Rice is a store-cupboard staple for most of us. It is also the food eaten by most of the planet, and has been for thousands of years. Easy to cook, suitable for all and goes with most foods - it’s no wonder we all love rice. But how much do you know about it?
The rice we eat is the seed of a variety of grass, grown in warm climates with plenty of water.
Just as black and green tea come from the same plant, brown and white rice are the same thing. The difference is in how the rice is processed. All rice is initially processed to remove the outer husk, but white rice goes through a second stage to remove the inner husk which contains the bran and germ.
Brown rice is therefore higher in fibre, especially insoluble fibre which is believed to be good for digestive health. All rice is completely gluten-free and so safe for coeliacs to enjoy. Rice provides protein, a small amount of fat and traces of various vitamins and minerals.
First, choose your grain. The shorter the grain, the more starch and the stickier the result. So use short grain for sushi, medium grain for risotto and paella and long grain for drier results. Then decide if you want brown or white.
Finally, choose your variety. You can either have ‘standard’ long or short grain, or perhaps one of these:
This is definitely a matter for discussion, because everyone has their own tried and trusted method. You can use a saucepan with a lid, a rice cooker or a microwave. The top tip is that there’s no need to buy individual packets. Big bags of rice work out much more economical.
There are two big questions for rice cooking:
Finally, there’s no excuse for rice boredom. Try this recipe for Persian Jewelled Rice. A treat for the eyes as well as the tastebuds! It will remind you why the planet loves rice.
Sasha, you are thinking of the paleo diet where only pre-industrial revolution foods are eaten. We are supposedly not meant to have evolved enough yet for our digestion to properly process rice, but white rice is meant to be slightly easier to cope with. Personally, I have no issue with either type of rice and would hate to exclude them from my diet.
I love rice, but am confused over which is better. I have read that white rice is actually much more easily digested and wholegrain rice has -'anti-nutrients' which actually make it less nutritious.
have to admit that I like my basmati white, just seems better with chilli and curry. That recipe looks amazing, will have to try it.