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HOW TO CHOOSE RICE

On the threshold of the Third Millennium, rice remains the staple food of the greater part of the world’s population and the source of 20% of the world’s nutritional supply. It has been cultivated for more than 10,000 years in its two principal sub-species: Indica in the tropics and Japonica in temperate zones.

Indica varieties, slim and crystalline in appearance, are adapted for cooking in water (the most widespread method in the world):

  • remain consistently firm;

  • are only slightly glutinous, because the starch is not lost in cooking;

  • absorb little of the cooking liquid;

  • have a neutral flavour, perfumed in the case of the aromatic varieties ( the most highly prized of which is Basmati, grown in the foothills of the Himalayas).

Japonica varieties, more or less round and pearl-coloured, are ideal for risotto:

  • have a variable consistency;

  • readily lose their starch during cooking and so the grains become glutinous and bind together;

  • absorb cooking liquids and flavours well.

Waxy varieties, of both Indica and Japonica species, known as glutinous although they do not contain glutens, have a perfectly white colour:

  • are by no means consistent;

  • lose a great deal of starch during cooking and so become very “sticky” and glutinous;

  • absorb cooking liquids exceptionally well.

From all this varieties not only white rice can be processed but also:

Integral rice is obtained by eliminating only the external, non-edible part of the grain. It can be naturally white, red or black in appearance:

  • cooks in 50 minutes;

  • does not absorb cooking liquids;

  • is more nutritious and flavoursome.

Parboiledrice, to understand its ever-increasing use worldwide it’s worth knowing that this is obtained, by pre-cooking the harvested grains before the drying process to increase their elasticity during milling. This process leads to a considerable reduction in the percentage of broken grains and therefore achieves a higher yield in the industrial milling even of the most fragile varieties.The obtained rice:

  • is “chewy”;

  • does not bind together;

  • does not absorb cooking liquids;

  • is characterized by a slight smoky flavour, considered not very palatable.

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