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Rice and Grains

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Rice and Grains: It’s Older Than Wine, So You Know It’s Good

Rice and grains form the backbone of countless meals from around the world, and they offer a breadth of flavors, textures, and nutritional benefits. With over 40,000 types of cultivated rice coming from two primary rice plants – indica (mostly long grain) and japonica (short and medium grain) – we are here to help you find the right varieties for your pantry.

In this section, we invite you to learn more about the vast range of rice and grains that have sustained civilizations for centuries. From aromatic rice to ancient grains, Mama Fang’s is here to help you find the perfect rice for you.

Rice and Grain Types

When choosing the right rice for your meal, you want to ask yourself:

  1. What sized grain am I looking for? Short-, medium-, or long-grain? The grain size will affect the texture of the rice once cooked. Long-grain rice typically becomes fluffy when cooked and the grains are easy to separate. Medium-grain rice will usually be quite moist, and short-grain rice tends to clump together once cooked. These are generalizations, but each rice variety has its own unique texture and flavor that distinguishes it from other types even if they are the same size.
  2. What color of rice are you looking for? Rice comes in a variety of colors, including white, red, black, purple, and more. The color is determined by different chemical properties of the rice – for example, black rice is a unique kind of long-grain rice that contains anthocyanins, the same antioxidant that gives blueberries and blackberries their color.
  3. Are you looking for whole-grain rice? This is also called brown rice and, contrary to the name, any kind of rice (of any color) can come in the form of brown rice because it is the same grain except the outer hull is still intact, making it a whole grain. The hull contains bran and germ which give brown rice a chewier texture and a slightly nutty flavor.

Now that we’ve reviewed the factors that can make some rice taste different from others, let’s take a closer look at some specific types.

  • Aromatic Rice: These grains contain a naturally occuring compound which makes these types of rice particularly fragrant in taste and smell. This group includes Basmati and Jasmine rice – both long grain – which are perfect for a biryani, fried rice, or rice pilaf.
  • Glutinous Rice: Also called sticky rice or sweet rice, glutinous rice is grown predominantly in Southeast Asia and comes from a different plant than the traditional short- and long-grain varieties. Contrary to what you might assume based on the name, this rice does not contain gluten but is instead named for its texture. Sticky rice is commonly used in desserts.
  • Sushi Rice: While many people believe that sticky rice (above) and sushi rice are the same thing, they are actually from separate families of rice so they differ greatly in taste and, as such, the dishes they are used in. Sushi rice is a specific kind of short grain rice that is prepared with vinegar and other ingredients to add taste. Calrose is a specific kind of medium-grain rice that is native to California, and because of its sticky texture when cooked, it is a great option when making sushi.
  • Ancient Grains: Nowadays, many of us are familiar with these “superfoods” through hip restaurants or healthy bowls. These whole grains, like farro, quinoa, and amaranth, have been cultivated by humans for thousands of years, and they provide a wealth of protein and fiber, as well as other macronutrients, in each bite. Each grain has its own unique flavor and history, and they are a great way to spice up your dinner table.

Visit us soon – we’re passionate about sharing the diverse and nutritious world of rice and grains with you.

Have a favorite rice or grain recipe? We’d love to hear it!

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