Types of Rice
Since living in Hawaii, I have come to realize that there are plenty kine rice (many kinds of rice). Rice is one of the staples eaten in Hawaii.
Hawaii is made up of people from many diverse cultures, and when they immigrated they brought their favorite rice with them. The Chinese came with long grain rice, the Japanese with short grain. Later other rice was imported from different countries.
Let's take a little journey together and discover about the many different kinds of rice.
Not all rice is created equal
Having been raised in the mainland USA, I was exposed to the commercial easy-to-cook rice in a box like Uncle Ben’s White Rice or Minute Rice. It was pretty much tasteless to me.
Basically, we were meat and potato people, where the meal was usually baked and a can of vegetables opened to make it healthier. I liked potatoes more than rice back then.
I had hardly eaten other cuisines until I met the Tongan guy
who became my husband. What a taste festival I have had since then, especially
since living in Hawaii!
There are over 40,000 types of rice in the world, including those that are cultivated and those that grow as wild rice. I had no idea! I thought rice was rice and just one kind. So the past 35 years or so I have been enjoyed getting to know for myself how many different kinds of rice there are, and how many delicious ways they can be fixed.
Three Main Types of Rice
Rice is divided into types according to the amylose content (natural or synthetic starch) of the grain.
There are three main types of rice.
- Indica: Long, slender grains high in amylose. This rice cooks up into separate fluffy grains of rice.
- Javanica: Medium amount of amylose content and moderately sticky.
- Japonica: Short and plump medium-grain rice low in amylose. It cooks up into sticky clumps.
In each of the above groups there are several specialty rice. Some countries also grow different varieties of these rice.
Hulled or Brown Rice
Although it takes longer to cook, the more nutritious rice is brown or hulled rice. The rice is milled to remove the hull, but keep the rice bran layer and the germ. It has more of a nutty flavor is chewy. It is more nutritious and has a lower glycemic index than white rice. The bran contains most of the minerals and vitamins. It is the bran that also gives it the darker color. Any type of rice can be milled as brown rice. It is more expensive because less people like to eat it, and it has a much shorter shelf life (The oil in the germ turns rancid).
Germinated Brown Rice
If you want a nutritionally superior way to prepare brown rice, soak it for 20 hours in warm water prior to cooking it. This stimulates the rice to germinate and this activates enzymes in the rice to deliver a more nutritious meal. Also known as Gaba or GBR rice.
Light Brown Rice
Fifty per cent of the bran is removed instead of all like in white rice. It is not considered a whole grain. It is faster to cook than brown rice (20 minutes instead of 45 minutes). It does have more fiber than white rice.
A mix of different grains. It has a more complete flavor and more nutrition than white rice.
This rice is pressure steamed and dried before being husked (milled). The grains absorb some nutrients from the husk, which makes it a good choice for people who want more nutrients but do not like brown rice. It looks and tastes like white rice.
Milled white rice otherwise known as polished rice, is the most popular form of rice. The husk is removed and the layers of bran are milled until the grain is completely white. It is more delicate and tender than brown rice, but most of the nutrition is removed.
Good News: Ninety per cent of rice grown in America is enriched with iron; thiamine, niacin and often riboflavin, Vitamin D and calcium are added. When white rice is enriched, it has more iron and thiamine than brown rice. However, brown rice has three times more magnesium and five times more Vitamin E than white rice.