Also Known as
Also Known as
Chawal, bhaat, tandul, bhat, chaawal, chaval
Since ancient times, rice has been one of the most commonly used grains the world over. Throughout history, rice has been one of man's most important foods. Today, this unique grain helps sustain two-thirds of the world's population, and is deeply embedded in the cultural heritage of their societies.
Rice has a classically grass-like appearance, with a small cluster of kernels at the top of a long stalk. Rice is harvested when it turns golden, and the resulting crop is threshed to remove the hulls. Rice in its natural state with the inedible husk removed is called unpolished or brown rice. Refined white rice on the other hand has the bran and germ removed, and polished to a smooth sheen. Rice is supposed to cool the body and, in summer it is taken for both lunch and dinner. In winter, warming spices are added to the rice.
Soaked and cooked rice
Wash and soak rice for 20-30 minutes. Discard the soaking water. Add two cups of water for every cup of rice, and cook in a pressure cooker or pan. Rice can also be cooked by adding 3-4 times the water in a pan and then draining the starchy water using a colander after the rice is cooked.
Take a grain between thumb and index finger and press. If it breaks on pressing but does not leave a hard speck, then it is done. It is advisable to boil the rice just a little less than done, to keep the grain whole and separate.
Soaking the rice beforehand helps in giving a fine texture to the cooked rice and also saves on cooking time. Before soaking, rinse the rice 3-4 times in water, till the water runs clear. Then, soak it in at least twice the volume of water for 20-30 minutes. Drain the water and use as required.
How to Select
• Rice is available pre-packaged as well as in bulk containers.
• If purchasing rice in a packaged container, check to see if there is a "use-by" date on the package since rice, owing to its natural oils, has the potential to become rancid if kept too long.
• Just as with any other food that you may purchase in the bulk section, make sure that the bins containing the rice are covered and that the store has a good product turnover so as to ensure its maximal freshness.
• Whether purchasing rice in bulk or in a packaged container, make sure that there is no evidence of moisture.
• Rice is a versatile grain and can be used to prepare numerous dishes to cater to your taste - sweet or savoury, spicy or bland.
• It can be used to make the famous Khichri, a hot pot dish in which rice, lentils, spices and seasonings are thrown into a pot or pressure cooker and cooked until all individual ingredients are blended well together.
• It can be used to make Pulao and other flavoured rice such as Coconut Rice or Lemon Rice. All over the world, it is used to make delectable preparations like Risotto, Nasi Goreng, Fried Rice, Biryani etc.
• Rice can be used to make rice flour, which is gluten free and can be eaten by people who are on a gluten-free diet.
• Rice in combination with some lentils is used to make batters for south Indian dishes like idlis, dosas, uttapam.
• Rice is also used for making desserts like rice pudding, Kheer, Meethe Chawal.
• What is more, rice is great just plain with a tangy accompaniment!
How to Store
• Rice keeps well, but it is better fresh than old, so don't buy so much at once that you have it sitting around for months or even years.
• In all cases, keep it dry.
• Since rice still features an oil-rich germ, it is more susceptible to becoming rancid.
• White rice can be stored indefinitely in an airtight container in a cool, dry location.
• Cooked rice should be stored in the refrigerator and can be used for up to 3 or 4 days.
• Rice is a great source of complex carbohydrates, which is an important source of energy for our body. The carbohydrates are broken down to glucose, most of which is used as energy for exercise and as essential fuel for the brain.
• Complex carbohydrates are digested slowly, allowing the body to utilize the energy released over a longer period which is nutritionally efficient.
• A good source of vitamins and minerals such as thiamine, niacin, iron, riboflavin, vitamin D, calcium.
• It has no gluten, so good for those with gluten sensitivity.
• Rice also contains resistant starch, which is the starch that reaches the bowel undigested. This encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria, keeping the bowel healthy.
• It is a fair source of protein containing all eight amino acids.
• Rice is wonderful in treating diarrhoea in children.