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The rice aisle is filled with so many different types of rice, so picking the right type might not be as easy as it seems.
Rice is a staple in cuisines all around the world, it is used for side dishes, main dishes, and even desserts. With that comes a large variety and types of rice; but what really is the difference between them and what are their uses?
Make The Right Choice!
White Rice Vs. Brown Rice
The two most popular types of rice are white rice and brown rice, also known as whole-grain rice. White rice is not a different type of grain, it is simply brown rice that has been milled and polished, removing bran and germ from the grain.
When it comes to cooking time, the two types also differ; brown rice takes a little longer to cook, and once cooked, it’s generally chewier and has a nutty flavor.
There is no doubt that brown rice is nutritionally dense; it helps with weight loss, and it regulates blood sugar levels.
However, that does not mean that white rice is bad for your health. On the contrary, it aids heart health, is easier to digest, plus, it’s gluten-free!
Now when should you use white rice or brown rice? Well, the answer is very simple, it all depends on your personal preferences and your needs. In most cases, these two can be used interchangeably.
Black Rice is also known as purple rice or Forbidden Rice in ancient China because it was so nutritious that all but royalty were forbidden to consume it. It protects against cancer and promotes the health of the eyes and heart.
Forbidden rice has a mild, nutty flavor, and chewy texture which makes it perfect for desserts, bread, and noodles.
Different Rice Lengths
There are three types of rice lengths: long grain rice, medium grain rice, and short grain rice. But what’s the difference?
Well, let’s start with the most obvious one, as each of their names suggests, the length varies from one type to another.
Long-grain rice is slim and has a hard and dry texture. After cooking, the grains remain fluffy and separate. This type of rice is perfect for soups, stews, rice-based dishes, and side dishes. Long-grain rice includes basmati rice and jasmine rice.
Medium-grain rice is shorter and wider than long-grain rice. The outcome of cooked medium-grain rice is tender, moist, and slightly chewy grains. It is the ideal choice for paella or risotto. Calrose rice is an example of medium-grain rice which is used to make this Perfect White Vermicelli Rice.
Short-grain rice is short and round. When it cooks up, the grains become soft and stick together which makes it perfect for sushi and this Creamy Vegan Rice Pudding (Dairy & Gluten Free).
Different Rice Types
Now let us dig a little bit deeper into some popular rice types.
Basmati rice is a type of white rice that can be found in India, Nepal, and Pakistan. It is a long-grain rice that is particularly fluffy and aromatic. It has a nutty, spicy, and floral flavor. Fun fact, basmati means “fragrant” in Hindi which is very appropriate.
It is noteworthy to mention that there are two types of Basmati Rice, white and brown. Typically, brown basmati rice has a nuttier flavor and takes longer to cook than white basmati rice.
Jasmine rice is most commonly grown in Thailand and Vietnam. When cooked, it becomes somewhat sticky and has a soft texture, the taste is slightly sweet.
You must also note that there are two types; white jasmine rice and brown jasmine rice. White jasmine rice is more aromatic and has a dry texture when cooked. Brown jasmine rice is known to be healthier since it is an unrefined grain, rich in fiber and protein.
Calrose rice is a medium-rice variety that comes from California and that’s what “Cal” refers to. After cooking, it becomes soft and sticky but not glumpy, and it has a mild flavor.
Because of these characteristics, Calrose rice matches perfectly with a wide selection of dishes like sushi, soups, or even with Perfect White Vermicelli Rice.
Sticky rice, also known as sweet rice or glutinous rice, is commonly used throughout Asia. There are long-grain and short-grain varieties of it.
Cooking this round-grain rice produces a sticky, glue-like texture. It is used for savory dishes as well as desserts.
Eat Healthy, Feel Good!
If you have stumbled across a recipe that calls for a specific type of rice that is not available for you, check what other options you might have.
For instance, medium-grain and short-grain rice are often confused since they have similar textures, so they could be used interchangeably in most cases. But this also depends on your preference and the dish you’re making.
And as mentioned above, there isn’t a huge difference between white rice and brown rice so feel free to substitute according to your preference and availability.
Basmati rice and jasmine rice can be used interchangeably since they both belong to the long-grain rice category.
Note that in some cases using a different type of rice other than the one originally required for a recipe can affect the taste or the texture, so be cautious.
Frequently Asked Questions
If stored properly, uncooked rice can last for years, so make sure you store it in a cool and dark place.
Yes, when you start to see bugs, mold, water, or holes in the packaging of your rice it means that it has gone bad.
Cooked rice can last for up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator, and it can also be frozen for up to 8 months.
Whatever type of rice you’re cooking, make sure to rinse it well to remove the extra starch which prevents it from sticking together.
Explore More Recipes With Rice:
- Flavorful Garlic Butter Rice
- Layered Rice Veggie Pilaf with Chicken Thighs (Chicken Kabsa)
- Ground Meat Rice and Chicken (Roz w Jeij)
- Mansaf (Lebanese Rice with Meat)
- Perfect White Vermicelli Rice
- Lebanese Lentils and Rice Recipe (Mujadaret Roz)
- Sweet Potato Cajun Rice Bowl
- Meat and Rice Stuffed Squash (Kussa)
- Halawet El Riz – Rice and Cheese Cream
- Creamy Vegan Rice Pudding (Dairy & Gluten Free)
Different Rice Types and Their Uses
- 1 cup Basmati rice
- 1½ cup water
- 2 cups sticky rice, (sweet rice or glutinous rice)
Basmati Rice recipe
- Add rice and water in a medium size pan over medium-high heat with no lid.
- Bring to a simmer
- Place the lid, then turn heat down to medium low and cook for 12 minutes
- Once all the water is absorbed, remove from the heat but keep the lid on for 10 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
Sticky Rice recipe
- Soak the rice in water for 6 hours, the longer it soaks the softer it will be.
- Discard water and spread the soaked sticky rice on a steamer lined with parchment paper.
- Cover and steam for 30-45 minutes.
- To prevent it from drying out, keep it in the steamer or covered until you're ready to serve. Enjoy!