Some people only know the rice they use at home as part of their culinary history. Others are more adventurous and cook with different varieties and make dishes that could be considered international.
No matter what type of group you identify with, it is almost impossible to know the wide range of rice types. Rice is a staple food known for more than 8.000 years, and since its first crop, more than 40.000 varieties have been identified.
For making a better classification of rice types, they are grouped in three main categories depending on their grain size:
- Short grain.
- Medium grain.
- Long grain.
Most people tend to use the most popular rice in their country. For example, short-grain is widely cooked in Eastern Asian regions. Medium grain rice is part of Mediterranean cuisine, and long grain rice is mostly used in Northern India, Central Asia and in the Middle East countries.
Short and medium grain rice are worldwide known varieties. These types are used to prepare popular dishes such as rice pudding and sushi (short grain), paella, and risotto (medium grain).
Long grain rice is mainly cooked in India and Pakistan and even is grown in the United States, although the average American is not used to cooking with it. Let’s expand our culinary repertoire and learn how to cook long grain rice.
Learning more about long grain rice
This type of rice is easily identified since it is longer than wider. When cooked, it tends to increase its size and maintain its shape, which means the grains remain separated and produce a drier dish.
Long grain rice is also recognizable by its fragrance. Some varieties of long-grain rice have distinctive aromas which result in tasteful and scented dishes.
Some of the most popular long-grain rice includes:
- Basmati: It has a nutlike flavor and slightly floral fragrance. Rice pilaf and curries are just two recipes where you can use basmati.
- Jasmine: It gets its name from the jasmine flower color. It is very aromatic and gets a bit sticky when cooked. It is commonly used to prepare Pilaf and fried rice.
- Carolina Gold: It takes its name from the production places in the state of South Carolina, United States. It has almost no aroma but tastes very good and it’s commonly used in salads and for making Pirloo or Kimchi Fried Rice.
- Wild rice: It is a type of rice primarily cultivated in waterways in the United States. It is considered semi-aquatic grass with a nutty and earthy flavor. You can cook Pilaf and use it blended with other types of rice as stuffing.
- Red rice: It gets its color from the presence of anthocyanin, a pigment soluble in water. It is widely known but it is gaining popularity thanks to its nutritive values. You can prepare dishes like Thai Red rice and herb rice with it.
Cooking with long grain rice
As you can see, rice varieties are countless. Moreover, there are some subcategories in the main categories in which they were classified, so do not worry if you do not get to know all of them. The idea is to use their versatility to not get bored making the same rice recipes over and over.
Try different varieties of rice and prepare unique meals each time. For instance, try cooking this recipe using long grain rice.
Wild rice Pilaf
Ingredients (4 servings)
- 1 cup of wild rice.
- ½ cup of Basmati rice.
- 2 cups of sliced mushrooms.
- 1 chopped onion.
- 3 chopped cloves of garlic.
- 2 chopped green chilies.
- 1 chopped carrot.
- 1 chopped stalk of celery.
- 1 teaspoon of Garam Masala.
- 3 ½ cups of chicken broth.
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro.
- 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Sliced almonds for garnish.
- Rinse wild and Basmati rice together. Then soak them for 20 minutes, drain and reserve.
- In a saucepan, pour olive oil and incorporate mushrooms, onion, garlic, green chilies, carrot, and celery. Mix very well.
- Sauté these vegetables for 8 minutes.
- Add drained rice; stir very well until rice mixes with all vegetables.
- Incorporate chicken broth, Garam Masala, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Cook at medium-low heat for 40 minutes until rice is tender.
- Add cilantro and parsley, and mix.
- Serve with sliced almonds, more cilantro, and parsley on the top.