The History of Rice

Welcome to your first and only history lesson on rice!

Rice is believed to have been a source of food for the Chinese from approximately 2500BC! Starting from China, rice was spread all throughout the world and is now a main food source for half the worlds population. China is still the worlds number one rice producer however it is not the worlds top exporter. That title goes to our friends in Thailand.

This is Pineapple rice, another great export of Thaliand.

The grain is so versatile that it is able to grow in the harsh dessert conditions of the Middle East! This is pretty surprising since we commonly associate rice with waterlogged fields. Contrary to popular belief, rice fields don’t actually need to be swamped with water. However, it does help with growth and weed control.

Even rice fields look pretty.

The two most popular strains of rice we have now are Oryza sativa and Oryza glaberrima. The former is also known as asian rice while the latter is known as African rice. Interestingly, the only continent rice is not grown on these days is the Antarctic.

Antarctica makes up for lack of rice with loads of cute animals!

Rice is a popular feature in the folklore of many cultures. Ever wondered why rice is thrown at some weddings? Well, if you didn’t did you know that rice is thrown at some weddings! It’s because rice is a symbol of life and fertility! Great things in a marriage.

Guess the missing element in this relationship…..it’s rice.

These days I feel like rice has taken a backdrop to our lives.  Although we still depend on it the acquisition of rice is just a mere trip down to the store.  Don’t forget how special rice is!  Don’t forget all the hard work that has been put into getting the rice from the seed back onto your plate!  Take a moment to appreciate those special grains before you tucker down.  Respect the rice.

P.S.  If you’re interested in learning how to make some kick ass pineapple ricehead over to Gimme Some Oven!  or don’t, just miss out on a great rice dish.  Try it though, it’s seriously good stuff.


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The perfect bowl of rice, from your rice cooker.

Who doesn’t like a perfect bowl of rice, the steam coming off it, the smell, the perfectly fluffed up grains.  I could go on but why don’t I just show you how to make the perfect bowl of rice!

ARE YOU READY?!

Rice is a simple dish to cook but it’s a hard one to master.  Their kind of like eggs, just about everyone can fry an egg but you see, there’s a difference between frying an egg and frying an egg.  The latter, in bold, is the kind of fried egg which makes you say, “DAMN! This is some good fried egg!”

DAMN! That looks like some good fried egg!

On to the real stuff, how exactly do you make the perfect bowl of fried rice?  Well, that depends on what you’re using.  Now whether or not you’re using a rice cooker or not it’s recommended you thoroughly wash your rice if you don’t want the grains to stick together.  Make sure you wash the rice until the water becomes clear!

Rice Cooker

Full-time rice cooker

Rice cookers are simple enough.  Put in the amount of rice, fill it up with water then flick the switch.  The trick with using a rice cooker is finding the perfect water to rice ratio.  One method is to stick your hand in, washed of course, and fill up the cooker with water until it covers your hand.  Of course, different kinds of rice will use different amounts of water.  Brown rice needs more water than white rice while long grain rice needs more water than short grain.

The best way to perfect your rice in a rice cooker is to cook more rice!  Learn how your rice cooker responds to you.  Respect the rice cooker and it will respect you.

Snoop loves rice too.

Anyway, stay tuned for part two where we’ll talk about cooking rice on your stove!


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Washing your rice, yay or nay?

I grew up in a house where we washed our rice before cooking it.  Now I thought this was normal until I went to a friends place and to my surprise they just stuck it straight into the cooker and switched it on!

Just wow

So that got me thinking, why the hell do we wash our rice.  Won’t all the bad stuff just die when we cook it, and anyway, it’s rice, what could possibly be in there that would want to harm me.  Plus, I don’t think people in Africa would waste water washing rice after trekking across the land for water.

Fellow rice lovers, before I teach you how to cook the perfect bowl of rice, I must first address this issue.  Do we really need to wash our rice?

Firstly, what exactly is all that white powder in a bag of rice.  Well, the answer is actually pretty simple.  When the rice is hulled some of the actual grain might be milled a long with the husk.  Now while the husk will get sifted out of the mixture the particles milled grain is too fine and so they get placed in the bag a long with the rice.

SIMPLE!

So, should we wash our rice?

Well that actually depends on what you intend to do with your rice after its cooked.

If you want your rice to be more separated/loose you’ll get better results if you wash your rice.  This is due to the removal of the rice powder which is essentially just starch.  The cooked powder will act like a glue, making the grains stick together.

Now, if you’re cooking a risotto on the other hand you want the rice to be nice and sticky.  Washing your rice in this situation would only make your risotto less tasty.  Still tasty, just less tasty.

Ta dah!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post!  Stay tuned for, “How to cook the perfect bowl of rice!”


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Basmati Rice

Hey guys welcome to another week of rice!

This week we’re going to be talking about Basmati rice.

Cooked basmati rice

Basmati is a long grain style rice which heralds from North India and Pakistan.  The word basmati actually means fragrant in Sanskrit and aptly so.  This rice spells great!

I personally love the grain.  When cooked the grains become really light and fully, they also become really long which I think looks pretty unique.  Unlike short grains like arborio, when basmati is cooked the grains still remain seperate, basically, they don’t get sticky.

Due to its origin basmati is common in many Indian cousines.  It can often be found accompanied by curries but my personal favourite has got to be briyani!

Briyani

Briyani is a North Indian dish made from rice mixed with spices, meat and vegetables!  The dish is similar to Pilaf however it is less sweet.  The great thing about briyani is every grain of rice is richly flavoured with spices which means every bite is a little bit of heaven.

If you haven’t tried basmati rice before I highly suggest trying a plate of briyani, you’ll be hooked!


 

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Arborio Rice

Hey guys welcome back!

This week we’re going to be talking about one of my favourites, Arborio Rice.

Arborio Rice!

This great little grain comes from the Italian town of Arborio, who’d guess, situated in the Po Valley.  You may recognise this grain from the classic Italian Risotto!  This is definitely one of my favourite Italian dishes.  The rice is cooked in a meat or vegetable stock instead of water which gives every bite a bountiful explosion of flavour.

Mushroom Risotto

Arborio rice is a high-starch rice which means it has great absorption abilities!  All that mushroom juice has now been soaked up by the Arborio rice!  Amazing!  There are several strains of the  rice similar to Arborio which can be found in Italy, namely, Baldo, Carnaroli, Maratelli, Pandano, Roma and Vialone Nano.

Remember, when using Arborio rice it will literally absorb the flavours of whatever you chuck in the pot with it!  With great power comes great responsibilities.

What rice should you be using?

Basmati Rice

Basmati, Aborio and Shari, these are just three different types of rice!  Did you know there are over 40 000 varieties of rice, each with their own unique spin.  Long-grain varieties are grains that are, well, long and slim.  Personally I enjoy Basmati rice, a variety popular in Indian cuisine.  Basmati has such an intoxicating aroma and the grains are so beautifully long and tender.  Enough rambling though, long grain varieties of rice tend to seperate when cooking so their ideal when you want the rice to be loose, like in pilafs.

Pilaf

Medium grain rice is softer and more moist than it’s long grain counter-part.  This type of rice is actually popular in Hawaii.  It’s often the type of rice used in masubi, a type of sushi.

Spam Masubi

Lastly, there is short grain rice, the stickiest type!  It’s the extra starch in this grain that gives it its extra stickiness.  This type of rice is useful when you want your rice to be sticky!  Chinese sticky rice is a perfect example!

Chinese Sticky Rice

Over the next few weeks we’ll be talking about different types of rice and how to choose the right grain for your dish!  Until then, keep ricing!

Rice, saving your electronics.

So, you’ve dropped your phone in some water…..damn it, what do you do now!  Well if you’ve ever found yourself in that situation you’ve probably googled something like, “What do I do when I drop my phone in water!” and you’ll probably see some people suggesting to dunk your phone in some rice.  Why on Earth would you do that?  Well, it turns out rice actually does have some “phone drying” properties!

Believe it!

Rice is a dessicant material/food substance, which means that it’s able to suck up moisture in its vicinity.  Fill an air tight container with some rice and it will quickly become dryer than the Sahara desert!  Much like silica gel, those little packets which say “do not eat!”, rice is great for keeping electronics dry.  While silica gel is used to avoid moisture build up in electronics it can also be used to suck up any existing moisture!

Not that much water…

When using rice to save your precious electronics be sure to use raw (uncooked) rice!  Cooked rice belongs in your mouth.  If you can get your hands on flaked rice all the better!  The added surface area will turn the average rice grain into a super duper water absorption machine.  Basmati is ranked as the most efficient rice absorber with brown rice labelled as the least but really any rice will do.

Yay, learning!

Now that we’ve equipped you with this knowledge we hope you’ll gain a deeper appreciation and love for rice, the greatest staple food on this planet!


 

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