Know Your Ingredients Ep.1 Rice
Updated: May 4
Welcome to Illustrator’s Kitchen, a guide to your tasty journey!
Today, I would like to start a new series, “Know Your Ingredients”.
I decided to do this project to help you guide to expand your knowledge of cooking ingredients.
Before I start, I would like to share the reason why I started this blog.
Leo Tolstoy, a Russian writer, said,
“Eating to excess is a vice just as bad as many others. We often do not notice it in others, because most of us are subject to it”.
I did not start Illustrator’s Kitchen to encourage people to eat to excess.
I want it to become a small guide to choose better restaurants and ingredients for me, you, a community, and our planet.
I hope my drawings help you to guide what to choose.
Rice is the first ingredient in this project, “Know Your Ingredients”.
Rice is one of the most important crops in the world.
More than half of the people around the world eat rice.
There are many types of rice and people make various dishes with it.
The Anatomy of Rice
It is an outer layer of a whole grain.
It protects the grain from pests and diseases, and preserves its nutritional qualities. The hull is hard to eat and mostly indigestible to humans. Therefore, this layer is removed in all rice types.
People use hull in many other things besides eating. It can be used for brewing, fertilizer, fireworks, fuel, pillow stuffing and more.
This is a layer under the hull. Some rice types remove bran and other not. It is usually tan colored but sometimes depends on the pigmentation in the layers, it may be red or black. The bran layer is edible.
Bran contains great amount of Fiber, Antioxidants, Iron, Zinc, Magnesium, Vitamin B, Copper.
White Rice (Endosperm)
This part is the major food supply. It surrounds the germ and provides nutrition in the form of starch.
It contains carbohydrates, protein, and small amount of vitamins and minerals.
It is the largest part of the grain, but it contains the least nutrients.
Although it is the smallest part of the grain, it is full with the great amount of nutrients. It is full of vitamin B, minerals, and protein.
It is the embryo which will sprout if fertilized.
3 Shapes of Rice
Short Grain Rice
Short Grain Rice is shorter and wider than other rice.
The grains stick together and clump up when cooked.
It also shine when cooked.
Medium Grain Rice
Medium Grain Rice is a little longer and skinnier than short grain rice.
It tends to stick together a bit.
It has a tender and chewy texture.
Long Grain Rice
Long Grain Rice is the most produced type of rice in the world.
It is slim and long (roughly four times longer than its wide).
The grain is firm and stay fluffy and separate after cooking due to its starch composition.
White Rice vs Brown Rice
White rice is highly refined grain.
The biggest difference between white rice and brown rice is that the existence of bran and germ.
To make white rice, bran and germ are removed due to increase taste and shelf life.
Brown rice is definitely healthier than white rice.
Brown rice has more fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It has a chewy texture and nutty flavor.
Eating whole grains such as brown rice helps lower blood sugar level and decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Because most bran color is tanned color, people call “brown” rice but sometimes, it can be red or black.
7 Different Types of Rice
Rice is versatile and goes well with other dishes.
There are so many types of rice and each type has different character. Today, I would like to go over 7 popular types or rice around the world.
Character: Jasmine Rice is a long grain rice with floral aroma. It is soft and slightly sticky after cooked. A staple in Southeast Asian cuisine.
Food: Jasmine rice pairs well with curry, stir-fry dishes, and other Thai and south-east Asian cuisine.
Main production regions: Thailand, Cambodia, Southern Vietnam
Character: Arborio rice is medium grain rice. It has a characteristic white dot at the center of the grain. It is rounded grain with creamy and chewy texture when cooked.
Food: Great for risotto, paella, rice pudding, and soup
Main production regions: California, Missouri, Arkansas, Northern Italy
Character: Black rice is also known as “Forbidden rice” or “Emperor’s rice” because it was only for Emperors in China. The bran part of rice is purplish black. There are glutinous black rice, long grain jasmine black rice and more. Due to its color, it has a high level of anthocyanin which the same antioxidant found in blueberries and eggplant. It has a mild nutty flavor with a high in nutritional value.
Food: Used in a variety of Chinese or Thai dishes, including Chinese black rice cake and mango sticky rice. When black rice mix with white rice, it also add color to any other rice dishes.
Character: Basmati rice is a long grain rice with its unique fragrance. Some people say its aroma as popcorn like. It is dry and separated when cooked. When the Basmati rice is aged, it increase firm texture and aroma.
Food: Because of its unique flavor, it is great with a flavorful dishes like curry and dal. It can be mixed with vegetables, meat and spices for many types of delicious biryani.
Major production regions: India, Pakistan
Asian short grain white rice (Sam-kwang Rice, Koshihikari)
Character: Asian short grain white rice (also known as sushi rice) is short grain rice with high starch content. It creates a sticky texture when cooked. (Not as sticky as Glutinous rice)
Origin: Sam-kwang Rice (Korea) Koshihikari (Japan)
Food: Because it is staple rice in Korea and Japan, there are many East Asian dishes incorporated with the asain short grain rice. Sushi, Bibimbap, fried rice, and more.
Major production regions: Japan, Korea, Northern China, and California
Character: Glutinous rice is also called sticky rice, sweet rice, or waxy rice. It has high starch content so it is sticky and glue-like texture when cooked. It is called glutinous rice in the sense of being glue-like texture, not in the sense of containing gluten. Glutinous rice can be found in both long and short grain but most well known in short glutinous rice. It is also easy to digest.
Food: It is popular for sweet and savory dishes like rice pudding or mango coconut rice. It can be used for rice porridge, rice cake, and sweet dessert.
Major production regions: Southeast and East Asia
Character: Wild rice is not a grain but actually a grass. It has a tender and chewy texture when it is cooked. It is high in protein. It is commonly grown in wetlands in small lakes and slow-flowing streams. Dark color.
Origin: North America, India, China
Food: Because of its unique texture, it is great in soup and salad. Also, great with a vegetable pilaf.
Major production regions: North America
Here is an info-graph for overall information of Rice.
(Email me if you want to use the infograph for education purpose!)
I hope this post helps you know the character and different types of rice.
What is your favorite type of rice? And what is your favorite rice dish?
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See you guys on the next post soon!