Relish the varied flavours of rice

Relish the varied flavours of rice

Cereal magic

Relish the varied flavours of rice

Be it Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Italian or Mexican cuisine, there is one thing common in all of these – Rice. The only difference being in quality, texture and taste, which when cooked with different ingredients or served with curry give it a distinct flavour. The varieties are unlimited and so are the dishes made from rice.

“There are different kinds and variety of rice like long grain, medium grain, brown rice and short grain rice. Long grain is more light and fluffy than medium grain brown rice, whereas medium grain brown rice is moist and tender when cooked and short grain rice is short. Plump rice is the softest among the three and cling together,” says Chef Sushmit Daniels, Pintxo Tapas Restaurant, Gurgaon.

The most popular one remains the long grain basmati rice which is favoured for its aromatic quality in Biryanis. “Besides, there is also black rice used in the North East of India as well as in Japanese cuisine,” says Sanjay Yadav, executive chef, Zerzura. “Arborio rice is popular with the Italians, whereas red rice is popular in Bhutanese cuisine.”

Daniels mentions about purple Thai rice which was used traditionally in desserts only but is now also used to prepare savoury dishes.

“Coming to Spanish cuisine, Bomba rice is widely used. Bomba differs from Italian Arborio rice, which is bred to be creamy, and Asian rice, which is meant to be sticky. Bomba absorbs three times its volume in broth (rather than the normal two), yet the grains remain distinct,” 
he informs.

However, Daniels prefers to use Baldo rice, which is mainly used in Turkish cuisine. “Baldo is a favourite of professional chefs because it cooks faster than the other varieties. Its plump, crystalline grains keep their shape at high cooking temperatures and are suitable for any kind of rice recipe,” he says. Considering the variety of rice, there are typical cooking methods too.
“In Chelow method, rice is carefully prepared through soaking and parboiling, water is drained and the rice is steamed. This method results in exceptionally fluffy rice with the grains separated and not sticky,” says Yadav.

 “In Polow, rice is cooked exactly the same as Chelow, with the exception that after draining the rice, other ingredients are layered with the rice, and they are then steamed together. In Kateh, rice is boiled until the water is absorbed. This is the traditional dish of Northern Iran. While in Damy method rice is cooked almost the same as Kateh, except that the heat is reduced just before boiling and a towel is placed between the lid and the pot to prevent steam from escaping,” he says.

In case if rice is overcooked, Yadav suggests to dump the rice. “However if the rice is over moist we could gently turn it over and allow the moisture to be evaporated over low heat. The rice should be handled as little as possible to prevent the grains from breaking,” he says.