Rice is a key ingredient in recipes throughout the world. From arroz con pollo from Mexico to paella in Spain or sushi in Japan or rice pudding in Sweden, rice is important in many recipes and is a favorite of people everywhere. It can be served with butter, as an ingredient in a main dish recipe, or rolled up in a wrap sandwich or sushi.
Take a look at some common rice varieties below and try them in the suggested recipes, or substitute new rice and taste the difference it may make.
Long Grain White Rice
1 cup uncooked long grain white rice = 3 cups cooked white rice
White rice is milled to remove the outer husk, the bran and the germ of the rice. There is no need to rinse it before cooking since the rice has been highly refined in processing. The grains stay “separate” and fluffy after cooking, so it is best used when serving rice as a side dish or as a base for a main dish.
Here is a recipe with long grain white rice:
2 ¾ cup uncooked brown rice = 4 cups cooked brown rice
Brown rice is the whole-grain version of rice since only the outer husk is removed in processing. Because the nutritious bran and germ are not removed, the rice is rich in minerals and vitamins, especially the B complex vitamins. Brown rice has a nut-like flavor and chewy consistency.
Here is a recipe with brown rice:
1 cup uncooked Arborio rice = 3 cups cooked Arborio rice
Arborio rice is a medium-grained white rice and is used most often to make risotto. The rice kernel is wider than the long grain white rice kernel. When cooking risotto the rice is constantly stirred, which helps the rice to give off some starchiness and makes the risotto thicken. The rice is moister and the rice kernels tend to cling together.
Here is a recipe with Arborio rice:
1 cup uncooked Basmati rice = 3 cups cooked Basmati rice
This rice is long-grain rice, aged to enhance aroma and reduce moisture content. Some basmati rice is grown in India and Pakistan, but it is also grown in the United States. When this rice is cooked, it swells lengthwise resulting in long, slender grains that are dry and fluffy. Basmati rice is available in white and brown varieties. The brown rice variety is more nutty in texture and will take longer to cook.
Here is a recipe with basmati rice:
Like Basmati, this rice is long-grain as well and has a subtle floral aroma. Jasmine rice is grown in Thailand as well as in the United States. This rice is available in both brown and white varieties, is slightly shorter than Basmati rice and takes slightly less time to cook.
Here is a jasmine rice recipe:
2 ½ cups uncooked wild rice = 3 cups cooked wild rice
Wild rice, though often grouped with rice in general, it really is a grass seed. It has a very distinctive, nutty flavor and chewy bite. Wild rice needs to be rinsed before cooking, it and the cooking time is much longer than it is for long grain white rice.
Here is a recipe with wild rice:
This is a short-grained “glutinous” rice,” sometimes called sushi rice or Chinese sweet rice. Though it is called sticky or sweet rice it doesn’t contain gluten and isn’t sweet. Instead it is a short-grain rice commonly used in Asian recipes. You need to soak this rice for about 20 minutes before using it.
Here is a sushi recipe with sticky rice:
2 ½ cups uncooked converted (parboiled) rice = 3 to 4 cups cooked converted rice
Converted rice is white rice that has gone through a steam-pressure process before milling. This procedure ensures a firmer, more separate grain since it gelatinizes the starch in the rice. Use converted rice in recipes that call for long grain white rice. It is favored by many people and even chefs because when cooked, the rice is extra fluffy and the grains are more separate.
Instant Rice (Precooked rice)
Instant rice, as the term implies, is ready in just minutes because it has been pre-cooked and dehydrated. It is very convenient but more expensive than other rice.
Here is a recipe with instant rice:
Rice is Easy to Cook
Use one of the following three methods to successfully cook rice:
- Cooked on the Stovetop: To cook 1 cup rice, heat rice in liquid until it boils. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Continue cooking until rice is softened. The amount of cooking time will depend on the rice used. The exception is for converted rice and instant rice. For those rices, the liquid needs to be heated to boiling before adding the rice. Click to link to Perfect Cooked White Rice.
- Oven-Steamed: To steam 1 cup rice in the oven, combine the rice, 2 cups boiling water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bake in a 350°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until the rice is soft and water is absorbed. Click to link to make Oven-Steamed Rice.
- Use a Rice Cooker: Rice cookers are both electric and stovetop. Before using a rice cooker, it is important to check the manufacturer’s instructions.
How do I know when rice is cooked?
Rice should be tender and fluff with a fork easily. Sometimes rice may seem as if it is underdone and slightly hard. It is better to cook the rice until it is almost soft and then remove it from the burner, keeping the pan covered, than to cook the rice until it sticks together in a ball. Cooking long grain rice will take about 12 to 15 minutes.
Rice adds variety to main dishes, especially if you substitute another variety of rice for the type called for in a recipe. Just adjust cooking times and you’ll have a tasty change to favorite recipes.