little longer to cook. Rich in fibre, brown rice can aid healthy bowel moment, thus relieving constipation; add to it high nutritional content.
Though not very popular in India, black rice is rich in antioxidants, iron, and vitamin E. This rice has a softer texture when cooked and can go well for dishes that prefer sticky version of rice.
Sticky rice is popular in countries with oriental culinary influence such as China, and Indonesia. The sticky texture if cooked rice makes it easy to eat using chopsticks. Sticky rice is also known as Glutinous rice, but don’t let the name make you discard the rice as an unhealthy option – This rice contains no-gluten, thus making it edible and healthy option for those suffering from gluten allergy or celiac disease. Sticky rice contains only one type of starch component – amylopectin (and no or negligible traces of amylose, the other starch component).
Whereas the non-sticky rice contains both the starch components – amylopectin and amylose. All the long grain rice like basmati, and jasmine when cooked don’t stick. In a nutshell, with so many varieties, and full of nutrition. Since you know your rice a little better now, go and shop smart and give your family the gift of health on the plate.