© Denzil Green
Rice is a grain that, just like wheat, is a member of the grass family. The stalks grow anywhere from 60 to 180 cm (2 to 6 feet) tall, and bloom with flowers that produce the grain as its seed. In Europe, it is grown in Northern Italy, and in some parts of Spain. It is, of course, also grown throughout Asia.
Contrary to popular belief, rice doesn't grow only in rice paddies -- fields flooded with water. Some varieties of rice also grow on hills.
For the most part, rice is described based on the size of its grain, and the degree of processing it has had.
Whenever a recipe or someone refers to "rice", unless they specify a type, what is meant is white rice.
Here are two standard methods for cooking rice:
Method 1) Per cup ( 8 oz / 200 g) of rice, bring to a boil in a large saucepan 2 cups (16 oz / 500 ml) of water and 1 teaspoon of salt. Slowly pour in (don't stir) the rice; don't dump it all in at once. Stir lightly, then reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
Method 2) Heat 1 tablespoon oil or butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Pour in 1 cup (8 oz / 200 g) of rice, stir around to coat, and cook until rice turns a bit transparent, about 5 minutes. (optional: you can even cook a bit longer, until the kernels just start to brown, if you want a nuttier tasting rice.) Slowly pour in 2 cups (16 oz / 500 ml) of already boiling water from the kettle, stir in 1 teaspoon of salt, cover, and then cook for 15 minutes.
For either method, if all the water has gone but the rice is not yet tender, add a few tablespoons of boiling water, cover and cook a bit more. If water has remained but the rice is cooked, remove cover and cook a minute or two uncovered to allow water to evaporate until the water is gone.
Unless you are making risotto, don't stir rice while it is cooking, as stirring it will make it sticky. The wider the mouth on your pot, the better your rice will cook.
Or, if you have storage space for a rice steamer, they are inexpensive, and take all the stress out of cooking rice.
To make a soup thicker, throw in a few handfuls of leftover cooked rice towards the end.
When reheating leftover rice in a microwave, add 1 teaspoon of water per cup of cooked, leftover rice.
When the rice grain is husked, the rice is brown in colour. This is what is known as wholegrain or brown rice. Further refining to make the white rice removes the brown exterior.
Brown rices are more nutritious than white because the brown layer retains some of the nutrients found in the husk.
Rice has absolutely no gluten.
- Equivalents below are based on a white, long-grain rice such as basmati.
- Cup volumes of cooked and uncooked will vary wildly depending on humidity, the type of rice (e.g. risotto rice), how packed down in cup, etc.
- The weights of uncooked compared to weights of cooked are of course more accurate than when volume-style measurements get involved.
Metric equivalents for rice
1 kilo rice uncooked = 2.2 pounds uncooked = 5 cups uncooked = 3 kg ( 25 cups / 6.5 lbs) cooked
100 g rice uncooked = 1/2 cup (3.5 oz in weight) uncooked = 300 g ( 2 1/2 cups / 10.5 oz in weight) cooked *
US equivalents for rice
1 cup rice uncooked = 7 oz / 200 g = 600 g ( 5 cups / 21 oz in weight) cooked *
1 pound of rice = 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups uncooked = 11 cups cooked
*For kitchen purposes, rounding 1/2 cup of uncooked rice up to 4 oz in weight (1 cup uncooked to 8 oz in weight) is usually fine.
Store any rice in a sealed container in a dry, cool place. With the exception of brown rice, rice will keep indefinitely.
Literature & Lore
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RiceBrown Rice Syrup; Brown Rice; Converted Rice; Cream of Rice; Flattened Rice; Hoppin' John; Instant Rice; Long-Grain Rice; Medium-Grain Rice; Paella Rice; Rice Flour; Rice Milk; Rice Pudding; Rice Starch; Rice; Risotto Rice; Risotto; Short-Grain Rice; Sticky Rice; Sweet Rice Flour; White Rice; Wild Rice
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-- Susan Heller & David W. Anderson Dunlap