Rice Glossary & Terminology
Long Grain Rice because of the length of the grain, means the grains don’t stick together, resulting in a light and fluffy consistency. This a a very versatile form of rice, with long grain white rice having a very subtle flavour, and long grain brown rice having a more nutty flavour.
Medium Grain Rice is shorter and more plump than long grain rice. As a result, it tends to stick together more easily, and is best used for recipes that require more creaminess, such as risotto or paella.
Short Grain Rice is almost round in shape and is used in many Oriental and Caribbean foods. Because it sticks together very easily, it is used extensively in dessert recipes.
Brown Rice is rice that has been milled to remove the hull from the grain, but still retains the rice bran layer and germ, resulting in the nutty flavour and chewy texture. Because it retains the bran, it is high in vitamins, minerals and fibre. Brown rice usually takes about twice as long to cook as white rice.
White Rice is rice that has been milled to remove the outer husk and all the layers of bran from the grain. This milling process removes many of the nutrients, as well, and it is why white rice is often “converted” to help retain the vitamins and minerals.
White and brown rice both contain approximately the same number of calories per serving, but brown rice has much less fat per serving. Brown rice has a much higher fibre content (2.8g per serving) than white rice (0.6g per serving)
Converted (or Parboiled) Rice is rice that has been steamed under pressure before it has been milled, resulting in a harder grain. The process of converting rice in this way prevents overcooking and helps the rice maintain vitamins and minerals.
Instant Rice is pre-cooked rice that has been dehydrated before packaging. The pre-cooking removes much of the flavour from the rice, but allows for much quicker preparation time.
Aromatic Rice is infused with a natural ingredients that provide fragrant aroma and flavour. Some types of aromatic rice include Basmati, Jasmine, Texmatic and Wehani.
Arborio Rice is a medium length, round grain rice that is a tan colour and is characterized by a white dot at the centre of the grain. This type of rice is often used in risotto, because it develops a very creamy texture, and it absorbs flavours easily. Arborio rice is named after the town of Arborio, Italy, where it is grown.
Did You Know
- It takes between 2,000 and 5,000 tons of water to produce one ton of rice!
- Rice is the highest yielding cereal grain, with each seed of rice yielding more than 3,000 grains.
- Rice is grown on every continent except Antarctica.
- Rice is the first food a new Indian bride offers her husband.
- The Chinese word for rice is the same word as food.
- There are as many as 40,000 varieties of rice grown worldwide.
- China is the world’s largest rice producer, followed by India and Indonesia.
- Rice has been cultivated in Asia for over 10,000 years.
- Wild rice is derived from wild aquatic grass and has no relation to the rice plant!
- At the end of the 20th century annual worldwide rice production was 410 million tons.
- Myanmar has the largest per capita rice consumption at 510kg per person (rural) and 408kg per person (urban).
- Asia has 250 million rice farms, most less than 1 hectare in size.
- Rice is thrown at weddings as a symbol of fertility, luck and wealth.