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Rice, a cereal grain enjoys the rank of being second highest produced grain in the world after maize. Rice is part of a staple diet for a number of countries around the world including South East Asia, the Indian sub-continent, Middle East, Latin America and the West Indies. Rice can be of many varieties; however, there is basic difference between long and medium grain rice. The grains of long grain rice remain the same even after cooking while the grains of medium-grain become smaller and sticky. A variety of rice dishes can be prepared since it is a staple for a number of countries.

Origin of Rice

In Asia, rice has been an important cereal for many countries since ages. In India the early evidence of rice farming dates back to 2000 BC in the northern and western part of the country. In Africa rice was grown between 1500 and 800 BC. In the 10th century, the Moors introduced rice in Europe. In the United States, rice was introduced much later and somewhere around 1694.

Ingredients Prescribed for Rice

Rice is a cereal grain that can be prepared along with an assortment of ingredients such as vegetables, meats and spices. For example, the Chinese cuisine is famous for its fried rice recipe, which is made with rice and a combination of vegetables, eggs, chicken and meat. The famous Indian Biryani consists of rice cooked along with lamb meat or chicken.

Popular Method of Preparation of Rice

The ideal method of preparing rice is through boiling or steaming rice. Often oil is added to the rice before boiling so that the rice is less sticky. Rice can also be cooked in electric rice cookers. A lot of times rice is usually soaked before it is cooked, as this helps in reducing the cooking time.

Serving and Eating Rice Dishes

In most cuisines across the world, rice is a staple part of diet and is relished with a main dish consisting of a curry preparation. Rice can also be cooked by mixing in it all kinds of vegetables, meats and spices. The right amount of serving rice is a bowl of rice.

Types of Rice

Different kinds of rice can also differ on the kind of grain the rice is harvested from. Rice is often classified according to long-grain, medium-grain and short-grain rice.

· Ambemohar – This short grain rice belongs to the state of Maharashtra in India. On preparation, this rice breaks easily and usually sticks together.

· Basmati - Basmati is a kind of long grain rice that is particularly known for its flavor and fragrance and grows extensively in India and Pakistan. In most of the special rice delicacies, basmati rice is used.

· Beaten – Beaten rice or flattened rice is a kind of a dehusked rice. The rice is made flat and turned into flat light dry flakes. This type of rice is easily digestible and it is enjoyed as a snack.

· Jasmine Rice – Often referred to as Thai fragrant rice, this is long grain rice and is known for its subtle aroma. Though the rice tends to stick, it is considerably less sticky than other varieties of rice.

Special Rice Dishes

The range of rice dishes and rice recipes is huge and varied. Each country excels in creating their unique rice preparations.

· Arroz Caldo – This rice preparation from Philippines consists of rice porridge combined with chicken, onions, ginger and spring onions.

· Arroz Con Pollo – This rice dish belongs to Central and South America and is a preparation of rice with chicken.

· Biryani – This South Asian preparation is particularly popular in the Indian subcontinent and is a dish that is a combination of rice with meat, chicken, fish or vegetables.

· Risotto – This is a famous Italian rice recipe prepared by cooking rice in olive oil and adding the rice to a broth.

Variations of Rice

The variation of rice can vary depending on the country or region where it is being grown.

a) Australian variety of rice – Some of the popular varieties of Australian rice include Amaroo, Reiziq, Jarrah and Koshihikari.

b) Bangladeshi variety of rice – Popular variety of rice from this country includes Paijam, Balam, Miniket and Chingura.

c) Italian variety of rice – The Italian varieties of rice consists of Arborio, Ariete, Baldo and Carnaroli.

d) Indian variety of rice – The Indian varieties of rice consists of Dubraj, Rosematta, Ponni and Sona masuri.

e) Japanese variety of rice – Some of the most well known Japanese varieties of rice comprise of Koshihikari, Hitomebore, Nihonbare and Haenuki.

Health and Nutritional Facts Related to Rice Recipes

Rice is the staple of most countries and there are a number of health benefits associated with rice. Rice is an essential source of Vitamin B1. Brown rice is particularly high in nutritional value and is low in cholesterol, saturated fat and sodium.

Famous Rice Recipes

Some of the famous rice recipes and rice dishes are as follows:

a) Rice Pudding – Rice pudding is available as a savory and as well as a sweet delights. The savory rice pudding is popular world over and is made from rice and coconut milk. A host of other ingredients too can be added to make it more delicious such as spices and condiments. The sweet rice pudding is made from a combination of rice and milk to which some kind of a sweetener is added.

b) Pancit Bihon – This well-known Philippines noodle is made from rice and it is often called rice noodles. Rice noodles are cooked with an assortment of seafood, vegetables and meat and are seasoned with soy sauce and calamansi.

c) Hoppin’ John – This is a rice recipe that is popular in Southern United States and is a combination of rice and cowpeas.

Rice Trivia

Rice is cultivated on all the continents except for Antarctica.