9 varieties of rice and how to cook them well
Rice is the staple diet for billions of people. There are many varieties of rice, around 40,000, but we only know and cook a few. So let’s see which one is most suitable for each use, because 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. In the 16th century, rice traveled with the Spaniards in Mexico and with the Portuguese in Brazil.
Rice arrived in North America 150 years later, and the first systematic cultivation was in the Carolina region, which gave its name to one of our most beloved varieties of rice. In short, this is how rice became a worldwide nutritional habit.
Rice is a highly digestible and nutritious food that provides few calories, only 130 Kcal per 100 g, while it does not contain cholesterol or fat. It is rich in complex carbohydrates as well as protein.
The 100gr. cooked rice provides the human body with 2.5 g. of proteins of high biological value.
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 increase blood pressure.
Raw rice is high in fiber which helps 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 a relative intolerance.
The most popular varieties of rice and how to cook them
Varieties of rice for soups, creams and pastries
Medium grain white rice: It is one of the oldest and most popular types of rice. It has a white color and the grain is round and plump.
Because it is boiled very easily, it is ideal for soups where we add it in small amounts to bind them together and make them more filling. It is also ideal for rice milk, but also for other sweets such as rice fritters.
Finally, in the case of viruses with gastric and intestinal effects, when the doctor recommends only lemon porridge, you will prepare it with medium grain rice.
You will be making rice – water with the same rice when you need to feed babies who have similar bowel problems.
For the rice pilaf
Long grain white rice: It is hard rice, suitable for cooking with water or steam. It comes from long-seeded varieties, the kernels of which are peeled and blanched. It is suitable for spicy pilaf. In this case, the rice needs a good washing and rinsing to remove as much starch as possible, but also to sauté in oil or butter so that the grain shines before adding water or sugar. broth to a boil.
Steamed (blue cap): Long-grain fried rice with a pale yellow color which is due to the special steaming of the fruit, with the result that the rind components pass to the grain. It boils quickly and is always 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.
Caroline: Long grain rice with a white color that keeps its shape in the kitchen, while melting and combining well with other ingredients of the recipe. It is ideal for pilafs and oily casseroles such as spinach, eggplant, cabbage, lentils, tomato rice, grape leaf dolmades and stuffed zucchini.
Rice varieties for risotto and paella
Arborio and Carnaroli: Italian varieties of fully white, large and broad grain rice cultivated in the riparian areas of the Po River. They blend together wonderfully and make the best Italian risotto.
Varieties of rice for ethnic cuisine
Basmati: Aromatic rice, entirely white and long grain cultivated in the 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 rice, all white and long grain, with a finer and more delicate aroma that is traditionally cultivated in the highlands of Thailand.
It derives its aroma from the special ingredients of the subsoil of each cultivated area and is ideal to accompany hot and aromatic foods cooked with chili, fresh cilantro and lime.
For a healthy diet
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 high 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% of the cooked kernels of a hydrophilic plant (Indian rice) grown in the lake regions of North America.
How to boil properly
- The correct rice-to-water ratio is usually 1 part rice, with 2 to 2½ parts (for parboils) 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 kernels come out and remain grainy.
- The boiling time varies from 12 to 18 minutes, depending on the variety.
- Once the rice boils and you remove the pot from the heat, you should cover it with a cotton towel to absorb the water vapor and keep the rice soft until ready to serve.