Rice is a cereal grain that is consumed in almost all countries. The processed seeds need to be boiled or steamed before consuming. The seeds of the rice plant are first milled and the rice that is obtained is called brown rice. Many people prefer brown rice because the next step involved is to remove the rest of the bran and what is obtained is white rice, which is said to have lower nutrient content.
It is broadly of three kinds, long, short and medium grain rice. Rice is a good source of protein. Long rice grains have long and slender kernels. Cooked long grains are light, separate and fluffy. Medium grain kernel is shorter and wider than the long kernel. Medium grains are moist and tender upon cooking. Short kernels are almost round in shape. They are soft and cling together after cooking.
Rice is the most commonly consumed food grains. Kichidi, a north Indian dish made from rice, spices and seasonings is very popular. The medium sized grain is used for sweet dishes like risotto and arros negre. Long-grain rice is very commonly used in Thai cuisine. For sushi, a sticky and medium sized variety is preferred. The shot grain rice is commonly used for rice pudding. Rice can be prepared by boiling and steaming but only after absorbing in water. Rice combined with lentils is used to prepare south Indian batters like idlies, dosas and uthappam.
1. Brown rice is a good source of vitamins such as Vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin) vitamin B3 (niacine), iron, along with magnesium and dietary fiber. In white rice, many of these nutrients are polished away. In the US, these vitamins and minerals are added back to the rice, and sold as enriched rice. Rice is a great source of complex carbohydrates that is good for energy production in the body.
2. It contains amino acids that are important for building of muscle tissues. It also helps maintain healthy skin, hair, eyesight, and nourish the heart, lungs, tendons and ligaments, brain, nervous system and glands.
3. Rice is low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium and hence makes a perfect food for those with high blood pressure and requiring a low-sodium diet.
4. The calcium in rice (especially brown rice) helps lower blood pressure.
5. White rice is digested quickly and because of the low fiber content, they are soothing to the digestive system.
6. Rice powder is sometimes used externally as a soothing powder in cases of skin inflammation such as small-pox, measles, prickly heat and burns.
Did you know?
Asia produces and consumes 90 percent of world’s rice.
Thailand is the first exporter of rice.