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Rice Basics: White, Instant, and Brown


Overcooked rice can still be eaten, but it turns unappetizingly soggy. Test your rice after it has cooked for 15 minutes by scooping out some with a spoon and tasting it. It should still feel slightly firm against your teeth.

Rice is grown throughout the world, from the United States to the Far East and is a staple for the peoples of many countries. There are two types of rice: various types of white rice that can be prepared within 20 minutes, and brown rice and wild rices that take longer than 20 minutes to prepare.

White rice is convenient, quick, and tasty. It is simultaneously quicker to prepare and lighter in color because it has had its outer parts, the bran and germ layers, removed. A drawback is that unless it has been fortified, white rice generally has a lower nutritional value than brown rice.

Instant rice is white rice that has been precooked to enable really quick heating, often 10 minutes or less. The trade-off for speed, however, is often texture and flavor. Cooking directions differ for each brand.

Brown rice offers a rich, nutty flavor and terrific nutritional value, and because of this should not be dismissed because of its long prep time. I prepare large batches and then use brown rice in recipes throughout the week. Cooking brown rice, or wild rice (which only resembles rice but is actually a different type of grain), takes 30 to 40 minutes.


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to 20-Minute Meals © 2003 by CWL Publishing Enterprises, Inc., John Woods, President. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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