See also wild rice.
This venerable grain is a chief staple food for almost half the world's population, particularly in China, India, Indonesia and Japan. While grown on hillside terrains in many tropical and subtropical areas (including the U.S.), rice throughout much of Asia is still paddy-grown in flooded fields using traditional techniques. Carried out by hand, these prolific harvests produce wonderfully aromatic, high quality rice varieties essential to everyday meals or recipes with exotic flair.
This ancient grain has been cultivated since at least 5000 BC. Archaeological digs in China have uncovered sealed pots of rice that are almost 8,000 years old.
There are more than 7,000 varieties of rice grown around the world, but commercially speaking, rice can be broadly classified by its color (white or brown) and size (long-, short- or medium-grained).
Some popular varieties include:
Arborio—This Italian-grown variety is traditionally used in making risotto. The high starch content gives the dish its distinctive creaminess.
View BigOven's rice recipes