A Cook's Guide To Rice
Having been grown and consumed for centuries upon centuries, for many people, rice is a staple part of any diet. Rice is fantastic because it can be used in savory dishes, either as a main, or as an accompaniment, or it can even be used for a dessert (rice pudding anyone?) When we think of rice however, do we actually know just how many variants of rice there actually are? Many traditional dishes in continents all over the globe, rely heavily on rice, but not just any rice will do. Take risotto for example, a good risotto has to be made with the correct type of rice, as does paella, as does a good curry. Three very popular, slightly similar, yet still highly unique variations of rice we’ll be looking at today are: Bomba rice, Jasmine rice, and Risotto rice. If you wish to learn more about these wonderful, fragrant, aromatic types of rice, take a look at the following, as we compare the three.
Bomba rice – First off, we’ll get things up and running and will begin by looking at perhaps the lesser-known of the three rice variants on our list today: Bomba rice. Bomba rice is a traditional Spanish rice that is used primarily in Paella. Bomba is a short grain rice with amazing absorption abilities. Most variants can absorb at least twice their weight in liquid, though some variants can actually absorb three times their weight in liquid, and can still hold their structure and not turn to mush. For flavor rich dishes such as Paella, this is perfect because the rice can absorb more of the stock it is being cooked in, creating a dish that is out of this world. So, in paella, you basically cook it in a 3:1 ratio, with 3 cups of stock being used for every 1 cup of Bomba rice being utilized.
Risotto rice – Next up we have Risotto rice. There are actually a number of different variants of Risotto rice, though 9 times out of 10, when people talk about risotto rice, they are talking about Arborio rice. This rice is of Italian origin, it is creamy, it is pale, and it has a very smooth texture, with very short grains, though different regions will produce grains of different lengths. Risotto rice is also very absorbent, though not quite as absorbent as Bomba. When making Risotto rice, the ratios used should be 2:1 so, 2 cups of stock for every 1 cup of rice. Risotto rice is more starchy and creamier, so it gives a thicker, creamier, mushier texture that works perfectly in Risottos. Bomba rice however, holds its texture and remains intact, which is why the two generally cannot be substituted.
Jasmine rice – Jasmine rice is a white rice that is originally from Thailand. Needless to say, Jasmine rice is used in a whole variety of different Thai dishes, though many other Eastern Asian dishes also utilize this wonderfully light and fragrant rice. Jasmine rice is a long grain rice with a very sticky and soft texture when prepared correctly, with a light floral aroma just hiding in the background. Because of this, it compliments aromatic Thai curries perfectly. Jasmine rice is traditionally steamed, or cooked using the absorption method.