No matter what, I always have a bag of rice in my pantry. The grain is about as basic as an ingredient can get, and that is why I love it. In just a few easy steps, you can whip it up in no time. And, because it is so versatile, you can cook it into practically anything.

Rice is a staple around the world, prepared and enjoyed in so many ways. And there are almost as many different types of rice as there are ways to eat it. In order to pick which type of rice you want to cook, it is important to be able to distinguish it and know how to cook each distinctive type of rice.

Here are a few types of rice you can find in your supermarkets and how best to enjoy them.

Brown rice

Brown rice is full of fibre and nutrients, plus a nutty flavour and chewy texture. It just needs a slightly longer time to cook, but it still tastes great with your usual dishes. Some people even find brown rice more delicious than white and more filling.


Basmati is a long-grain rice that is highly regarded for its fragrance and dramatic elongation when cooked. True basmati is grown – and considered a minor God – in India and Pakistan. Many hybrids are grown elsewhere, including in the US, but they do not grow long like basmati.

The best uses of basmati are in Indian, Pakistan and Mediterranean dishes – where you do not want the grains to stick together.


Also known as Thai fragrant rice, this long-grain variety has a flowery aroma and a soft, sticky texture when cooked. Jasmine rice is best steamed and eaten together with stir-fried, grilled, soup, or braised dishes.

Risotto rice

As the name suggests, it is used specifically to make risotto. It is a medium-grain rice with a characteristic white dot in the centre. Its particular starchy yet firm qualities make it ideal for risotto. Never rinse risotto rice. Washing removes starch and starch is essential for good risotto. The more starch, the creamier your finished risotto will be.

Thai purple rice

This one falls more on the sweet side. It is usually served in desserts, but it is branching out and finding its way into savoury dishes as well. If you plan to add other foods to the rice, hold off until the very last minute. It is a lot like beetroot in that it will leave dark purple stains on everything it touches.

Bomba rice

Bomba rice, also called Valencia rice, is a short-grain rice originally from Valencia, Spain. It is commonly featured in paella and other Spanish dishes and can be used in any recipe calling for short-grain white rice. Because this type of rice is cultivated for paella, it excels at absorbing liquid, so you will want to use a one cup rice to 1 ¾ cup liquid ratio and perhaps use a broth, some wine, or other flavourful liquid to make the most of this rice that captures the flavour of its cooking liquid.

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