All About Rice

There are several kinds of rice – short grain, long grain, converted, Basmati, Arborio, sweet, wild, brown, instant. It is so confusing for people. Rice is a part of the grass family. Here are some answers:

Short Grain Rice: This is a shorter and fatter grain of white rice such as Arborio or Sweet Rice (also known as Botan Rice, Chinese Sweet Rice, Granza Rice, Japanese Rice, Paella Rice, Sticky Rice, Sushi Rice, Sweet Rice, Thai Rice). It is used for sushi, risotto, rice pudding and the sweet rice is used in oriental cooking due to the stick quality of this product, although it isn't sweet as in sugar sweet.

Long Grain Rice: This is a long and slender gain of white rice such as Basmati and is used in curries, as a base for stir fried dishes and as a side dish. The grains tend not to stick together like the short grain.

Converted Rice: Converted rice is steamed before it's husked, a process that causes the grains to absorb many of the nutrients from the husk.  It is not a harsh white, nor is it brown, but instead a cream color. When cooked, the grains are more nutritious, firmer, and less clingy than white rice grains. It is not as nutritious as brown rice which still contains the good husk, but more nutritious than the white rice. Be sure to read directions for cooking and how much you get after cooking. Most short and long grain rice will convert to 3 cups cooked rice for each cup of raw rice. I’ve also heard that converted rice takes longer to cook than short or long grain white rice, but the bag I recently bought took less time and converted to less rice than the usual 3 to 1.

Instant Rice: This is my least favorite rice. It has little food value, is rather tasteless, converts as 1 cup of raw rice to (maybe) 2 cups of cooked rice and the only redeeming feature is that it cooks fast. You aren't doing your family any health benefits if this is your rice of choice. Don’t use it unless specifically requested in the recipe. I rarely use it, but always try to furnish something for all tastes.

Brown Rice: This is your best health benefit rice. If you are diabetic, this is what you need to use as opposed to the white rices mentioned above. It takes a bit longer to cook and has a kind of nutty flavor. In some dishes, I can't tell the difference between this and the white rice. In others, well, you just have to use white rice. Both short and long grain rices come in white or brown rice.

Wild Rice: This isn't really rice, but a combination of grass and grain. Wild rice is a nutritional grain that serves as a substitute for potatoes or rice, and is used in a wide variety of foods such as dressings, casseroles, soups, salads, and desserts. In recent years, wild rice has been used in breakfast cereals, and mixes for pancakes, muffins, and cookies. This grain has a high protein and carbohydrate content, and is very low in fat. The nutritional quality of wild rice appears to equal or surpass that of other cereals.

There are many other kinds of rice such as black rice, red rice and combinations of rice. See Cook’s Thesaurus on our website under “rice” and read all about the various types.