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 rice typeRice Varieties Characteristics Basmati Patna Himalayan-Red

There are over two thousand varieties of rice grown world-wide.

We will discuss limited varieties used in United States and India/Pakistan regions. The rice is characterized by the size of grain, the color of the bran (skin of the grain), type of starch and aroma.

Popular rice in India include long-grain Basmati, Long and Medium grain Patna Rice, and short-grain Masoori

 Size of grain

1. Long grain rice: The grain is about 3 to 5 times longer than it's width. (6mm length, The ratio of length to width:3.0 to 1 and more)
2. Medium grain rice: The grain is about 2 to 3 times longer than width.(5 mm length,The ratio of length to width:2.0 to 2.9 to 1)
3. Short grain rice: The grain is just slightly longer than its width. (4 mm long,The ratio of length to width:1.9 to 1 and less)

 Color of grain

1. Brown Rice: The husk is removed keeping the bran layer and the endosperm.
2. White rice: The rice is polished removing the bran layer resulting in a loss of many minerals and fiber.
3. Red Rice: This has a red bran covering the endosperm instead of brown bran layer for brown rice. The endosperm is translucent with red to pink color.
4. Black Rice: This has a black bran covering the endosperm. The endosperm is translucent with gray to almost black.



There are two types of starch: Amylose, and Amylopectin. Longer grain rice has 22 percent Amylose and 78 Amylopectin while medium/short grain rice has 18 percent Amylose and 82 percent Amylopectin. Relatively higher the Amylopectin, stickier is the texture. Note corn starch is 100% Amylose. By cooking, this starch structure becomes gelatinized so that human body can digest it. The body converts the gelatinized starch into simple sugar.

Rice oil

Rice bran is about 20 % oil. This causes grain to turn rancid.

Rice Protein

The protein in Rice grain ranges between 5 and 10 percent. In general, lower the protein, better is the taste and texture.

Rice Aging

Rice gets harder with age as if the percentage of Amylose is increasing, but in reality it is not. The rice gets firmer and less sticky. Most of the rice loses its sticky-ness and aroma with age. The exception is Basmati. Basmati rice gets better with age.



Parboiled Rice

This method was originally used in South India to enhance the nutritional value of the grain. It involves four steps: soaking, cooking, drying and then milling. The rough rice is soaked in plain water till its saturated for a few hours. Excess water is drained off and then paddy is cooked at 212º F for time enough to change starch structure to be gelatinized. Now the paddy is sun-dried. Dried paddy then milled. The husk is removed and then the grain may be polished. The parboiled rice gives a fluffy separate gain on cooking.
The actual process varies from variety to variety as well as the millers.