Varieties of Rice

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To Americans, rice is commonly served as a side dish, but elsewhere it forms the basis for most meals. Every region produces its own variety, which means a staggering array of rice.

Rice was first grown in the American colonies in the late seventeenth century; by 1726, the grain was being exported from Charleston, South Carolina. Today, the major rice-growing states are Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Texas, and California.

Rice is Classified According To Size


The most commonly used type in the US, its slender grains are four to five times longer than they are wide. If properly cooked, they will be fluffy and dry, with separate grains.


Medium-grain rice is about twice as long as it is wide and cooks up moister and more tender than long-grain. It is popular in some Asian and Latin American cultures, and is the type of rice most commonly processed to make cold cereals. Also packaged as California rice,


Also called Oriental, Japanese, sushi, and pudding rice, short-grain rice may be almost oval or round in shape. Of the three types of rice, it has the highest percentage starch that makes rice sticky, or clump together, when cooked. Easy to eat with chopsticks, it is ideal for dishes like sushi.

Processed Rice

Enriched Rice

enriched rice has thiamin, niacin, and iron added after milling to replace some of the nutrients lost when the bran layer is removed. As a result, it is higher in these nutrients than brown rice.

Converted rice

Converted rice has been soaked and steamed under pressure before milling, which forces some of the nutrients into the remaining portion of the grain so that they are not completely lost in the processing. Converted rice takes a little longer to cook than regular rice, but the grains will be very fluffy and separate after they have been cooked.

Instant white rice

Instant rice, which takes about five minutes to prepare in boiling water, has been fully cooked and then dehydrated. This variety is unsuitable for pressure cookery, use any type of raw, uncooked`rice instead.

Types of Rice


Arborio is a starchy white rice, with an almost round grain, grown mainly in the Po Valley of Italy. Traditionally used for cooking the Italian dish risotto, it also works well for paella and rice pudding. Arborio absorbs up to five times its weight in liquid as it cooks, which results in grains of a creamy consistency.


Basmati, the most famous aromatic rice, is grown in India and Pakistan. It has a nutlike fragrance while cooking and a delicate, it is sometimes called "popcorn" rice for it buttery aroma. Unlike other types of rice, the grains elongate much more than they plump as they cook. Lower in starch than other long-grain types, basmati turns out flaky and separate. Although it is most commonly used in Indian cooking, basmati can also be substituted for regular rice in any favorite recipe. It is fairly expensive compared to domestic rice

Glutinous rice (sweet rice)

Popular in Japan and other Asian countries, this type of short-grain rice is not related to other short-grain rices. Unlike regular table rice, this starchy grain is very sticky and resilient, and turns translucent when cooked. Its cohesive quality makes it suitable for rice dumplings and cakes, such as the Japanese mochi, which is molded into a shape.

Forbidden rice

This is a short grain, heirloom rice that is black in it's raw state and turns a beautiful dark purple when cooked. Legend has it that this rare rice was reserved for the ancient emperors of China for its nutritional properties and as an aphrodisiac, hence it was forbidden to commoners. Forbidden rice is grown in particular areas of the Poí Valley, it is not a glutinous rice, which makes it fairly unique among asian rice. It is prized for its soft texture, a delicious nutty taste,and the aroma of freshly popped popcorn.


Jasmine is a traditional long-grain white rice grown in Thailand. It has a soft texture and is similar in flavor to basmati rice. Jasmine rice is also grown in the United States, and is available in both white or brown forms.


Certain types of rice--some sold only under a trade name--have been developed in the United States to approximate the flavor and texture of basmati rice. Texmati is one of these; it was developed to withstand the hot Texas climate (there is also a brown rice version).


An American-grown aromatic rice, Wehani has an unusual rust-colored bran that makes it turn mahogany when cooked.


Not really a rice at all, Wild rice is native to North America and grows predominantly in the Great Lakes region. This large-seed is in the grass family and has been eaten since prehistoric times.





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