Aromatic rice varieties include Indian basmati and Thai jasmine rice. Both are long-grain rice and are known for their characteristic aroma that develops during cooking. While basmati rice is a fluffy long- grain rice, jasmine rice is slightly sticky, making it the perfect rice to eat with chopsticks.
General information about rice:
From Wikipedia: “Rice is the seed of the grass species Oryza sativa (Asian rice) or Oryza glaberrima (African rice). As a cereal grain, it is the most widely consumed staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in Asia. It is the agricultural commodity with the third-highest worldwide production (rice, 741.5 million tons in 2014), after sugarcane (1.9 billion tons) and maize (1.0 billion tons).
Since sizable portions of sugarcane and maize crops are used for purposes other than human consumption, rice is the most important grain with regard to human nutrition and caloric intake, providing more than one-fifth of the calories consumed worldwide by humans. There are many varieties of rice and culinary preferences tend to vary regionally.”
Ecotypes and cultivars:
“Rice cultivars are often classified by their grain shapes and texture. For example, Thai Jasmine rice is long-grain and relatively less sticky, as some long-grain rice contains less amylopectin than short-grain cultivars ...
Aromatic rices have definite aromas and flavors; the most noted cultivars are Thai fragrant rice, Basmati, Patna rice, Vietnamese fragrant rice, and a hybrid cultivar from America, sold under the trade name Texmati. Both Basmati and Texmati have a mild popcorn-like aroma and flavor. In Indonesia, there are also red and black cultivars.”
“A detailed analysis of nutrient content of rice suggests that the nutrition value of rice varies based on a number of factors. It depends on the strain of rice, that is between white, brown, red, and black (or purple) varieties of rice – each prevalent in different parts of the world. It also depends on nutrient quality of the soil rice is grown in, whether and how the rice is polished or processed, the manner it is enriched, and how it is prepared before consumption.
Rice is the staple food of over half the world's population. It is the predominant dietary energy source for 17 countries in Asia and the Pacific, 9 countries in North and South America and 8 countries in Africa. Rice provides 20% of the world’s dietary energy supply, while wheat supplies 19% and maize (corn) 5%.”
Preparation of rice:
“Rice is typically rinsed before cooking to remove excess starch. Rice produced in the US is usually fortified with vitamins and minerals, and rinsing will result in a loss of nutrients. Rice may be rinsed repeatedly until the rinse water is clear to improve the texture and taste.
Rice may be soaked to decrease cooking time, conserve fuel, minimize exposure to high temperature, and reduce stickiness. For some varieties, soaking improves the texture of the cooked rice by increasing expansion of the grains. Rice may be soaked for 30 minutes up to several hours.
Brown rice may be soaked in warm water for 20 hours to stimulate germination. This process, called germinated brown rice (GBR), activates enzymes and enhances amino acids including gamma-aminobutyric acid to improve the nutritional value of brown rice. This method is a result of research carried out for the United Nations International Year of Rice.
Rice is cooked by boiling or steaming, and absorbs water during cooking. With the absorption method, rice may be cooked in a volume of water similar to the volume of rice. With the rapid-boil method, rice may be cooked in a large quantity of water which is drained before serving. Rapid-boil preparation is not desirable with enriched rice, as much of the enrichment additives are lost when the water is discarded ... ”
Preparing aromatic rice:
Rinse the rice until the water runs clear. If you are not using a rice cooker, use the following as the basic recipe. Combine 1 cup of rice with 2 cups of water. Add the rice and water to a saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil over low heat. Let the rice cook/steam for about 10 minutes, until all of the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat, stir, and then let stand for about 10 more minutes.
“Rice is a major food staple and a mainstay for the rural population and their food security. It is mainly cultivated by small farmers in holdings of less than 1 hectare. Rice is also a wage commodity for workers in the cash crop or non-agricultural sectors. Rice is vital for the nutrition of much of the population in Asia, as well as in Latin America and the Caribbean and in Africa; it is central to the food security of over half the world population. Developing countries account for 95% of the total production, with China and India alone responsible for nearly half of the world output ... ”
“As arsenic is a natural element in soil, water, and air, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) monitors the levels of arsenic in foods, particularly in rice products used commonly for infant food. While growing, rice plants tend to absorb arsenic more readily than other food crops, requiring expanded testing by the FDA for possible arsenic-related risks associated with rice consumption in the United States. ... Arsenic is a Group 1 carcinogen. The amount of arsenic in rice varies widely with the greatest concentration in brown rice and rice grown on land formerly used to grow cotton, such as in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas. White rice grown in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas, which account collectively for 76 percent of American-produced rice, had higher levels of arsenic than other regions of the world studied, possibly because of past use of arsenic-based pesticides to control cotton weevils. Jasmine rice from Thailand and Basmati rice from Pakistan and India contain the least arsenic among rice varieties in one study.”