TMKW: The Rice Directory

Image courtesy of Yamanaka Tamaki

Ever wish you had a Yellow Pages book for cooking rice? I have. I love buying rice in the bulk food section. But that means it never comes with cooking instructions. So every time I reach for my favorite bag of Jasmine rice, I also head to the computer and Google cooking instructions. Its a bother.

So heres the solution! I recommend taping this Rice Directory on the inside of your cupboard door, and you will never need to consult Google again.

The Basics

All rice is milled to remove certain parts of the grain. The hull (outer layer) provides protection for the rice, but is inedible and always removed. The bran (second layer), another vitamin-rich layer that provides protection, and the germ (provides nourishment for the grain) are sometimes removed to increase shelf-life. Once the hull, bran, and germ are removed, all that remains is the endosperm, the energy-rich center of the rice grain.

The Rice

All cooking times and liquid ratios are for stovetop cooking.

White rice is milled to remove the hull, bran and germ. It has little flavor, cooks in 15-20 minutes and has a tender texture. It is available in long, medium and short-grain. It can last for several years before going rancid if stored in an air-tight container in the pantry. Use 1 cup rice to 2 cups liquid for long-grain, 1 1/2 cups liquid for medium-grain and 1 1/4 cups liquid for short-grain.

It is often labeled as:

Parboiled - Partially cooked during the milling process. Use 1 cup rice to 2 1/4 cups liquid.

Enriched - Coated in vitamins and minerals to replace the nutrients lost during milling. Dont rinse enriched rice, or you will wash off the added nutrients.

Instant - Pre-cooked and dehydrated. Cooks in 5-10 minutes. Use 1 cup rice to 1 cup liquid.

Brown rice is the same variety as white rice, but with the bran and germ intact. It is also available in long, medium, and short-grain. This gives it a nutty flavor and slightly chewy texture. Cook for 40 minutes. Brown rice will go rancid after 6 months, so keep it in the freezer for long term-storage. Use 1 cup rice to 2 1/4 cups liquid.

Basmati rice is primarily grown in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. It is a very long-grain, tender rice that does not stick together if its rinsed before cooking. Its name means fragrant one in Sanskrit. It takes 20 minutes to cook, and is a delicious accompaniment to stir-fry and curry. Store in air-tight containers in the pantry for several years. Use 1 cup rice to 1 3/4 cups liquid.

Black rice was cultivated for the sole enjoyment of the emperor and royal court. It is available as long-grain from Thailand and short-grain from China. It has a nutty flavor, floral smell, and is most often used in dessert dishes. It turns purple when cooked. Black rice takes 60 minutes to cook, but soaking it beforehand can cut down on cook time. Because black rice retains its bran and germ it spoils quickly and should be stored in the refrigerator. Use 1 cup rice to 2 cups liquid.

Red rice has the hull removed, but retains its bran and germ. This gives it an earthy flavor and slightly chewy texture. To get a softer texture, soak it for 30 minutes before cooking. It cooks for 15-20 minutes. Store in the freezer for long-term storage, and up to 6 months in the pantry. Use 1 cup rice to 2 cups liquid.

It has two distinct varieties:

Bhutanese: a medium-grain red rice from Bhutan (a little country bordering China and India).

Cargo: a long-grain red rice grown in Thailand

Jasmine rice comes from Thailand and has a tender texture, nutty taste and floral smell. Its available in white and brown. Jasmine takes 20 minutes to cook and sticks together when cooked. Its a great accompaniment to stir-fry. White Jasmine rice will store for years in the pantry. Brown Jasmine should be stored in the freezer long-term, and no more than 6 months in the pantry. Use 1 cup rice to 1 1\2 cups liquid.

Arborio rice is primarily used to make risotto. It is a short-grain rice with a tender exterior and chewy inside. It becomes creamy when cooked. Store for several years in the pantry. Use 1 cup rice to 1 1/2 cups liquid. For risotto, follow your recipe amounts.

Wild rice is primarily grown in Canada, Minnesota, and California. Its a brown/black long-grain rice with a chewy texture and nutty flavor. Wild rice takes 45-50 minutes to cook. Store it in the freezer for long-term storage. Use 1 cup rice to 3 cups liquid.

Broccoli Wild Rice Casserole

Adapted from a recipe by Ree Drummond

Serves: 6

1 cup wild rice

4 cups beef or chicken broth

1 large or 2 small heads broccoli, cut into florets

2 1/2 cups sliced or chopped mushrooms

1/4 cup butter or coconut oil

1 small onion, diced

1 carrot, diced

1 stalk celery, diced

1-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbs flour

1/4 cup heavy cream or yogurt

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 cup breadcrumbs or crushed crackers

Bring the wild rice and 2 1/2 cups of the broth to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Cook 35 to 40 minutes.

While the rice is cooking blanch the broccoli in a pot of boiling water for 1-2 minutes. It should be bright green and still slightly crisp. Drain and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking. When cool remove from the bath.

Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large sauce pan. When its hot, saut the onions, garlic and mushrooms for a few minutes. Add the carrots and celery and saut for a few more minutes until tender. Add the salt and pepper.

Sprinkle the flour over the veggies, stirring until its mixed in. Continue to cook and stir for 1 minute. Mix in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of broth and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the heavy cream and cook only until the sauce thickens.

Layer half the cooked rice to the bottom of an 8x8 baking dish (1-2 quarts), followed by half the broccoli. Continue with the remaining rice and broccoli, spooning sauce over each layer.

Melt the remaining 1 tablespoons of butter and mix it with the bread crumbs. Top the casserole with the breadcrumbs and cover with foil. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake 15 minutes more.