Storified by ebanreb· Wed, Apr 17 2013 19:14:36
Rice is a common, healthy food and learning how to cook rice is important for many world cuisine recipes. In some Asian countries, where it is the primary food staple essential to survival, a person can eat 300 pounds of it in a year, compared to an average of 25 pounds per person in America.
Types of Rice
When you learn how to cook rice, you'll find there are three main types of it you can eat.
The inner portion of the grain is white rice. It is commercially refined and sometimes contains a harmless coating of talc or glucose to make it look more appealing to the eye. White is popular with the buying public, but the refining process removes a lot of nutrition.
Whole grain or brown has more iron, phosphorus and vitamins B1 and G than white and a pleasant nut-like taste. It has not always been easy to buy but is steadily becoming more popular; it's often sold in sealed containers to prevent it from going rancid. When you learn how to cook rice, you'll find brown takes longer to cook than white.
Wild or Indian rice is technically not rice, but the seed of a marsh grass. It is the most expensive variety and food connoisseurs-pintade aux endives like the taste as an accompaniment to meat dishes.
Wash First and Last
Most varieties of rice need to be washed in a colander of fresh water prior to cooking. Some varieties are pre-washed and do not require this step. You should also rinse most varieties of rice with boiling water after cooking.
The actual cooking technique will depend on the type of rice dish. For example, a risotto requires a different method than an Indian or Chinese rice dish. Now all you need to know is how to cook rice!
Varieties and Techniques
The three main categories of rice contain a number of varieties, each with specific directions on how to cook rice.
Arborio rice, ideal for Italian risotto dishes, is a short grain, extra starchy rice that has a creamy appearance after cooked.
Start by sautéing the rice in a little butter and then slowly cook a mix of 1 part rice to three parts liquid. You can add extra ingredients and vegetables at this point to flavor the risotto such as:
Arborio Rice can also be used to make rice puddings.
Available in both short and long grain varieties, brown rice is high in fiber and has a nutty taste. It is delicious in pilafs and many other dishes. Cook brown rice in two parts liquid to one part rice and simmer for about 40 to 45 minutes.
Popular in Indian cooking, basmati rice is available as a white or whole grain variety. Use about one cup of rice to two cups of boiling water and simmer for 20 to 45 minutes. The whole grain variety will take longer to cook than white basmati rice.
Sushi rice is a favorite in Japanese cuisine and often used in sushi dishes. Add the rice to an equal amount of boiling water and reduce heat to low. Allow it to set for 15 to 20 minutes, until the rice is tender.
Jasmine rice has a mild flavor and takes on the flavors of other ingredients in the dish. Cook the same as sushi rice, but with more boiling water - approximately 1¾ parts water to one part rice. Cover and simmer on a low heat for 15 to 20 minutes.
A rice native to North American, simmer wild rice on low heat for 40 to 45 minutes. Use one cup of rice to 1½ cups of boiling water.
An alternative to basmati rice, texmati is a popular ingredient of many Tex-Mex dishes such as chili con carne. Use one cup of rice to 1½ cups of boiling water and simmer on a low heat for 20 minutes.
Chinese fried rice is used in many popular dishes. Simply cook your rice as above and then stir-fry in a frying pan. You can add vegetables and meat or eggs to make a complete dish.
Many varieties of rice can be made into delicious meals. Now that you know how to cook rice, make one of these great meals for your family or friends to enjoy.