Saturday, September 26, 2009


Your guide to useful rice related words you may come across. Use the quick link menu on the right to jump to the letter you are looking for:

Armstrong, Louis\cell signed his autograph "Red Beans and Ricely Yours\'85." Ash - from the Hulls of the rice is used to produce cellulose products e.g. rayon and rice fuel

Al dente\cell An Italian phrase denoting the texture of pasta, rice and vegetables as tender or soft on the outside but still firm to the bite within; its literal translation

Arborio rice\cell the classic risotto rice from the north Italian region of Piedmont; a medium to long grain rice, it absorbs a lot of cooking liquid yet still retains a good bite in texture.

Beer\cell various brands of beer are brewed with rice. When rice is used in brewing it is claimed that the rice gives the beer lightness.

Bran\cell the outer husk of the rice grain is cleaned and stabilised and used as a fibred supplement in the same way as wheat bran.

Bahia\cell a medium grain originating from Spain, used to make Paella

Cakes\cell Rice cakes are made from crispy puffed rice to produce a light base which can be topped with any sweet or savoury topping. They are very low in calories

Cosmetics\cell Rice grains can be ground and formed into cosmetic powders

Carolina\cell The name originally used for pudding rice as an early source for this rice was America.

Chelo\cell A Persian dish distinctive for its golden crusted rice grains.

Calas Tous Chauds\cell Rice fritters which were sold in the streets of the French quarter in New Orleans.

Dragon\cell Straw from the plant is used to make a 'Rice Dragon' for Silk Worms to build their cocoons upon

Death\cell is symbolised by chopsticks stuck into a mound of rice in Taiwan.

Della Rice\cell Aromatic rice developed in the US, described as having similar characteristics to Basmati. But its cooked kernels are not as long and as slender as Basmati as when it cooks it swells lengthwise and widthwise.

Dewie Srie\cell The Indonesian goddess of rice.

Dolmades\cell Arabic for "something stuffed," a Greek cuisine comprised of grape leaves stuffed with a filling of rice, meat, and lentils and various other seasonings. Usually braised or baked. They may be eaten hot or cold or at room temperature as an appetizer

Donburi\cell A bowl of rice with some other food on top of it.

Electricity\cell Hulls from the plant are used to generate electricity

Enriched Rice\cell Rice which has some of the nutrients replaced which were lost during milling. Most rice is enriched with Iron, Nacin and Thiamin

Earth\cell In many Asian cultures rice is considered the link between Heaven and Earth.

Flakes\cell rice grains are rolled and flaked and then used in a similar way as porridge oats to produce porridge, flapjacks and biscuits.

Flour\cell rice grains are milled finely to produce rice flour, which is used in baking and as a thickening agent.

Fertility\cell Rice is a symbol of fertility in Asian cultures.

Fried Rice\cell A Chinese dish of rice seasoned with soy sauce and stir-fried; eggs, chicken, pork, shrimp and/or vegetables are often stirred into the mixture. Fried rice is best prepared with chilled cooked rice.

Ground rice\cell is rice that has been coarsely milled. This produces rice similar to semolina and is used in baking and puddings

Gluten\cell Rice is gluten free and suitable for Coeliacs who are allergic to gluten

Gohan\cell the Japanese word meaning rice and a complete meal.

Glue\cell can be made by boiling ground rice.

Gumbo\cell A Cajun dish

Household Friendly\cell A few grains of rice in a salt cellar will keep the salt running freely

Honda\cell means 'main rice field'

Hulls\cell are used as a packing material to pad fragile cargo during shipping

Inari \cell is the Japanese rice god

Indigestion\cell Chinese believe that rice cures indigestion

Ice-cream\cell Rice has even been used to make ice-cream

Inkapati \cell is the Philippine rice god.

Jobless\cell Being jobless in Singapore is termed 'broken rice bowl' whilst a good job is termed an 'iron rice bowl'

Japanese meal names\cell are based around rice:

Jambalaya\cell A traditional Louisiana rice dish, its highly seasoned and flavoured with sausage, ham, seafood, pork or chicken

Jasmine\cell. Fragrant rice is similar to basmati.

Kin Khao \cell in Thai means having a meal or eating rice.

Kichiri \cell An indigenous dish of rice and lentils from India, adapted to form Kedgeree

Kedgeree\cell During the days of the British Raj in India it is believed that this dish was adapted from Kichiri.

Long Hair\cell In Sumatra rice is often sown by women with long hair hanging loosely down their backs as it is thought to help the rice grow more abundantly and with long stalks.

Laundry Starch\cell is manufactured from broken grains of rice.

Lontong\cell An Indonesian recipe which constricts rice as it cooks so that expanding grains form a mass which can be cut into squares.

Luck\cell Rice is a symbol of luck in many Asian countries

Marriage\cell Newly-weds would have rice thrown over them as it was believed that this would ensure the couple had numerous children

Marble\cell Rice Marble is the decorative effect of placing rice on book covers during their making

Manoomin\cell The name given to wild rice by native American tribes, meaning precious grain.

Money\cell Rice has been used as a substitute for money, in medieval Japan Samurai warriors were paid with rice.

Mae Posop\cell The Thai rice god

Noodles\cell are made from rice flour, white and semi-transparent they are used mainly in soups and stir-frying.

Nutrients \cell Rice is good source of essential nutrient's thiamin, riboflavin, nacin, phosphorous, iron and potassium.

Nasi Goreng\cell Means fried rice in Indonesian.

Nigiri\cell Japanese rice balls, rice is formed into balls and then wrapped in seaweed. Pickles are placed into the centre of the rice ball.

Ointment\cell In India, rice water (a decoction of rice) is prescribed to counteract inflamed surfaces.

Oryza sativa\cell is The Latin botanical name of rice.

O-himachi \cell is Rice harvesting festival in Japan.

Okaiyu\cell Japanese rice gruel, soft like oatmeal and is served as part of a typical breakfast

Paper\cell Rice Paper is not made from Rice at all, but from the pith of the 'rice paper tree', a small Asian shrub. Rice Paper is a thin edible paper used to line baking trays, in the East it is used for delicate paintings. A coarse rice paper can be made from rice flour and this is used to wrap spring rolls and other Asian foods

Pilaf \cell A light, fluffy rice dish originating from the Middle East. Rice is saut\'e9ed in fat and then cooked in a broth with onions, raisins and spices.

Pudding Rice \cell Short grain rice used in puddings and sweets, the grains are starchy and clump together when cooked.

Patna\cell is the name used for long grain rice when it was exported from India.

Pastries\cell Rice is ground into powder and used to form pastries.

Parboiled \cell a process perfected in the 1940's as a means of preserving nutrients that would otherwise be lost in the milling.

Queen of Fragrance \cell is the translation of Basmati.

Rice Shapes\cell Used as a gluten free alternative to wheat pasta

Risotto\cell an Italian dish which is rich and creamy, the rice is saut\'e9ed in fat and then cooked in a broth.

Rough Rice\cell Another name for Paddy

Rijsttafel\cell A Dutch term meaning 'rice table', a Dutch version of an Indonesian meal which consists of small well seasoned side dishes e.g. steamed, fried seafood or meats, vegetables, sauces etc

Sake\cell is an alcoholic drink that the Japanese make from fermented rice. It is served hot in ceramic bowls.

Sophocles\cell the Greek poet mentioned rice in the Greek Tragedies.

Straw\cell from the Rice plant has many different uses:
Twisted into sticks for fuel
Crafted into handicrafts, shoes and toys
Braided into rope
Moulded into bricks
Stacked and preserved as fodder for cattle
Made into Paper

Sushi \cell cooked rice formed into rice balls and served cold with brightly coloured seafood placed on top

Sekihan \cell A red rice dish, where the rice has been cooked with red azuki beans, the colour is festive for celebrations.

Toyota\cell means 'bountiful rice field'

Toothpaste\cell Ash from the hulls of the rice plant is used to clean discoloured teeth

Tisnawati\cell is the Indonesian Rice god.

Tauchiko\cell The rice planting ritual in Japan

University\cell There is a Rice University in the USA

UK\cell Has never been able to cultivate rice due to its adverse climatic conditions

Vinegar \cell three types are made white, red and black, which vary in taste and are used extensively in Chinese cooking.

Variety\cell rice has versatility unlike any other food; it can be made part of any meal in recipes for soups, salads, main dishes, desserts, drinks and vinegar

Vishnu\cell In Bali, it is believed that Lord Vishnu caused the Earth to give birth to rice.

Wine\cell the Chinese make wine from glutinous rice, used for cooking and drinking, it's similar to pale sherry

Wild Rice\cell Not a true rice, but an aquatic grass variety and from a different genus, the grains are long, thin and black. Are Rich in Vitamins ‘B’

Wealth\cell Rice is a symbol of wealth in Asian countries.

Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae \cell is a bacterial blight disease which affects rice plants and their crop.
Zizania palustris \cell is the Latin name of Wild rice. It is the only cereal grain native to North American continent


There are more than 40,000 varieties of cultivated rice (the grass species Oryza sativa) said to exist. But the exact figure is uncertain. Over 90,000 samples of cultivated rice and wild species are stored at the International Rice Gene Bank and these are used by researchers all over the world. The rice varieties can be divided into 2 basic groups, Long grain / all purpose and speciliaty.

All-purpose long grain rice are imported mainly from the USA, Italy, Spain, Surinam, Guyana and Thailand and can be used for all styles of cooking. At one time long grain rice was exported from India and was called patna after the district in which it grew. Today most of the long grain rice is imported into the UK from America. Long grain rice is a slim grain which is 4-5 times as long as it is wide. When it is harvested it is know as 'rough' or 'paddy' rice. It undergoes different milling techniques to give different types of rice.

One of the most popular types of rice because it has a subtle flavour which perfectly complements both rich and delicate sauces. Milled to remove the husk and bran layer, the grain is slim and 4-5 times as long as it is wide. On cooking the grains separate to give an attractive fluffy effect. Extremely versatile and is used for countless international savoury dishes. It is also an essential in Chinese Cooking.

This variety has a slightly fuller flavour. Unlike regular white rice which is milled direct from the field , it is steamed under pressure before milling. This process hardens the grain, reducing the possibility of over-cooking. It also helps to retain much of the natural vitamin and mineral content present in the milled layers. When raw the rice has a golden colour, but turns white upon cooking. Can be used in the same dishes as Regular Long grain, but is particularly good for rice salads.

This rice has a distinctly nutty flavour. Brown Rice undergoes only minimal milling, which removes the husk but retains the bran layer. Due to this the rice retains more vitamins, mineral and fibred content than regular or easy cook white rice. The grains remain separate when cooked, like long grain white, but take longer to soften. The cooked grains have a chewy texture, which many people enjoy. It is also available in easy-cook form. These include the aromatics, risotto, glutinous and pudding rice which are particularly suited to ethnic cuisines. These are often grown, cooked and eaten in the same location. Many rice varieties have been central to geographical region's survival.

The first class of rice which is classed as speciality is aromatic rice. These contain a natural ingredient, 2-acetyl 1-pyroline, which is responsible for their fragrant taste and aroma. The fragrance quality of aromatic rice can differ from one year's harvest to the next, like wine. The finest aromatic rices are aged to bring out a stronger aroma.

A very long, slender grained aromatic rice grown mainly in the foothills of the Himalayas in India and Pakistan. Some time described as the 'Prince of Rice'. It has a fragrant flavour and aroma and is the rice used in Indian dishes. The grains are separate and fluffy when cooked. In Indian recipes it is often cooked with spices to enhance the grain's aromatic properties. Easy cook basmati and brown rice basmati are also available. Brown basmati rice has higher fibre content and an even stronger aroma than basmati white.

Another aromatic rice, although its flavour is slightly less pronounced than basmati. It originates from Thailand. The length and slenderness of the grains suggest that they should remain separate on cooking but it differs from other long grain rices in that it has a soft and slightly sticky texture when cooked. Good with Chinese and South East Asian food.

The American rice industry has developed varieties of aromatic rices which mimic both basmati and jasmine rice. These grains look like a grain rice. These varieties are not generally available in the UK.

Short and medium grains are grown mainly in California. It comes in a variety of colours including red, brown and black. It’s used in Japanese and Caribbean cuisines due to its characteristic clingy moist and firm nature when cooked.


To pin-point exactly when mankind first realised that the rice plant was a food source and began its cultivation is impossible. Many historians believe that rice was grown as far back as 5000 years BC.

Archaeologists excavating in India discovered rice which, they were convinced, could be dated to 4530BC. However, the first recorded mention originates from China in 2800 BC. The Chinese emperor, Shen Nung, realised the importance of rice to his people and to honour the grain he established annual rice ceremonies to be held at sowing time, with the emperor scattering the first seeds.

Most likely, similar ceremonies took place throughout china with local dignitaries deputising for the emperor. Nowadays, the Chinese celebrate rice by specifically dedicating one of the days in the New Year festivities to it.

Although we cannot identify China, India or Thailand as being the home of the rice plant (indeed it may have been native to all), we can be more certain of how rice was introduced to Europe and the Americas. For that we have to thank the traveller, whether explorer, soldier, merchant or pilgrim, who took with them the seeds of the crops that, grew in their home or foreign lands.

Not all seeds could be transplanted successfully, however. Great Britain has never been able to cultivate rice due to its adverse climatic conditions. The rice plant requires immense quantities of rainfall in its early days, followed by a long and uninterrupted season of hot dry weather. For this reason, farmers must find ways to either flood the fields or drain the water from them at crucial periods.

In the West, parts of America and certain regions of Europe, such as Italy and Spain, are able to provide the correct climate thereby giving rise to a thriving rice industry. Some historians believe that rice travelled to America in 1694 in a British ship bound for Madagascar.

Blown off course into the safe harbour of Charleston, South Carolina, friendly colonists helped the crew repair their ships. To show his gratitude, the ships captain, James Thurber, presented Henry Woodward with a quantity of rice seed.

Some years later, the British unfortunately blotted their copybook in relation to the rice industry they had probably initiated. During the American Revolution, they occupied the Charleston area and sent home the entire quantity of harvested rice, failing to leave any seed for the following year's crop.

The American rice industry survived this set-back and cultivation continued, thanks to President Thomas Jefferson, who broke an Italian law by smuggling rice seed out of Italy during a diplomatic mission in the late 18th Century. The rice industry then transplanted itself from the Carolinas to the southern states surrounding the Mississippi basin.

Rice is fundamentally important to various cultures that it is often directly associated with prosperity and much folklore and legend surrounds the grain. In many cultures and societies, rice is integrated directly into religious belief. In Japan rice enjoys the patronage of its own god, Inari, and in Indonesia its own goddess, the Dewie Srie. \par
Rice is also linked to fertility and for this reason the custom of throwing rice at newly wedded couples exists. In India, rice is always the first food offered by a new bride to her husband, to ensure fertility in the marriage, and children are given rice as their first solid food. And, according to Louisiana folklore, the test of a true Cajun is whether he can calculate the precise quantity of gravy needed to accompany a crop of rice growing in a field. How easy to see that from its early beginnings to the present day, rice continues to play an integral role in sustaining both the world's appetites and cultural traditions. \cf1 The Rice Cookbook - Salamander Books Ltd.