This week is National Rice Week

Published: Thursday, 17 September 2020


Rice is the seed from the grass species Oryza. There are currently 81 countries around the world producing rice of which nine out of the top ten are from within Asia. India, growing over one hundred million tonnes annually, is the second largest producer after China.

Rice is the most important grain with regard to human nutrition and calorific intake, providing more than one fifth of the calories consumed worldwide by humans.

There are long standing differences of opinion between many Chinese and Indian chefs as to the best ways to prepare and cook rice. Although these methods can vary depending upon the type of rice, long, medium or short grain, brown rice, white rice or wild rice for example. It is generally accepted within the Indian sub-continent that rice should be washed prior to cooking to both wash out foreign matter and also remove some of the starch.

Basmati Saffron Pilau, Basmati Plain and Mushroom & Spring Onion Pilau Rice

Following washing, soaking rice for anything from 15 minutes to overnight, dependant upon the type of rice being prepared, is a common practice on the Indian sub-continent. It is argued that by doing this it assists in the body being able to more readily absorb the vitamins and minerals from the rice whilst also removing Phytic acid, a natural chemical which impairs the body’s ability to absorb zinc, calcium and iron.

In China and other countries within the Far East rice is generally cooked using the absorption method whereas Indians use both the draining method where excess water is used in the cooking and the rice is passed through a colander once cooked and the absorption method, again depending upon desired texture of the dish being prepared, the type of rice being used and the accompanying main course.

Vegetable Biryani

Here at Sarpech we use the popular long grain aromatic Basmati rice prepared simply plain boiled, served as saffron pilau rice or with added mushrooms and spring onion. Our Biryani dishes from our a la carte menu are also very popular. In addition we use rice products as thickening and binding agents in dishes such as aloo tikki.

Chicken Biryani

For information on rice, please see our previous blog.

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