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We bet you can't name them all

We bet you can't name them all
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Rice is classified by the size of its grain into long, medium and short varieties and ranges from fluffy to creamy to sticky in texture.

Colour varies from brown to white to red.

The shape, size, texture and other characteristics of the different varieties affect the way the rice is used in recipes, what types of dish it is suitable for, and the way it is cooked.

Each country favours particular varieties for its cuisine.

Long-grain rice

Long-grain rice
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Long-grain rice, as the name suggests, has grains that are long and slim.

When cooked, the grains tend to remain separate, and the finished result is usually fairly dry and firm.

Most is in a polished white form, although brown long-grain rice is also available.

Patna rice comes from Asia; Carolina rice, which is slightly chunkier in appearance, is from North America

Basmati rice

Basmati rice
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This is a type of long-grain rice (see long-grain rice, above).

With very long, slim grains, basmati rice has excellent cooking qualities and a full flavour.

It is grown only in northern India and Pakistan, and no other rice can be labelled as basmati.

It also comes in a wholegrain form, which tends to be lighter and quicker to cook than other brown rices.

The extra nutritional advantage of basmati rice is that it scores low on the Glycaemic Index: its carbohydrate content is absorbed less quickly into the bloodstream than other types of rice, and thus it helps to keep blood-glucose levels stable.

Basmati rice should be rinsed before cooking to get rid of the starchy powder left over from milling.

Chinese black rice

Chinese black rice
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An unrefined rice, this has a brownish-black skin and flattish, wide grains.

It is usually soaked and then steamed. In Asia it is also used to make a dessert with coconut milk and palm sugar.

Glutinous rice

Glutinous rice
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Sometimes referred to as Chinese rice or sticky rice, this is widely used in South-east Asia for both sweet and savoury dishes.

Its grains are almost round and chalky-white.

Ironically, the name is misleading as, like all other rices, it contains no gluten.

The normal cooking method is to soak and then steam it, after which the grains stick together as if with glue.

This means it can be eaten in small balls picked up with the fingers or chopsticks.

Jasmine rice

Jasmine rice
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Also known as Thai fragrant rice, this is grown in eastern Asia.

It has a slight perfume and when cooked is slightly more sticky than other long-grain rices.

It marries well with other Asian foods and is the rice to use in Thai cookery.

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Medium-grain rice

Medium-grain rice
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See short and medium-grain rices

Paella rice

Paella rice
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From the Spanish region of Valencia, this is used in the traditional dish of Spain, paella.

It is a plump, short-grain rice similar to risotto rice, but with a less creamy texture.

Par-boiled rice

Par-boiled rice
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Sometimes called converted rice or processed rice, this is wholegrain rice that is soaked, steamed and dried before milling and polishing.

The process forces the vitamins and minerals into the centre of the grain so that more are retained than in ordinary white rice.

The colour of this rice is more golden than other white rice and it takes a little longer to cook.

Even with over-cooking, the grains will remain separate.

Quick-cook rice

Quick-cook rice
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Also called easy-cook rice, this shouldn’t be confused with parboiled rice.

Quick-cook rice is part-cooked after milling and then dried, so that when you cook it, it takes about half the time of ordinary long-grain rice.

Quick-cook rice has lost most of its nutrients, especially the water-soluble B vitamins, because of this double-cook process.

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