There are many different types of rice, produced all around the world.
Although it is impossible to know all the different types of rice, it is important to understand some key differences.
If you are working with a recipe that calls for a specific type of rice it may be tempting to just substitute with whatever you have on hand, but that may lead to disaster.
Even if it is simply a different colour, some varieties of rice will behave completely different than others. I am going to go over the basic types of rice, and help you understand how they actually differ.
When following a recipe, it is best to use the recommended rice due to cook time and wanting to achieve the best end product texture.
Live Stream Video “All About Rice”
This video talks about the different types of rice as well as how to cook rice. The information about rice is discussed in the first 18 minutes.
Long/Medium/Short Grain Rice
This is the most common descriptor you will come across, and it has arguably the most obvious difference. Simply put, long grain rice are rice with long grains, short grain rice have short grains and medium grain… you get the idea.
Their sizes are defined as the relationship between the grain’s length and width.
- Long grain rice has a length of roughly 4 to 5 times its width,
- Medium is 2 to 3 times its width, and
- Short grain rice has a length of 1 to 1.5 times its width.
Jasmine and Basmati are two examples of long grain rice and they make good side dishes, with just a bit of seasoning.
Medium grain rice, like Bomba and Valencia, are usually used to make dishes like risotto, paella and puddings.
Whereas short grain, like Arborio, is most often used to take advantage of its stickiness, usually in foods like sushi.
Keep in mind that all rice is either long, short or medium grain, so you may see other descriptors like “brown” or “converted” alongside them.
Sometimes called “parboiled,” this is rice that has been soaked, steamed and then dried, instead of just dried.
This pre-cooks them slightly, which can make it easier to cook. Not only that, but the steaming process helps remove some of the stickiness and preserves the nutrition. However, sometimes the rice takes on a bit of yellow colour, which may turn people off, and it is usually more expensive.
Instant rice has been fully cooked and then dehydrated. It cooks very quickly but this negatively affects its taste and texture.
Rice is a grain, and as such it is encased with a husk. When you buy brown rice, the husk is still intact. It is much higher in fibre and protein than white because much of these nutrients are found in the husks.
When cooking, brown rice usually requires a longer cooking time in order to penetrate the husk. Many think that brown rice also requires more water, but this is not the case. Follow the link to learn more.
Since the husk is still attached, brown rice will spoil much faster than white rice. It may only last 6 months in storage before it goes rancid.
With white rice, all of the husk layers are polished off. This makes it quicker to cook than brown rice, but is less nutritious.
Since the husk is removed, white rice has a much longer shelf life than brown rice.
Wild Rice is interesting because it isn’t even a “rice”. It is the seed of a grass native to North America.