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Also Known as
Chawal, Bhaat, Tandul, bhat, chaawal, chaval
Since ancient times, rice has been the most commonly used food grain for a majority of the people of the world. 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. It is life for thousands of millions of people. It 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, colder Northern India warming spices are added to the rice.
Soaked and cooked rice
The rice needs to be soaked for 20-30 minutes. After soaking when the rice needs to be cooked, the soaking water is discarded and twice the amount of water by volume is added to the rice and it can be cooked in a pressure cooker or in a pan. Always boil the rice just a little less than done, to keep the grain whole and separate. Rice can also be cooked by adding in 3-4 times the water in a pan and once the rice is cooked, drain all the excess starch water and cool in a large plate, where the same is called for in the recipe. 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.
How to Select
Soaking the rice beforehand helps in giving a fine texture to the cooked rice and also saves on cooking time. Prior to cooking rice it has to be soaked. Rice should be immersed in room temperature water and rinsed in water 3 to 4 times till the water becomes clear. Then the rice should be soaked in at least twice the amount of water for 20-30 minutes. Drain the water and use as required.
Rice is available prepackaged 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. Culinary Uses
• Rice can be used to make the dish as spicy or as bland as suits your palate, without compensating on taste. Both have their individual flavours and are equally good.
• Rice can be used to make Khichri, a hot pot dish. Rice, lentils, spices and seasonings are thrown into a pot or pressure cooker and cooked until all individual ingredients are blended well together. Lemon Rice makes a delicious main meal or center meal. Rice can be used to make dishes from all over the world 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 South Indian batters for idlis, dosas, uttapam.
• Rice is also used for making desserts like rice pudding, kheer, meethe chawal.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.Health Benefits
" Rice is a great source of complex carbohydrates, which is an important source of the fuel our bodies need.
" Good energy source: Carbohydrates are broken down to glucose, most of which is used as energy for exercise and as essential fuel for the brain.
" A good source of vitamins and minerals such as thiamine, niacin, iron, riboflavin, vitamin D, calcium.
" Low sugar.
" No gluten: Rice is gluten free. All rice is gluten free, making rice the essential choice for people with gluten free dietary requirements.
" No additives and preservatives: Rice contains no additives or preservatives, making it an excellent inclusion in a healthy and balanced diet.
" Contains resistant starch: 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.
" Rice is a low-sodium food for those with hypertension.
" It is a fair source of protein containing all eight amino acids.
" Rice is an extremely healthy food for a number of reasons. Rice is a complex carbohydrate, which means that it contains starch and fiber.
" Complex carbohydrates are digested slowly, allowing the body to utilize the energy released over a longer period which is nutritionally efficient.
" Rice is completely non-allergenic. It is the grain for people with digestive problems. Rice is the perfect food for those with gluten intolerance as no rice contains gluten. Its protein is readily used by the body
" Rice is wonderful in treating diarrhoea n children.
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