Rice is used widely in Asian and Indian cuisines, but it can be found in all kinds of dishes from around the world. Paella and curry rely on it heavily. You can’t make sushi without rice. Rice can really bring a burrito together, and jambalaya wouldn’t be the same without it.
These popular edible seeds from the plant Oryza sativa comes in several shapes, sizes, textures, and unique flavors. If you were to list the famous dishes that require rice as an ingredient, that would just be the beginning. It’s easily one of the most consumed food worldwide, so it’s no wonder there are so many different types.
This your go-to rice for making any risotto dish. It retains more starch than some other types of rice, which releases when you cook it lends itself to creating creamy, yummy risotto. But once cooked, it will still have a slightly firm texture.
This is a type of long-grain, Indian rice. You’ve probably had it in curry. It’s nutty and aromatic, sometimes compared to Jasmine rice for that reason. If you want to make your own pilaf, this is the rice you should turn to.
It’s sometimes called the forbidden rice, though it’s not so forbidden these days, widely available at stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and even Walmart. It tastes earthy and nutty. It contains antioxidants known as anthocyanins, which is what turns it a dark color (the same antioxidant that’s in blueberries and blackberries).
Jasmine rice is nutty and aromatic, a little more so than basmati rice, but it originated in Thailand. It’s a shorter grain than basmati rice, but they can be used interchangeably. I use it all the time in my Chinese fried rice, but if you’re looking for a simple side dish, try my coconut rice recipe.
Brown rice is the new white rice. It can be easily substituted into any dish in the place of white rice and it contains more nutrients such as phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium, while also offering more fiber per serving than white rice.
Red cargo rice is chewy once cooked and leeches out a red color. It has a nutty flavor, but some complain that its texture is too gummy.
Parboiled rice is processed differently than regular white and brown rice. The hull is left on as it’s soaked and steamed. It’s then dried, hulls are removed, and the resulting rice is packaged. Because the hull is left on for longer in the process, the grains absorb more nutrients like vitamin B and potassium. Once cooked, it’s dry and has a firm texture.
Sticky rice contains less amylose than other types of rice which causes the grains to stick together cooked. It’s a sweet rice used in many Asian dishes, including desserts. You can boil it or steam it, but you can also cook as you would risotto.
The classic white rice — long grain white rice is long and thin just as the name implies, which also makes it fluffy once cooked. The shorter the rice, the more likely grains are to stick together. The longer, the fluffier.
Interestingly enough, wild isn’t actually rice. It just looks, cooks, and acts like rice so it gets to borrow the name. Wild rice is actually made of seeds that come from a type of marsh grass. It has more antioxidants than actual rice and may help improve heart health and lower the risk of diabetes. Like long-grain white rice, it has a fluffy texture but tastes more rustic and earthy. The photo pictured above is a mixture of wild and brown rice.