Rice is a staple food in most Nigerian homes. It is eaten alone and in a great variety of stew, soups, side dishes, and main dishes. Most cuisines of the world are cooking rice in one way or another e.g boiled rice, Jollof rice, coconut rice, Banga rice, rice pudding, yoghurt rice etc. It’s the most perfect side dish for so many different meals, and soaks up sauces is the most important grain with regard to human nutrition and caloric intake, providing more than one-fifth of the calories consumed worldwide by humans. Other products in which rice is used are breakfast cereals, noodles, and such alcoholic beverages, rice water for skin and hair.
There are many varieties of this popular grain that differ in color, flavor, and nutritional value. Rice comes in several colors, shapes and sizes, but the most popular are white and brown rice. Brown rice contains lignans, plant compounds that can help protect against heart disease. Studies show that due to their antioxidant levels, whole grains like brown rice can help prevent chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes.
The different types of rice includes;
- White rice
- Brown rice
- Short grain rice
- Long grain rice
- Medium grain rice
Parboiled white rice is specially processed before milling to retain most of the nutrients, and enriched with iron and B vitamins added to it. White rice is simply brown rice milled to remove the bran and germ layers of the rice grains. Rice is cooked by boiling, or it can be ground into a flour. White rice is incorporated into a main dish, served as a side, or transformed into a snack or dessert, rice can do it all while providing comfort and satiety.
Brown rice is the best choice in terms of nutritional quality and health benefits. Brown rice is a whole grain. That means it contains all parts of the grain including the fibrous bran, the nutritious germ and the carb-rich endosperm.
Brown rice may also be higher in a toxic chemical called arsenic. Brown rice contains an antinutrient known as phytic acid, or phytate. Brown rice has more fibre and antioxidants, as well as a lot more important vitamins and minerals.
Eating brown rice instead of white may reduce weight, body mass index (BMI) and circumference of the waist and hips.
SHORT GRAIN RICE
This is the type of rice that’s easy to eat with hands or cutlery because you don’t have to pick it up piece by piece. The short grain rice is sticky, clumpy and starchy usually eaten in West Africa and Asia. It goes well for rice pudding, coconut rice, banga rice, fried rice, sushi etc. One of the most common types of short grain rice is Arborio rice. Arborio rice, a short-grain Italian white rice, is best known for being risotto’s go-to grain. Sushi rice is a short-grain white Japanese rice that’s cooked and combined with rice vinegar, sugar, and salt and then incorporated into sushi the kind of rice you can easily pick up with chopsticks.
LONG GRAIN RICE
It’s slim, with an elegant curve, and can triple in length when cooked. It’s low in starch content, when cooked, comes out light and dry nonstick to your pot or hands. The most common type of long grain rice is basmati rice. Basmati rice has a grassy aroma and is the driest of them all. The aging process is what results in the off-white to golden hue of basmati rice, the more aged being more fragrant and prized.
MEDIUM GRAIN RICE
This type of rice is shorter, fluffy, non-sticky and moist but not so starchy after it has be prepared. Medium-grain rice is about twice as long as it is wide and becomes moist and tender when cooked.
It’s also the rice that is stickier than risotto rice, with a firm texture and fluffy when just cooked. Carnaroli rice is one of the common types of medium grain rice and its higher starch content and firmer texture. These rice can be used for risotto, arancini, rice salads, table rice, fried rice, Chinese rice etc.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF EATING RICE
- Provides energy to the body.
- It lowers the risk of heart disease
- Improves colon health
- Support bones, nerves and muscles
- Cholesterol free