Rice is a grain. It is the seed of the grass species Oryza Sativa (Asian rice) or Oryza Glaberrima (African rice).
Typically around 7-9mm long, long grain rice remains separate and fluffy when cooked. It is most commonly used in main courses, salads and side dishes.
The grain of choice for risottos, puddings and desserts. Medium grain rice holds its shape and provides a smooth texture. Grains are generally 5-6mm in length.
Fat, round grains (4-5mm long and 2.5mm wide), higher in starch than the longer varieties. Best for sushi due to a sticky texture when cooked and great for puddings.
Brown Rice is simply Rice before it has been milled, which means all rice varieties are available in brown as it is just not milled before sale. It has slightly chewy texture and nutty flavour.
Basmati rice is a long-grain rice known for its fragrant taste and smell. It is the rice traditionally used in Indian cuisine and it can only be grown in the Himalayan foothills of India and Pakistan. It has the same region rules as champagne.
As with Basmati, Thai Jasmine rice is a long and slender, aromatic rice. It differs from Basmati in that it is generally part of South East Asian and Chinese dishes. It originates from Thailand. Thai Jasmine rice is slightly more gelatinous as it contains a higher level of starch. Thai Jasmine rice cannot be par-boiled because of this.
Wild rice comes from a different grass species (Zizania) than the rice varieties mentioned above. Wild rice is mostly grown in North America. The seeds vary in colour from medium brown to black.
‘Easy Cook’ rice is actually parboiled rice – this is when the rough rice (paddy) is soaked in water, steamed and then dried. This process gelatinizes the starch grain and makes it firmer and more durable during milling. Parboiled or ‘Easy Cook’ rice actually takes longer to cook, the parboiling process makes the grains firmer in texture and easier to keep separate during cooking thereby reducing the risk of overcooking the rice.