What's the Best Rice?

Types of Rice
There are many kinds of rice, and different types have different tastes and textures.  I grew up on medium and long grain rice. Long grain rice is long and slender, and the grains are not very sticky and stay somewhat separate after cooking.  Medium grain rice is shorter and is a bit more sticky after cooking.  Both long and medium grain rices are great for rice and gravy dishes, red beans, gumbo and jambalaya.  Recently, I have developed a taste for parboiled rice. Parboiled rice is steamed prior to milling to seal in the nutrients, and stabilize the starch on the surface of the grain.  Because of this, the grains remain separate after cooking, and are not sticky or mushy.  It is not very absorbent of the liquid after being cooked, so I especially like it in jambalaya.  It allows the jambalaya to stay moist longer.  "Instant rice", "minute rice" or "precooked rice" are almost fully cooked then dried.  They cook very fast and the grains stay very separate after cooking, even more so than parboiled rice.  This is the kind of rice you find in many dry and "just add water" prepackage  Cajun dishes, such as prepackaged jambalaya and red beans and rice.  They do not really suite my taste because the are not "ricey" enough. Short grain rice is short, and very sticky, mushy and absorbent after cooking;  they do not suite my taste in what rice should be.  All of the above are types of milled, white or polished rice, where the hull and the bran have been removed.   Whole grain, brown and wild  rices are more nutritious because of the bran.  To me they are ok as a side dish, but don't work with gravy, red beans, gumbo or jambalaya.  For more information about rice go to: http://riceprocessing.com/types.htm

Cooking Rice
I will not even attempt to tell you how to cook rice.  I just cannot cook it without causing it to stick and burn on the bottom of the pot or be undercooked.  I think the greatest thing ever made was the rice cooker.  It cooks perfect rice every time.  If one is in a hurry, parboiled rice can be cooked up real quick.  Add the rice and extra water to a pot, bring it to a boil and slightly boil for about 15 minutes, then poor off the excess water. You can also purchase microwave rice cookers that make pretty good rice very quickly.  My mother always used a double boiler rice cooker, which is just a poor man's rice cooker.  I went to graduate school with a student from Iran, and she always cooked the rice until the rice on the bottom of the pot was crisp and golden brown.  She served the fluffy rice on top with the dish, then peeled the golden rice off the bottom for a crunchy treat.  It's amazing how many ways there are to cook and eat such a simple food as rice.
©David Wm. Reed