Rice is the base of the diet of billions of people. There are many rice varieties, about 40,000, but we know and cook only some of them. So let’s see which is the most suitable for each use since not all varieties are suitable for all foods.
Rice began to be cultivated systematically in 3000 BC in China, and from there it spread to India and Sri Lanka, and later to Africa and the Middle East.
With the troops of Alexander the Great,traveled from the depths of Asia to Western Asia and Greece. It slowly spread to the rest of Europe with Italy and Spain cultivating it systematically from the 9th century. A.D. In the 16th century rice traveled with the Spanish to Mexico and with the Portuguese to Brazil.
Rice arrived in North America 150 years later and the first systematic cultivation took place in the Carolina region, which gave its name to one of our most beloved varieties of rice. In short words that’s how, rice became a global nutritional habbit.
Rice is a highly digestible and nutritious food that provides few calories, just 130 Kcal per 100g, while it does not contain any cholesterol and fat. It is rich in complex carbohydrates as well as protein.
The 100gr. cooked rice offers to the human body 2.5g.of high biological value protein.
Rice contains all the B vitamins (except B12), vitamin E, but also minerals (iron, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium). It is low in sodium and does not burden blood pressure.
Raw rice is rich in fiber that helps to the proper functioning of the intestine and also reduces cholesterol.
Finally, rice does not contain gluten and is consumed without fear by those who suffer from relative intolerance.
The Most Popular Rice Varieties and How to Cook Them
Rice varieties for soups, creams, and pastries
Medium grain white rice: It is one of the oldest and most beloved types of rice. It has white color and the grain is round and plump.
Because it is boiled very easily it is ideal for watery soups where we add it in small quantities to bind them and make them more filling. It is also ideal for rice milk, but also for other sweets such as rice donuts.
Finally, in the case of viruses with stomach and intestinal effects, when the doctor recommends only lemon porridge, you will make it with medium grain rice.
You will prepare rice – water with the same rice when you have to feed babies who have similar intestinal problems.
For the pilaf rice
Long grain white rice: It is hard rice, suitable for cooking in water or steam. It comes from long-seeded varieties, the grains of which are peeled and bleached. It is suitable for spiced pilaf. In this case, the rice needs a good washing and rinsing to remove as much starch as possible, but also sautéing in oil or butter so that the grain shines before adding water or broth to boil.
Parboiled (Blue Bonnet): Long-grained, fried rice with a pale yellow color which is due to the special treatment of the fruit with steam, with the result that components of the rind pass to the grain. It boils quickly and always remains grainy. No need to sauté before cooking. Pour it directly into salted water, or broth that boils in a ratio of 1 part rice, with 2. Parts water.
Carolina: Long grain rice with white color that keeps its shape in cooking, while at the same time it melts and combines nicely combined with the other ingredients of the recipe. It is ideal for pilaf and oily casseroles such as spinach, eggplant, cabbage, lentils, tomato rice, dolmades made from vine leaves, and stuffed zucchini.
Rice varieties for risotto and paella
Arborio and Carnaroli: Italian varieties of rice with all-white, large, and wide grain grown in the riparian areas of the river Po. They blend wonderfully and make the best Italian risotto.
Rice varieties for an ethnic cooking
Basmati: Aromatic, all-white, and long-grained rice grown in river regions originating in the Himalayas between India and Pakistan. Ideal for oriental pilafs with raisins and nuts and a perfect accompaniment to all Indian and Thai curries.
Jasmine: Also aromatic, all-white, and long-grained rice, with a finer and more delicate aroma that is traditionally grown in the plateaus of Thailand.
It gets its aroma from the special ingredients of the subsoil of each area that is cultivated and is ideal to accompany hot and aromatic foods cooked with chili, fresh coriander, and lime.
For Healthy Nutrition
Brown rice: It is a partially peeled rice that has undergone less processing than other species, thus retaining more nutrients. It is extremely tasty and rich in fiber. It has a lower glycemic index than traditional rice and is ideal for weight loss diets. Requires more cooking than white rice.
Wild rice: This rice is usually 90% parboiled and 10% the cooked grains of a hydrophilic plant (Indian rice) grown in lakeside areas of North America.
How to boil it right
- The right ratio of rice-water is usually 1 part rice, with 2 to 2½ (for parboiled) parts of water, or broth.
- For the pilaf, before cooking, put the rice in a colander and place it under running water to remove as much starch as possible.
- Mix the rice only with a fork, so that the grains stand out and remain grainy.
- Boiling time varies from 12-18 minutes, depending on the variety.
- After the rice boils and you take the pot off the fire, you should cover it with a cotton towel to absorb the water vapor and keep the rice fluffy until the moment of serving.