Rice For Every Meal

Rice For Every Meal

For centuries, rice has been a mainstay for millions of people around the world. From Indian curries, to Japanese sushi, to Spanish paella, or Italian risotto, the popularity of rice has no boundaries. Today, as American interest in ethnic cuisine soars, and consumers become increasingly food-savvy, consumption of rice continues to rise. At a record 27.1 pounds per capita, rice consumption has increased nearly 30 percent since 1988, and more than doubled in the past 20 years.

“Whether folks are dining out or cooking in, rice is showing up on more and more tables”, says Kimberly Park with the USA Rice Federation. “From a culinary standpoint, Americans are more adventurous than ever. As a result, we’re taking a closer look at different types and forms of rice, too” says Park. Today, long grain white rice – a traditional favorite – is being joined by such intriguing “newcomers” as jasmine, basmati, red aromatic and black Japonica. In addition, rice’s move to center-of-the-plate in main-dish salads, paellas, risottos, and bowl meals, along with its nutritional value, ease of cooking and versatility, provides sufficient evidence that rice consumption will continue to rise throughout the next decade.

Here’s a look at some of the most popular – rice both old and new favorites – and the best ways to use them:

Long grain rice has a long, slender kernel four to five times longer than its width. Cooked grains are separate, fluffy, and light. Long grain rice works well in entrées, soups and side dishes. Medium grain rice is somewhat shorter, with a kernel two to three times longer than its width. Cooked grains are moist and tender, and have a greater tendency to cling together. Medium grain rice is ideal in recipes requiring a creamy consistency, and is frequently the rice of choice for puddings, custards or meat loaves. Short grain rice has a short, round kernel, with grains that are soft and cling together when cooked. Often used in sushi, short grain rice is also great for desserts, rice pancakes and molded side dishes.

Parboiled rice is soaked, steamed, dried and then milled to remove the outer hull, which results in cooked grains that are extra fluffy and separate. It also retains more nutrients than regular-milled rice. Parboiled rice is often used in entrées, soups, side dishes and pilafs.

Brown rice has the outer hull removed but retains the bran layers that give it a distinctive tan color and nutty flavor. The bran layers are rich in vitamins and minerals. Breakfast cereals, vegetarian dishes and hearty salads all are perfect for brown rice.

A favorite in risotto, U.S. arborio is a medium-grain rice recognized by a characteristic white dot in its center. When cooked, it develops a creamy texture and has an exceptional ability to absorb flavors.

U.S. basmati and jasmine are both long grain rice with a distinctive aroma similar to that of popcorn or roasted nuts. Cooking basmati rice results in long, slender grains that remain dry, fluffy and separate, while cooked jasmine rice grains are soft, moist and cling together. Basmati and jasmine are both perfect choices for Asian-style dishes, like curries and stir-fries.

Two colorful “newcomers” have quickly become favorites with adventurous cooks. U.S. aromatic red rice is known by its honey-red bran layer and savory, nutty flavor. Minimally processed, its grains are slightly chewy. Use it where a robust flavor is desired, such as in stews or as an accompaniment to roasted meats. The dark black color and spicy sweetness of U.S. black Japonica rice is showing up on more menus every day. Like brown rice, it is minimally processed to retain its bran layers, and is a perfect complement to hearty meat dishes, duck and wild game.

Preparing rice is easy. American-grown rice is a clean product that does not need washing or rinsing before using. In fact, rinsing can remove some of the vitamins in enriched rice. Simply combine rice with the amount of liquid shown in the following chart, 1 teaspoon salt (optional) and 1 teaspoon butter or margarine (optional). Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for the length of time shown.

Type of Rice
Amount of Rice
Amount of Liquid
Cooking Time
Long Grain 1 cup 1 3/4 cups 20-25 minutes
Medium Grain 1 cup 1 1/2 cups 15 minutes
Short Grain 1 cup 1 1/4 cups 15 minutes
Parboiled 1 cup 2 cups 20-25 minutes
Brown 1 cup 2 1/4 cups 45-50 minutes
Follow Recipe
Basmati* 1 cup 1 3/4 cups 15 minutes
Jasmine 1 cup 1 3/4 cups 15 minutes
Red Aromatic 1 cup 2 1/4 cups 45-50 minutes
Black Japonica 1 cup 2 1/4 cups 45-50 minutes

* For maximum elongation, soak rice for 20 minutes before bringing liquid to a boil.

Infomation Provided By The National Rice Federation

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