A Guide to Different Types of Rice

You might be familiar with white and brown rice, and perhaps even a few others, but did you know there are thousands of types of rice found around all corners of the world? From basmati, wild, long-grain, and short-grain rice, there are countless families of rice that you can explore to broaden your culinary horizons. Today, we’ll be looking at the main families of rice that you should know about, as well as the types of rice you can cook in our Zojirushi rice cookers. So, are you ready to become a rice expert? Then, let’s get to it!

Rice Types
Though rice comes in many unique shapes, colors, and flavors, there are two main families of rice that you should familiarize yourself with: Indica and Japonica. Indica is long-grained and aromatic rice that grows near the equator, so you’ll see them in countries like India, Indonesia, Southern China, and Africa. Japonica rice is short to medium-grained, which, unlike Indica, has little to no aromas. They also tend to stick together, whereas Indica grains will remain separated. You can find this type of rice in East Asia, like Japan, China, Korea, and Vietnam. Fun fact: Indica is more widely consumed than Japonica!

Here are some of the most popular rice varieties that we recommend you try if you haven’t already:

  1. Arborio Rice: This short to medium-grain rice from Italy has a high starch content and becomes firm yet creamy when cooked. They are often used for risottos and can be easily identified by their short and round grains.
  2. Basmati Rice: this rice is known for its pandan leaf-like aromatics and soft and fluffy texture.
  3. Black Rice: Commonly referred to as “forbidden rice,” this purple to black-hued rice boasts a wide range of health benefits and antioxidants. It has a mild nutty flavor and is harder to grow than other rice varieties.
  4. GABA rice: The brown rice version of sushi rice is “GABA,” which means that the rice has been germinated to increase its nutritional value. Look for this labeling on your rice if you are looking for this particular type of rice. Or if your Zojirushi rice cooker has the GABA brown rice setting you can use that instead of buying it!
  5. Jasmine Rice:this rice is widely consumed in Thailand and is beautifully aromatic. It is slightly shorter and plumper than Basmati.
  6. Sticky/Glutinous Rice: Also known as “sticky rice,” sweet rice has a sweeter flavor because of its higher starch content. As the name suggests, it also becomes very sticky when cooked. You cannot cook sweet rice like regular white rice and must use less water and controlled temperatures to get it to its ideal texture.
  7. Sushi rice: polished short to medium-grain Japanese rice that is highly desired for its stickiness and fluffiness. It is almost always consumed as a white rice variety.
  8. Wild Rice: Wild rice is long-grain rice native to North America and is almost always brown or black in color. It is high in nutritional value and has a distinctly earthy and smoky flavor when cooked.

How to Cook Rice in Your Zojirushi Rice Cooker

If you read this month’s Product of the Month blog, you’ll see that the Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer NS-TSC10A/18A can cook up to five different rice categories (white/sushi, mixed, quick, long grain white, and brown). Now that you understand the difference between Indica and Japonica rice, can you guess why these different types of rice cooking settings matter? Here are some Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer NS-TSC10A/18A settings, explained:

  • Mixed – though this setting doesn’t specify a type of rice, it is useful for cooking Takikomi-Gohan, a popular menu item in Japan. These “mixed rice” one-pot meals are made by adding seasonal ingredients and rice into the rice cooker and pressing start.
  • Long grain white – this rice setting will make sure that your long grain white rice is always loose and fluffy. You can also add a few seasonings to level it up like this “Buttered Lobster Rice” recipe.
  • Brown rice – we tested tons and tons of brown rice to carefully fine tune the cooking flow for this setting to ensure that the brown rice is always perfectly cooked. Here are some great and easy recipes that you’ll want to try with your brown rice.

To learn more about how to cook different types of rice in your Zojirushi rice cooker, take a look at our “Know Your Rice” guide. You can also find tips and tricks to cook perfect rice by visiting our “About Rice” page.
Do you learn anything about rice varieties today? Is there a new type of rice you’re looking forward to trying? Let us know on social media by tagging your photos on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZoFan

What is Rice Really?: Short-Grain Rice

riceplant

We’re back this month with our second blog about rice and the deep relationship we, as a human race, have with this amazing grain. Rice is grown all over the world, existing in many shapes, colors, sizes and flavors.

As we wrote last month, the rice plant is a type of grass, which produces fruit that ripens into grains of rice. When ready, the plants are harvested, dried and threshed, which results in unrefined rice grains that are separated from the plant stems and leaves. The unrefined grains go on to be cleaned, polished and packaged before they are used to create the many dishes that human societies all over the world relies on for nutrition and sustenance.

During the processing phase, rice grains are generally grouped by their origins, and then by size (short, medium or long grain), by the color of the refined grain (white, purple, red or black) and by its texture (loose or sticky). The initial de-husking removes the outer hull surrounding the rice grain, exposing the bran. The bran is either left on the rice—resulting in brown rice if the inner grain is white—or the bran is removed, which leaves the inner grain exposed for polishing, resulting in white rice. Colored rice varieties, like red and black, can be eaten with or without their bran covering.

Short grain white rice

Short grain white rice

Short-grain rice is the most common type used in Japanese cuisine, giving it the broad classification Japonica. (By contrast, long grain rice is categorized as Indica.) These grains are almost round in appearance, and typically less than 5mm long and 2.5 mm wide. These varieties require less water to cook and generally result in starchy or sticky rice. The short grain rice used in Japanese cooking is called uruchi mai, and while there are hundreds of varieties available, popular ones include koshihikari, hitomebore, akitakomachi and sasanishiki. These rice varieties have sweet, nutty flavors, ranging from sticky to loose and plump in texture, and are used to make sushi rice and served as an accompaniment to a meal. Mochi gome, also known as glutinous or sweet rice, is another type of extra-sticky, opaque, short-grain Japanese rice that is used to make mochi, a sweet delicacy with a chewy texture. All of these short grain rice varieties have been produced for decades (if not hundreds of years!) and grace the table of Japanese people across the globe.

Stay tuned for next month’s post about medium-grain rice and check out some of our favorite rice recipes online… especially this one for mochi!