Last Updated : Feb 28,2024

What is rice, chawal? glossary | benefits | uses | recipes with rice |
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Also Known as

Chawal, bhaat, tandul, bhat, chaawal, chaval, Raw Rice

What is Rice, Chawal?

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.
Soaked rice
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, Chawal

• 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.

9 Uses of Rice, Chawal

1. Rice is a very versatile grain and can be used to prepare numerous dishes to cater to your taste - sweet or savoury, spicy or bland.

2. It can be used to make the famous Khichdi, 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.

3. Rice is used in a lot of dishes all over India. It can be used to make Pulao, Biryanis, Curd Rice and other flavoured rice such as Coconut Rice or Lemon Rice. These dishes are a part of the daily staple food of almost all Indians.

4. Not only in India, rice is a grain that is used all over the world. Most of the South Asian countries use rice in their daily cooking. It is used to make delectable preparations like Nasi Goreng (Indonesian rice), Fried Rice and Sushi etc. Variants of rice are also popularly used in the Middle east to make pilafs and in Europe to make Risotto.

5. 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 flour in turn is used to make fabulous dishes like Panki and Khichu. It is also used to provide crispiness to deep fried snack items.

6. Raw rice in combination with some urad dal is used to make batters for south Indian dishes like idlis, Dosas, uttapam.

7. Kheer is a famous Indian sweet dish made with rice and milk, that has its variations in all parts of India, the south has Paal Payassam and the east has Payesh. Rice is also used for making other types desserts like rice pudding and Meethe Chawal.

8. Steaming hot cooked Rice is the perfect accompaniment to Dals and curries.

9. Cooked and leftover rice can be transformed into quick and easy snacks like Rice balls and Pancakes.

How to Store Rice, Chawal?

• 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 of Rice, Chawal

Here are the pros for rice. Rice is a great source of complex carbohydrates, which is an important source of energy for our body. Moreover it is gluten free. Rice is low in fibre and therefore a good option for people suffering from diarrhoea. But rice is a good source of protein and B vitamins. 

What's not good in rice. Foods like rice are high in Glycemic index are not suitable for weight loss, heart patients,  diabetics as they affect the blood sugar control levels. However if rice is combined with high protein or high fibre foods, the glycemic load can be balanced. Thus its combo is a better choice as we have done in the recipe of panch dhan khichdi and toovar dal khichdiSee details of is white rice and parboiled rice good for you?

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