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Rice: Varieties, Consumption in India and Tips for Cooking Plain Rice

Rice is taking an integral part in most of the Indian households. Around 4000 rice varieties are grown in India. Cooking of plain rice varies from place to place and region to region. It is always useful to learn the art of cooking plain rice Rising consumption of Rice Rice is taking an integral part in most of the Indian households. Around 87.37 million tones of rice are produced in 44.88 million hectares of land in India. The rice consumption is high in India and every year there is an upward trend. The world rice consumption has also increased considerably. Rice Varieties

It is learned that there are around 4000 rice varieties grown in India. How to distinguish the rice varieties? One way of distinguishing rice is by the size of the grain. The most distinct varieties are two: long grained rice and medium grained rice. Indian Basmati is one such long grained rice variety. The rice has long and slender grains, super fine texture and aromatic fragrance. The rice is recognized as one of the good quality rice and hence it is being exported and available (in

leading Indian grocery stores) at most of the cosmopolitan cities.

Tips for Cooking of Plain Rice 1) Cooking of plain rice varies from house to house; place to place and region to region. You may cook the rice in a traditional way using the pot and cook it using your stove. The process of cooking involves boiling and or steaming. In the cooking process the rice absorbs water. Therefore the quantity of water added for cooking the rice makes variations. 2) You can add as exactly the quantity of water as your rice absorbs. At the end of cooking the entire water gets absorbed. You may call this as ‘absorption method.’ Another method is called ‘rapid boiling’ method. In this method you are adding extra quantity of water than the quantity of rice to be cooked. The rice is added to the boiling water and once cooked the extra water drained through the sieve. 3) The long grained rice like basmati rice needs 1 ½ cups of water for each cup of rice. The short grain rice on the other hand needs about two cups of water for each cup of rice. 4) Take care to add exactly the required quantity of water. Some varieties may require more water and some other may need less. The newly harvested rice needs less water than the rice which is old. The quantity of water and the rice variety determines the under cooking or over cooking. Under cooking keeps rice raw and over cooking will make it soft and sticky. 5) Since stickiness is not favored in Indian recipes like kichidi, kheer, payasam, pongal, porridge, sweet pongal etc., medium grained sticky rice will be sufficient. 6) People in northern India adds little oil or ghee along with water before cooking to remove stickiness in rice. Some other will fry the rice with oil and then cook the rice and thus the stickiness is much removed. 7) You may also soak the rice (Basmati rice variety requires this process) before your

cooking. Since you have soaked the rice your cooking time is reduced considerably and there is reduced cooking time and fuel consumption. You will not find stickiness in the cooked rice. In Basmati variety the soaking process results with cooked rice showing improved texture, expansion of grain size and loss of stickiness. 8) In South Indian states people use two types of rice: One is raw rice and the other one is parboiled rice. In rice mills the huge quantity of paddy is parboiled or treated in a steaming process before de-husking. The de-husked rice may appear soft and brown (sometimes whitish brown) in color. The de-husking is also achieved by hand pounding paddy. This process will saves the nutrients from the outer husk. If the paddy is not treated with parboiling process then you will get raw rice. The raw rice will be slightly whitish and hard. 9) You can also use a pressure cooker or a rice cooker to cook your rice. Pressure cookers will save fuel and reduce your cooking time and there is no loss of texture. The hardware is available in different sizes ranging from three liters to 12 liters. You have to place the ingredients to be cooked in different vessels and close the lid and place the ‘cooker weight’ on top of the lid. Once the pressure builds the cooker sounds whistle and lets off some amount of steam. Wait for two whistles. Depending on the rice you need to switch off the stove now. If you feel the requirement of another whistle wait for the third whistle and switch off. Reference Sources: 1) List of rice varieties 2) Products Rice 3) Rice 4) Rice Consumption 5) ce0802_01.htm 6) Steamed Rice – Plain Rice