Let us discover what types of rice there are, Rice is a staple food for many cultures around the world and it’s easy to see why. This grain has been cultivated since 5,000 BC in Southeast Asia where it was first discovered by hunters who found that its sticky grains were ideal for making water into steamy vapor which expanded their hunting range from wetland areas to drier lands.
Types of Rice With Hidden Treasures
Rice is an excellent source of carbohydrates as well as protein, vitamins A & C, potassium and iron while being low on fat and cholesterol. It contains more than 400 phytochemicals including carotenoids (a type of antioxidant), flavonoids (also called bioflavonoid) and polyphenols such as proanthocyanidins, which protect against cancer-causing free radicals. In fact, one cup of cooked brown rice supplies about 10% of your daily requirement of manganese, a trace mineral essential for bone development and healthy connective tissue formation. Manganese can also help prevent cardiovascular disease due to its ability to lower blood pressure through vasodilation.
Rice And Its Health Benefits
The health benefits of eating rice are so great that scientists have recently begun research on rice genes to determine those responsible for enhancing or protecting our health. The most recent study demonstrated how a gene known as OsPIL1, when mutated, increased resistance to common pests like green planthopper and whiteback moth but weakened plant defense mechanisms at the same time. Another rice mutant, Oryza rufipogon, produces seeds with higher levels of antioxidants. The discovery of these new types of rice could lead to genetic engineering techniques used to create healthier crops capable of fighting off pests without losing resistance to natural predators like fungi and bacteria.
So What Types Of Rice Are There?
Here is a list of some of the best tasting varieties of different kinds of rice available today. Remember, if you want to cook whole grain, stick with long-grain rice rather than medium or short-grain. Each variety of rice offers unique flavor characteristics based either upon its color or texture.
When choosing a specific kind of rice, pay attention to whether it is “sticky” or not. If it sticks together easily, then it is likely going to take longer to prepare. Also keep in mind what country or region of origin the rice comes from as each culture grows and prepares certain varietals differently. Here is a list of popular varieties of rice currently sold in America:
White Jasmine Rice
White jasmine rice is grown mostly in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and China. Its fragrance makes it particularly suitable for making sushi rolls. It takes less time to cook than regular rice and absorbs seasonings better. Unlike traditional long form jasmine rice, white jasmine rice cooks faster because there isn’t much bran surrounding each kernel, thus creating a shorter cooking time once soaked. Soaking helps soften the rice kernels to allow them to expand during cooking. Long grain white rice is actually two distinct species, Oryza sativa and Oryza glaberrima. While both are widely consumed, only O. Sativus is referred to as ‘true’ white rice. To separate the two species, simply look beyond the outer husk for black spots. Black spots indicate the presence of Oryza Glaberrimma. Once they’re separated, true white rice is distinguished from the wild O. Glaberrimma strain by having a translucent hull instead of opaque, and by its high amylose content. Amylopectin molecules make up 90 percent of the starch present in long-grain white rice. These molecules tend to clump together forming gummy clusters within the gelatinized endosperm cells. Overcooking causes the amylopectin to break down releasing carbon dioxide gas, resulting in fluffy yet dry rice. On the other hand, the opaque hulls and small percentage of amylose in the wild Oryza Glaberrima version prevents amylopectin from clustering and creates a chewy texture after cooking.
Basmati rice originated near Patna, India and has become famous worldwide for its delicate aroma and rich taste. With a mild sweet nutty flavor, basmati rice has a high nutritional value and ranks among the highest sources of dietary fiber. Because the hull is removed before harvesting, basmati requires no special treatment and retains nutrients and enzymes normally lost during milling. Like other forms of long-grain rice, basmati must soak overnight prior to cooking to increase its absorption rate. However, unlike conventional rice, soaking does not remove any of the naturally occurring protective wax covering. One thing worth mentioning about basmati is that even though it shares similarities with parboiled rice, it is still considered raw despite requiring little preparation.
Medium Grain Brown Rice
Medium grain brown rice is similar to long grain brown rice except it is slightly smaller in size and therefore cooks quicker. Most people prefer medium grain brown rice because it tends to retain more nutrients compared to other types of rice. As with long-grain brown rice, medium grain brown rice needs to undergo a period of pre-soak followed by a brief rinse under cold running water to reduce the cooking time. Although it may seem counterintuitive, don’t drain the rice thoroughly. Leaving behind excess liquids can slow down the cooking process. And remember, always wash your hands immediately following handling raw rice. Rinsing with cool tap water works just fine.
Japonica rice is the oldest domesticated cereal grass, believed to originate in East Asia between 9000 and 7000 BCE. It is tall, erect, stiff and fibrous and resembles millet in appearance, but usually whiter in colour. It thrives in moist fertile soils and is often mixed with red, purple or blue strains to produce coloured rice. Japonicas are very productive and lend themselves well to cultivation on large plantations. They grow quickly and mature relatively early, producing large amounts of starchy edible material per acre. Japonica rice is classified as glutinous, semi-glutinous or non-glutinous depending on how readily the individual seed swells when placed in water. Commonly used for porridge, Japanese dishes and fried rice recipes, it is also a valuable ingredient in soufflés.
Arborio rice, originating in Italy, is a highly refined short grained Italian rice. The name derives from arbor, meaning tree, referring to the shape of the grain. Arborios owe their distinctive characteristically round shape to their elongated oval profile. They are renowned for their creamy texture and subtle flavour. Their rounded shape allows them to absorb liquid quickly, contributing to their quick cooking times. Arborio rice is sometimes referred to as carnaroli or risotto rice.
Mochiko rice is a short-grained Asian rice that dates back thousands of years. The name mochi means pounded cake and refers to the characteristic texture of the grain. Originally developed in Japan, mochis now enjoy popularity throughout North America. The addition of vegetable oil during processing gives mochikos a soft texture and light golden hue. Mochiko is ideally suited for desserts, puddings, cakes and pastries.
Wild rice is native to North American prairies and marshes along rivers and streams. It is a tiny annual herbaceous plant growing close to the ground. The entire plant consists of slender stems topped by bristles. The stem segments alternate in length. At maturity, the spikes turn whitish yellow.