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What are the different types of rice and how can you use them?

13 Feb 2023
by Tjin's Toko

Do you ever eat Indonesian nasi goreng, Japanese sushi or Italian risotto? Then you know that these dishes have one thing in common and that is the main ingredient. All of these dishes are made from rice. This versatile type of food is very popular and comes in many varieties. From long aromatic grains from Thailand to short sticky grains from Japan. Rice comes in different colours, scents and sizes, but what can you do with all those different types of rice? In this guide you will find out! 

Discover the different types of rice.

What is Rice?

Rice is a grain just like wheat and belongs to the grass family. It is a very unique grain because there are more than 40,000 different types of rice. However, we can divide them into two main categories: Indica and Japonica. The Indica varieties are often the long grain rice varieties and Japonica are often the short or medium grain rice varieties. From white rice to brown rice, we explain which types of rice there are and which one is best for your rice dish. 

White rice

This is actually a collective name for different types of rice where the brown husk has been removed. This husk is naturally on the rice grain when it is harvested. By removing it you only have a white grain, hence the name white rice. However, that does not mean that all white rice is the same, because there are several types of white rice with different properties. The most famous white rice is Jasmine rice so let's start with that!

Jasmine rice

Jasmine rice

This rice is also called 'Hom Mali' which literally means 'the smell of jasmine' in Thai. When you cook this rice, remove the lid from the rice cooker and the steam comes off, you can smell the delicious aroma. It is one of the most aromatic types of rice and that makes it a very popular variety. You will mainly find this rice in Indonesian, Thai and Chinese dishes. Do you want the best rice with the most aroma? Then jasmine rice is perfect! If you like to eat organic food, we also have an organic version of this rice in our assortment. 

Pandan rice

Pandan rice is also very popular, but actually it is not a real type of rice! Sometimes it’s just the same as Jasmine rice and it’s simply sold under the name pandan rice. Pandan rice can also be a combination of white rice and extract of fragrant Pandan leaves. Both pandan rice and jasmine rice have a strong aroma and can be used in the same type of dishes.

Basmati rice

After jasmine and pandan rice, basmati rice is a very well-known variety. It is widely grown in India and is known for its aromatic character with a slightly firmer bite than jasmine or pandan rice. That is because the grain is slightly finer and there is less starch in this rice. This ensures a drier grain that works very well with Indian dishes. It’s the perfect rice to make biryani, a delicious spicy rice dish with meat and vegetables. It is a true classic in Indian cuisine.

Surinamese rice

If you are going to make Surinamese fried rice, this is the rice you need. Surinamese rice cooks slightly drier and lighter, which makes it perfect for dishes with fried rice!

Japanese rice

Japanese rice

If you have ever cooked Japanese or eaten in Japanese restaurants, you know that this is a special type of rice. It is a short grain rice that is stickier than other types of rice. That's why it’s the perfect rice to make sushi. However, there are many different qualities of Japanese rice. If you have ever eaten in a high-quality Japanese restaurant, there is a good chance that you were served Koshihikari rice. This is a very popular type of rice that falls under the Japonica category. Koshihikari is known for its excellent quality and is therefore used by the best chefs in the world.  

Sticky rice

This rice is also called glutinous rice. Not because it contains gluten, but because of the sticky texture that reminds you of glue. The longer you cook it, the softer and stickier the rice will become. This rice is perfect to make rice porridge, a dish that is often eaten for breakfast in Asia. It’s a combination of rice porridge with broth, vegetables and chicken. Another sticky rice dish, which we are really fans of is mango sticky rice. This is a sweet dessert from Thailand and is made from glutinous rice, coconut milk and mango. If you've never made this before, it's highly recommended! However, mango sticky rice is not the only dessert you can make with this special type of grain. Many Asian cuisines have desserts based on this particular rice, such as Indonesian wajik and Phillipine biko.

Parboiled rice

For white rice, all rice husks are removed and for brown rice, only the outer husk is removed. With parboiled rice, the rice is partially cooked before the outer husk is removed. As a result, the rice retains more vitamins and minerals and is a healthy alternative. Although brown rice is the healthiest option, parboiled rice has the advantage that it does not need to be cooked for as long as brown rice.

  • Characteristics: short, medium or long grain of the Indica or Japonica type.
  • Dishes: Fried rice with parboiled rice, pilaf with parboiled rice.
  • Products:Parboiled Rice.  

Samba rice

Due to the pearl shape and shimmer, this is perhaps one of the most beautiful rice grains there is. It is the most famous rice in Sri Lanka, where it is mainly served on special occasions, such as family celebrations and traditional festivals. This rice has a slightly sweet taste and can be used in many different dishes.


Brown rice

Brown rice

Basically, brown rice is white rice without the husk being removed. It is actually the same grain of rice, but because of the husk it remains the orginal brown colour. It also has a firmer bite than white rice. Do you want to eat healthy? Then brown rice is a good option for you. Because the husk is preserved, this rice contains more fiber, vitamins and minerals than white rice. By the way, you can buy brown rice in different varieties. It is available as jasmine rice, basmati rice and sushi rice. In addition to regular brown rice, we also have trio rice in our range. This is a mix of pandan rice, red/purple rice and black rice. It is a colorful alternative to normal brown rice.

Black rice

In China this used to be called the forbidden rice because it was reserved exclusively for royal Chinese. It is now internationally known and is also widely served in other Asian countries. Because of the black color, the rice is of course very noticeable, but did you know that the color changes a bit when the rice is cooked? It often looks more purple and is therefore sometimes called purple rice. The dark colour comes from a pigment called Anthocyanin. This is a powerful antioxidant that you can also find in other products such as blue and black currants. Black rice has a nutty flavour and suits very well for a variety of dishes like Bubur Hitam or Thai Curry. 

  • Properties: Both in short-grained and long-grained variant. Short grain of the Japonica type, long grain of the Indica type.
  • Dishes: Bubur Hitam, Mango Salad with Black Rice, Thai Curry with Black Rice
  • Products: Aroy-D Black Ketan Rice, Organic Black Cargo Rice.

Risotto rice

Have you ever eaten Risotto? Then there is a good chance that you ate this type of rice, because Carnaroli is one of the most famous types of rice for making risotto. The grains are quite large and keep their shape after cooking. Similar types of rice are Vialone and Arborio, but Carnaroli is considered the best rice. That is because this rice is the best at absorbing moisture, so that the aromas absorb much better during cooking.

  • Properties: Short grain of the Japonica type.
  • Dishes: Italian Risotto.

Wild rice

While it is known as rice, it is not a real type of rice. All previously mentioned rice varieties are descended from the Oryza plant while wild rice is descended from the Zizania plant. It looks a lot like rice, but it is not! The taste of wild rice is much stronger. When you eat this rice, you will first taste the crispy outer layer and then the soft, nutty inside. Wild rice fills up faster and is therefore often eaten in smaller portions than other types of rice. Wild rice is not often used in traditional rice dishes because the taste and texture is very different, but it is a good type of rice for a healthy meal. A nice tip: mix wild rice with another type of rice for a special taste experience. Please note that you cook both types of rice separately because of the different preparation methods.

  • Properties: wild rice from the Zizania plant.
  • Dishes: Salad with wild rice.

Discover your favorite rice!

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