When cooking rice the size of the grain is the most important thing. Due to the thousands of varieties of rice found all over the world which have differing flavors and aromas, it can be problematic to find the exact right one for your dish.
Long-grain rice usually runs four to five times long as it does wide. It is typically dry and fluffy after it is cooked. The grains do not clump. Some examples of long grain rice are Basmati (aromatic, having a rich nutty flavor; used a lot in Indian cooking), brown long-grain rice (husk removed with a nutritious bran layer, slightly chewy, mild nutty flavor), finishing off with white or polished long-grain rice (most widely used; has mild flavor). Uses for long-grain rice mainly are steamed, baked, pilaf, and a rice salad.
Short-grain rice has an almost round shape, is very starchy and tends to stick together after it has been cooked. It’s sometimes known as “sticky-rice”. Examples of short-grain rice are Arborio rice (creamy texture to dishes) and glutinous rice or sweet rice (very sticky after cooked; used in lot of Asian desserts and snacks). Short-grain rice is great for puddings, risotto, croquettes, sushi, stir-fried rice, and molded rice dishes.
Medium-grain rice has a size smaller than long-grain yet bigger than short-grain thus the name medium-grain rice. It is more tender than long grain rice and yet less moist than short grain rice. It is typically fluffy and separate when served hot and then starts to clump as it cools.
To Steam Rice: measure the water and salt amounts suggested for the type of rice you are cooking. This is usually found on the box or bag. Mix the salt and water together and pour it into a saucepan and then bring the combination to a boil. Add the rice to the boiling salted water and stir.
Bring the water to a boil again then cover the saucepan, steaming the rice, on a very low heat until the rice has engrossed all the salted water and is tender. This normally takes 15 to 18 minutes for white rice and 35 to 40 minutes for brown rice. Remove the pan from the heat and let set for about 5 minutes. Prior to rationing the rice to your troops fluff it with a fork. Troops love fluffy rice.
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