An ancient grain that has been cultivated for centuries. Rice is commercially classified by size: long, medium or short grain. Long-grain rice is 4-5 times its width and is available in white and brown varieties, which are light, dry grains that separate easily when cooked. Basmati rice is a perfumy East Indian variety of long-grain rice.
Short-grain rice has fat, almost round grains that have a higher starch content. When cooked, it tends to be quite moist and viscous, causing the grains to stick together. Also called pearl rice or glutinous rice (although it's gluten-free). Other varieties of short-grain rice are Arborio and Mochi.
Medium-grain rice has a size and character in between the other two.
Rice can be further divided into two other broad categoriess: brown and white. Brown rice is the entire grain with only the inedible outer husk removed. The nutritious, high-fiber bran coating gives it a light tan color, nutlike flavor and chewy texture. Brown rice takes slightly longer to cook. White rice has had the husk, bran and germ removed. Regular white rice is sometimes referred to as polished rice. For converted or parboiled white rice, the unhulled grain has been soaked, pressure-steamed and dried. Converted rice has a pale beige cast and takes slightly longer to cook than regular white rice. Instant or quick white rice has been fully or partially cooked before being dehydrated and packaged.
Also see Wild Rice.
Season: available year-round
Matches well with: almonds, basil, brown sugar, butter, cardamom, cherries, cinnamon, coconut, cream, curry, custard, garlic ginger, lemon, mushrooms, nutmeg, nuts, oranges, parsley, pine nuts, pineapple, raisins, saffron, tomatoes, vanilla, yogurt
Substitutions: 1 cup uncooked converted rice = 1 cup regular uncooked rice or 3 cups cooked; 1 cup uncooked brown rice = 4 cups cooked rice