It is believed that rice has been grown in China and south-eastern Asia since 10,000 BCE, and that is also where this grain originated. In the year 2001-02, the production of paddy rice hit 589 million tons, and India and China were amongst the largest producers of rice. Most of the population all over the world depends on rice as it is their staple food. Rice is used to make various dishes, from the main course to the desserts. Almost 40,000 varieties of this grain are found all over the world. Its types are mostly categorized on the size of the grains. The short variety has a sticky texture when cooked, while the medium and long grains look fluffy and separated. They are also categorized on the basis of their flavors, colors, and the processes they undergo.
Let us have a look at the most-eaten rice varieties around the world.
Various Types of Rice
This is the least processed variety. Just the outer hull of this rice is removed, and the nutritional value is not damaged. When cooked, it becomes chewy with a nut-like flavor. You might notice that it has a light brownish color, which is because of the bran layer. These bran layers are rich in vitamins, like B complex, and in minerals.
This is the most common type of rice that is consumed all over the world. In this rice, the husk is removed, the kernels are milled, and it is then polished. This process is continued till the rice is white in color. Rice loses its nutritional value due to this process and hence contains less amount of niacin, thiamine, magnesium, zinc, fiber, and iron. This variety is inexpensive and is also popularly known as 'polished rice'. This type can be further sub-divided into long grain, medium grain, and short grain rice.
This is a world famous rice and is the most popular variety in India. Its name itself states that it is 'the fragrant one' (in Sanskrit). India and Pakistan are the main cultivators of this variety. This rice has long grains. When cooked, the grains do not stick to each other, but are fluffy and separated. It has a lovely fragrance, and is available in brown and white varieties.
This is rough rice which goes through a process of steam pressure before it is milled. This is a special process where the rice grain is soaked in water, further steamed, and then dried completely. This process does not cook the grain, but makes it harder so that the breakage of the grain is less while milling.
This is not exactly rice, but grains of an aquatic grass that thrives in deep water. This variety is found in North America, and was traditionally grown in the northern United States and near the lakes of southern Canada. This rice is parched, which gives it a strong flavor.
Each grain of this variety has a dot in the center, and is medium in size. It has a great quality of absorbing flavors, which makes the Arborio rice recipes tastier. When chewed, the rice develops a creamy texture.
Jasmine rice has a distinctive aroma and a very unique taste, but as time passes, its texture hardens and the aroma is lost. When cooked, the rice becomes soft and sticky, with the grains clinging to each other. Many describe its flavor like that of roasted nuts.
This variety is grown on a large scale in the state of Maharashtra in India. It is a very popular rice that has the fragrance of blossoms of mango when cooked. This is similar to the Surti kolam rice, from the state of Gujarat. This rice type is preferred the most as it is soft and easy to chew.
Dubraj rice is another variety in India. It is an aromatic rice, which enhances the experience while eating. Besides, its grains are available in sizes that range from short to medium.
Other Good Types:
- Koshihikari (Australia/Japan): Tasty, good appearance
- Black Rice (China): High nutritional value
- Camargue Red Rice (France): Naturally chewy, very filling
- Domsiah (Iran): Good aroma, fluffy, light, very tasty
- Sasanishiki (Japan): Consistent taste at all temperatures
- Sticky Rice (Thailand): Good for gluten-free diets
- Samba (Sri Lanka): Corny flavor, very filling
- Calrose (USA): Holds different flavors well
Now you rice lovers can choose the variety you would like to try according to its type and/or region of produce.