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Types of rice

Confused about all the different types of rice available? This will help you choose the right rice for your needs.

Medium or short-grain: Plumps up once cooked and the grains tend to stick together.

Long-grain: The grains remain separate and are firmer and fluffier.

Arborio: A medium-grain rice from Italy; it is traditionally used to make risotto.

Basmati: Aromatic long-grain rice grown in India and Pakistan.

Brown: Brown rice is not milled so it retains the bran and therefore the fibre, B vitamins and minerals that are lost in milling. As it retains the oil contained in the bran, brown rice can go rancid if not stored in a cool dark place. The nutritionist's favourite, brown rice has a nutty texture.

Calrose: A medium-grain rice commonly grown in Australia.

Glutinous: Don't be fooled into thinking this has anything to do with gluten (no rice contains gluten). The term is used to indicate that it is gluey or sticky. Starch is made up of amylose and amylopectin and in sticky rice the amylopectin content is very high. Glutinous rice is used in Asian cuisine, in sweet and savoury dishes.

Jasmine: An aromatic long-grain rice also known as Thai rice.

Parboiled: Before the inedible husk is removed this rice is steamed. During this process the water-soluble B vitamins and a little of the oil from the bran and germ are absorbed into the grain so, if using white rice, it retains more nutrients than normal white rice (but less than brown). Parboiled rice is then dried and white rice is milled to remove the bran layer. Being pre- cooked, it is prepared very quickly and does not stick together. The flavour can be a little different than regular rice, but it is ultra-convenient.

White: Milled to remove the bran layers. This enables longer storage of the rice as oils are removed. Unfortunately valuable nutrients are also lost. White rice is usually polished after milling, producing a brighter appearance.

Wild: Not rice at all, but the seed of a grass grown in water in Canada and the US. Never milled, it looks like a dark long-grain rice and has a 'grainy' flavour stronger than brown rice. More expensive than ordinary rice, it is sometimes mixed with other rice to add interest and flavour.