All About That Rice

By Marissa Vrba, Staff Writer

I’m sitting down in my room, watching a documentary on some South Korean band, and the members of said band are cooking their dinner. It’s a traditional Korean dinner, with kimchi- a type of pickled cabbage- soup and rice. Except the way the members go about making the rice is baffling. For one thing, there is apparently an apparatus specifically meant for rice- it looks like a crock-pot, by the way- and the people are discussing on whether they should make instant rice or slow-cook rice.

Wait, what?

First of all, I didn’t know that there was a specific piece of equipment just for making rice, and that there’s more than one type of rice. This was all quite intriguing, considering my whole life I’ve thought there to only be the rice that my parents make on our stove top, and I seem to have a fascination with random and useless facts.

Let’s talk about rice. There are a couple different types of rice; instant, of course, white rice, brown rice, and wild rice. The difference between all the rices all lies with the milling process.

Time is a big difference in how all the rices are prepared. While natural rice can take 20-50 minutes, instant rice can be cooked in five minutes or less.

Instant rice is milled from a seed on the plant to white rice, then fully cooked to then be dehydrated. Which means when you eat instant rice, it’s already been cooked for you once beforehand. Also, instant rice loses all of its nutritional value- so the only plus side to instant rice is the short amount of time required to cook it.

The difference between regular white rice and brown rice is that brown rice is milled one less step than white rice. The husk is of the grain is the only thing taken off of the rice seed, keeping the bran and germ layers. This preserves  some of the rice’s nutritional value as well as it’s natural flavoring. White rice is milled so that the husk as well as bran and germ layers are removed.

Instant rice is more expensive than natural rice, meaning when you eat instant rice, you are paying for a stripped down version of rice with no nutritional value that has already been cooked for you. Some instant rice will claim to have the nutrients replanted into it that were taken from it during the dehydration process; this is similar to what they do with white bread.

On to the rice cooker, also known as rice steamer or rice maker. Basically, the rice cooker takes care of adjusting the temperature and time of cooking the rice, no longer requiring a watchful eye over the food while it’s being steamed.

After doing all the research on rice- which I can’t believe I even researched about rice- I discovered how vast the world of rice is. There are significantly more types of rice than just long-grain white rice, and it’s a main dish in meals all around the world.