An Asian platter of a meal is incomplete without rice. It is basically a seed of the type of grass. It is a staple food for a major chunk of the human population.
More than 40,000 types of rice are known to be cultivated all over the world. The cultivation of rice requires more than just an adequate amount of water. Thus, its cultivation is suited to areas with really high rainfall and low labor costs.
Each of these varieties has a unique texture and taste. With so many types that need to be discussed let’s just start off with the classification of Rice which is majorly done on the basis size of the grain.
The two broad divisions are:
A) Length of the Grain
B) All Purpose and Specialty
Different Types of Rice
Even after the two divisions, some agriculturists may say that the division can be done on the basis of color, but again further after their color diversification, they can be put under either of the two categories mentioned above. The various types of rice classified within these categories are:
A) Length of the Grain
1) Long Grain Rice
Long grain rice is more in length and around 4 to 5 times shorter in their radii. These rice are usually used for everyday culinary purposes and are fluffy and separated when cooked.
The various varieties under long grains are:
- Basmati Rice
- Jasmine Rice
- Red Cargo Rice
- White Rice
2) Medium Grain Rice
Such type of rice is wider in comparison to long grain rice and these rice does not separate on cooking and ideally stick together and are tender to eat.
Further subdivisions of this category are:
- Rosematta Rice
- Arborio Rice
- Carnaroli Rice
- Paella Rice
- Califonia Medium Grain Rice
- Sona Masoori
3) Short Grain Rice
This variety can be recognized by its short and plump appearance. When cooked these grains form clumps by sticking together.
- Sticky Rice
- Sushi Rice
- Valencia Rice
- Pudding Rice
- Japonica Short Grain Rice
B) All purpose and specialty
1) Wild Rice
These contain a good amount of protein and Anti-oxidants. They are usually a species of aquatic grass. Their outer layer is chewy while the inner grain is tender to eat.
2) Brown Rice
The brown rice is just the same grain rice in which the outer hull is removed. Brown Rice usually takes a longer cooking time than white rice. It is further found in following types:
- Long Grain
- Medium Grain
- Short Grain
3) Polished Rice
Rice from which its husk, bran, and germ are removed is called polished rice as it is white in appearance.
4) Black Rice
It is found in specific regions and was considered to be the king’s food in ancient China. These Grains have high anti-oxidant content.
It comes in various subtypes like:
- Kavuni Arisi- from Tamil Nadu’s Chettinad region.
- Chinese Black Rice- Also called forbidden rice.
5) Red Rice
These rice are usually found in the Mountain region and has a distinctive reddish bran layer. They are a visual delight and have a complex flavor to them. Its various types are:
- Himalayan Red Rice: Found in India
- Colusari Red Rice: Grown in Sacramento Valley U.S.A
- Camargue Red Rice: Found in South West France
6) Palakkad Matta Rice
It is a special type of rice found in Kerala and also parts of Sri Lanka. It is coarse in nature and has rich content of Vitamins, Minerals, Calcium, and Magnesium.
7) Purple Rice
It is a type of Thai rice which has a sweet taste while compared to others. It adds its color to all the delicacies it is added to.
8) Wehani Rice
It is a long grain rice. Its distinctive feature is its nutty fragrance. Wehani Rice is a final product of an Indian basmati seed.
9) Parboiled Rice
This type of rice is partially steamed and boiled with its husk. Thus, major nutrients of this rice are retained in its grain and thus parboiled rice is usually a healthier option.
10) Aromatic Rice
These are usually rice which has fragrance attached to them along with their nutty and chewy taste. Its various varieties include:
- American Aromatic Rice- From U.S.A
- Wild Pecan Rice- From Louisiana
- Texmati- From Texas U.S.A
- Jasmine- From Thailand
- Ofada- From Nigeria
Apart from all these types to choose from, Rice is also available in varieties specific to country/ region they are cultivated in. There are innumerable such varieties which we keep hearing about when we visit the nearby grocery stores for our daily staple needs. Just like all other edible products rice contribute their bit to our nutrition intake.
Out of all these types, Brown Rice is considered one of the healthiest options to consume due to their Vitamin B, Phosphorus, and magnesium content. Followed by Wild Rice, Black Rice, and Wehani to be the other healthy options. The price of each type of rice depends on the area and availability of the particular variety. The most expensive rice ever sold was by the Toyo Rice Corporation (Japan) in Tokyo and it cost the U.S $109 per kilogram.
Further, like all edible products rice is not always great to consume as due to its high carbohydrate content it is generally advised to be consumed in limited quantity or can lead to chronic illnesses such as diabetes and obesity but its low sodium content also helps us to control and monitor our blood pressure levels.
Apart from this rice is a great source of instant energy and protein. Many countries especially Asian countries have a portion of rice as a part of their regular meals and thus, it is essential for them and all of us, in general, to understand its various types to help us accentuate our cooking and to select the variety which we wish to consume or the perfect variety that will add to the flavor of our favorite dish.