Consumed by billions around the world, rice is more than just food in most parts of the world – it is a way of life. In fact, rice became part of a phenomenal food culture that got spread from east to west very quickly. It is also fascinating to observe how faith, spirituality and religion have intertwined, and attached significant meaning in rice grains. Given to the fact that rice is second most produced grain in the world and a staple food to more than half of the world’s population, its popularity is admirable. Rice has enjoyed an amazing transformation from the plain white to the most intensely flavoured culinary delights over the years. You can readily steam, bake, boil, fry, grill and for that matter even roast rice.
Rice & Its Magnificent Colors
The secret lies in the versatility of this grain. Intriguingly this plain looking grain is thoroughly engrained in the cultural ethos around the world, giving it a special place.
Apart from being a staple food and tickling taste buds, rice is truly a multi-purpose wonder. Every part of the rice can be used, adding to its appeal.
- Rice Starch – can be used for making ice-cream, custard powder, puddings and much more.
- Rice Bran Oil – It is nutritionally superior and can be used as edible oil. Rice Bran Oil can also be used in the making of soaps, synthetic fibers, detergents, emulsifiers and cosmetics.
- Rice Bran – It is used in confectionery products, while the defatted bran is used as feed for cattle, organic fertilizer, wax making and for medicinal purposes as well.
- Flaked Rice – It is made from parboiled rice that has been flattened into light flakes. Flaked rice is also known as beaten rice and often used for making gourmet dishes.
- Puffed rice – The manufacturing process can differ, but most puffed rice is made by pressure heating rice kernels.
- Broken Rice – It is mainly used in the making of cereals, food for babies, rice flour, noodles etc.
That’s about it and though the list has been wrapped here, it can expand endlessly.
Rice Has Varieties Too!
Did you know – rice has more than 40,000 different varieties worldwide? As the 2nd largest grower of rice, India’s rice export could be touching 8.3 million tons this year. This could make India the leading rice exporter in the world for second consecutive year. Shimla Hills is a name to reckon as one of the primary supplier of different rice (Basmati and Non-Basmati) varieties.
Popular rice varieties include:-
Short-Grain Rice – Starchy in its texture, it becomes soft and sticky when cooked. Short grain rice is popularly used in sushi, paella and risotto.
Long-Grain Rice – It is ideal for use in pilafs (also known as pulao, polow, and plov) because of less starch content. When cooked, this enhances the flavour and each rice grain comes out separately.
Brown Rice – It differs from the white counterpart in terms of processing and nutritional content. Available in both long and short grains, brown rice is considered healthier, but takes slightly longer to cook.