If you give me rice, I’ll eat it today, if you teach me how to grow rice, I’ll eat it every day- Mahatma Gandhi
What is Rice?
To begin with, rice is a grain. It’s the seed of the grass species called Oryza Sativa (Asian rice) or Oryza Glaberrima (African rice).
In terms of diet, it is considered a carbohydrate. So a 100g of rice will contain 80g of carbohydrates, 7.13g of protein, 11.61g of water and 0.66g of fat.
India is one of the world’s largest producers of white rice and brown rice. It is grown mostly in the eastern and southern parts of the country.
Rice is a powerhouse of essential vitamins and minerals such as Vitamins B1 (Thiamine), B3 (Niacin), B5 (Pantothenic acid), Folate, Iron, Copper, Manganese and Selenium.
Different Types of Rice
There is a huge range of varieties of rice with nutritious content and great health benefits in India but here we enlist the popular ones. Each state in India has its native rice varieties.
Brown rice is unrefined and unpolished and is formed by removing the surrounding hull of the rice kernel. It is chewy compared to white rice but has a zesty flavor.
It is rich in a good amount of Manganese, Phosphorus, Vitamin B6, fiber, and Selenium. It also has arsenic and dissolvable fiber.
It is the most common and widely consumed rice variety in India. Mainly cultivated in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. It’s low in fat, low in cholesterol, high in starch, and has high nutritional content.
Parboiled Rice is also called converted rice and it’s partially pre-cooked in its inedible husk before being processed for eating. Since it is beneficial in lowering blood glucose it is best for diabetes patients. It is rich in potassium, iron, calcium, and magnesium.
It is a special variety of rice that gets its color red from its anthocyanins content. With zero fat content, it is great for weight loss. It can do wonders for your skin inside out since it is loaded with iron and vitamin. It is highly recommended to people with diabetes due to the presence of magnesium and antioxidants. It is mainly grown in southern India and specifically in Kerala.
Black rice gets it’s the signature black-purple color from a pigment called anthocyanin, which has potent antioxidant properties. It is said to have several medicinal and nutritional properties. With anti-carcinogenic properties, it soothes inflammation due to allergies, asthma and other diseases. Native to north-east India and is widely cultivated in Odisha, West Bengal, and Jharkhand.
Palakkadan Matta Rice
Palakkadan Matta rice is a popular rice variety grown in the Palakkad district of Kerala, India. It is also known by the name of Rosematta Rice, Kerala Red Rice, or Red Parboiled Rice.
It is rich in nutrients and is the best source of magnesium. Consuming palakkadan rice reduces the risk of heart disease & Diabetes. It helps you meet your daily fiber requirement and has abundant Calcium.
Basmati rice is a healthy ‘Supergrain” and is aromatic long grain rice. It is gluten-free and low in fat. It contains all eight essential amino acids, folic acid, and is quite low in sodium and has no cholesterol.
Basmati rice cultivation takes place in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar.
Sticky rice is popular in Northeast India. It is good for strong immunity as it keeps the connective tissues strong and stimulates healthy brain functioning.
Given its starch composition, the grains of rice cluster together, truly making it “sticky” rice.
All these rice varieties are easily available in the shops as well as online. You can prepare numerous rice dishes with these varieties that not only are delicious but are as healthy. The aromatic biryani, the relishing pulav, and veggie-packed fried rice are favorite rice recipes of millions of people all over the world. All three popular rice recipes are easily distinguishable in the taste and its preparation.
What’s the difference between biryani, pulao and fried rice?
Let’s have a look at what makes these three rice dishes different from each other.
Also known as Pilaf, Pilau, Plov, Pulao, etc are dishes where the rice is cooked with seasonal vegetables, spices, and herbs. There are so many recipes for pulao and the preparation also depends on the region it comes from.
Here are some examples of pulao-
- Tawa Pulao
- Vegetable Pulao
- Soya Pulao
- Matar Pulao
And Zafrani Pulao and Bengali Mishti Pulao are sweet versions of pulao worth mentioning. The best accompaniments are spiced or sweet yoghurt raita, pickles and of course the papad!
It’s a rich and flavorful layered Indian rice dish that is world-renowned. Long-grained rice preferably basmati is flavored with exotic spices, such as saffron, nutmeg, mace, pepper, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, and bay leaves, are layered vegetables, and a thick gravy.
You can use a variety of veggies, such as cauliflower, beans, carrots, tomatoes, peas etc along with yogurt, that lends a tangy flavor.
Another important aspect is the method of cooking. After the layers of rice, vegetables and gravy layers are set twice, the dish is covered with a lid and secured with dough. It is then cooked over a low flame. This is a special occasion dish worth all the sweat.
Mostly uses cooked rice or you may cook a fresh batch for this rice variety. It is a hands-down favorite among children and growns up alike. It is one of those easy instant rice recipes that is the solution for sudden hunger pangs. Cooked in easily available vegetables and corn kernels is stir fried in wok. You add soy sauce,chilli sauce to give a restaurant-like taste.
- Biryani and Pulao use fresh batch of rice contrary to fried rice.
- In terms of time taken for preparation of these rice recipes, fried rice takes the least time compared to pulao and biryani. Biryani cook on low flame for a longer period of time.
- Biryani and pulao speak traditions using herbs and spices native to India whereas fried rice is made using sauces- soy, vinegar, chilli etc.
Top Rice Recipes
Here are some interesting recipes for you made out of our very own simple and plain rice. Most of them are quick and easy keeping in mind time and minimal ingredient requirements-
Jeera rice as the name suggests is made using jeera or cumin to give a very robust and fresh flavor. A simple meal of lentil and jeera rice becomes a fulfilling feast. All you need is basmati rice, cumin seeds and fresh chopped. Cumin is good for digestion so including jeera rice daily or more often in your diet will be beneficial.
White Matar Pulao or Peas Pulao is a quick, fulfilling, one-pot, savory rice dish that is nutritious. It will get along with any Indian curry or lentils given its mild flavor. Serve this simple rice recipe and your kids will love it too.
Who doesn’t love sweet corn? Don’t we all! So why not combine rice and sweet corn? It’s for times you have a get-together or if you want to pamper yourself with good food. Sweet Corn Fried rice is the best rice recipe for any time of the day. It is tangy, crunchy and lip-smacking.
South Indian Thengai Sadam or Coconut Recipe is a simple and appetizing dish prepared from freshly grated coconut, peanuts, etc. It’s a traditional South Indian dish that makes an excellent lunch box and can be put together instantly, particularly during the no-break morning rush hours.
Thakkali Rice or South Indian Tomato Rice or Tomato Bath is super delicious and super quick to make. It is cooked with lots of tomatoes and later tempered with mustard seeds, curry leaves, and other ingredients. Pack it for lunch or dinner or have it any time of the day!
One of the most popular rice recipes and is loved by all is Chinese Fried Rice. The best bit about this recipe is that it includes lots of vegetables and sauces giving it a unique mouth-watering flavor and color. The success of this recipe lies in choosing the right rice that is non-sticky steamed rice.
Serve it with Chinese dry Manchurian or gravy Manchurian and relish the authentic Chinese indulgence.
The authentic South Indian curd rice is cooked with steamed rice and plain curd with additional tempering of urad dal, mustard seeds, chillies, and coriander leaves. It is a must-have dish for lunch or dinner in South Indian families since it is prepared immediately and requires very little effort.
This recipe is ideal for a delicious, fulfilling meal and is a good change if you are tired of the routine.
Wondering what to do with the leftover rice? Well, worry no more, because we have the perfect recipe for you to try. Vegetable Tadka fried rice is an Indian twist to the Chinese recipe.
Lemon Coriander Rice is an exotic and refreshing rice dish. It is flavor-packed to maximize the enjoyment of beautiful flavors. This recipe is especially a great choice for parties when you are cooking for a large gathering, as it is very easy to execute and takes just a few minutes to cook.
Lemon Coriander rice is what you call an ideal summer dish!
Inspired from the street food of Mumbai, Tawa pulao recipe or Mumbai tawa pulao is a popular and spicy street style pulao recipe made with long grain rice and the hero ingredient is pav bhaji masala.
It will spice up a boring brunch with its palate soothing relish. Serve it with yogurt raita to balance the spiciness.
11. Tomato Khichdi
Who said khichdi is boring? All you need is the right tadka and voila! Tomato Khichdi is one such dish that breaks the boring routine and is also good for your health.
With the right set of spices, herbs, tomatoes, and curd, tomato khichdi is extremely mouth-watering!
Mexican rice or Spanish Rice recipe comes together effortlessly in a single pot.
Toss in your favorite veggies and herbs. It is an exotic blend of jalapenos, kidney beans, corn kernels, etc. From there, the rice is simmered in veggies and sauces to give an extra kick of flavor.
With an authentic tempering of lentils and sesame seeds and peanuts, this rice recipe of Peanut rice is fantastic.
Peanut Rice is simple, aromatic and inspired by South India. Pack it up for lunch or have it for supper.
Maggi or instant noodles flavour is unforgettable and loved by young and old equally! I am sure; we all want a healthy alternative to maggi and do not want to compromise with the taste.
Have this tasty soupy khichdi with a boatload of veggies for a nutritious and easy instant rice recipe!
Who said Rice has to be plain and boring! With this recipe, you can roll them into crunchy crispy cutlets. Not only is it using the leftover but you can also give rice this tasty makeover and easily trick your fussy child into eating healthy. This one is a rice recipe for kids.
Serve it with spicy mint chutney or ketchup for extra zing!
Vaghareli Khichdi literally means Tempered Khichdi is a one-pot comfort meal. Not all comfort meals are unhealthy. Lightly spiced, this is one meal that you can have in sickness and in health.
With curd or pickle, Vaghareli Khichdi is a simple meal with rice.
Up-cycle plain rice into flavoursome and scrumptious pakoras! Filled with veggies it is a healthy alternative to your normal pakoras.
Crunchy pakoras can be enjoyed as a tea snack as well as a starter!
Rice Kheer or Dhudhpak is also known as meetha bhaat/payasam/ payasa is a staple sweet dish usually had in the main course. The creamy, aromatic, soft, as well as crunchy mix, can be without any accompaniment or with piping hot puris.
Serve it warm or cold both the ways the flavours are exceptional!
Thandai is a standalone tempting drink that doesn’t need any occasion or excuse. Adding rice to it is an interesting twist.
It is a smooth and creamy concoction of milk and rice is tummy filling also equally yummilicious treat to your taste buds!
I would love to hear from you when you try these recipes.
Siddhi Panchal is a food blogger at CookingwithSiddhi and food aficionado who loves to cook. Her cooking skills cover a range of Indian and international cuisines. Her aim is to enable other food enthusiasts explore their love for food by helping them cook delectable dishes from India and around the world.