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March 17, 2011

REMIX: The long and short of white rice (recipes, stories and sources in The Perfect Pantry)

Shrimp and asparagus risotto

On our last trip to Hong Kong, we made a pilgrimage to the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery (Man Fat Tse), in the village of Sha Tin. I call it a pilgrimage not for religious reasons, but because it's a long hike from the train station followed by a challenging uphill trek to get there. Believe me, it's worth every huff and puff.

No monks live at the monastery, but more than 10,000 statues of Buddha do.

If you find a Buddha that looks like you, it's supposed to bring good luck. While finding a short, round Buddha was easy, I didn't find a single one that looked like a grey-haired Caucasian female with glasses.

What, you're wondering, does this all have to do with rice?

Well, I have better luck finding a rice in the pantry that looks like me (short, white, fat) than I had finding a Buddha at that monastery.

Vegetable sushi

I've featured long grain white rices (basmati and regular long grain rice) four times in The Perfect Pantry, and short grain rices (arborio, carnaroli, valencia and bomba) six times, and one medium-grain rice, Nishiki, that also comes in brown. You'll find dozens of recipes here from Asian, Italian, Indian, Spanish and regional American cuisine that have white rice in, alongside, or underneath them.

Bomba rice

In America, long grain white rice is the least expensive rice -- cultivated in California, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri and Florida -- and the most often thrown at weddings to symbolize fertile crops and fertile ... well, you know.

You can learn all about long grain white rice at the International Rice Festival, held every October in Crowley, Louisiana. And, if you follow the rules, you could be crowned Chef de Riz with a winning recipe!

Chicken and shrimp jambalay

Long grain rice might be the one most of us (in America) grew up with, but when my cooking grew up, I discovered the glorious short grains. Arborio and, later, carnaroli, the perfect rices for creamy Italian risotto. Nishiki rice, my favorite for sushi. Valencia and its cousin, bomba, for paella.

Sesame shrimp fried rice

Here in The Perfect Pantry, we've followed the rice trail all around the world, beginning with arborio, carnaroli and vialone nano, the Italian short grain rices:

We moved on to the Spanish short grain rices, valencia and bomba:

Then came me-oh-my-a jambalaya, our family's favorite, but that isn't the only recipe here that calls for long grain white rice or the longer-grain basmati:

Vegetable paella

Every market of any size sells long grain white rice, and now the markets in small towns like mine carry basmati, jasmine, and arborio rice (which is sold as "risotto"). I jumped for joy the day I found medium grain Nishiki rice in the Asian food aisle at my regular grocery store, so I could make these recipes:

And, plenty of recipes call for rice as a go-with, including these favorites:

When you bring rice home from the market, transfer it from its bag to an airtight container, to prevent any little flying or crawling stowaways from moving in. Stored in this way, rice will keep for a year or more.

Use the search box on the right (up near the top of this page) to find more recipes and fun facts about white rice in The Perfect Pantry. 

What do you make with white rice? What's your favorite variety?

Comments

There's a neat Buddha 2.0 exhibit going on right now in Washington, DC. That's what I thought of while reading your post.

Love round-ups of recipes like this--looking forward to trying some of them!

Maybe Buddha-ness is in the smile.

This is fun, and if I had to choose only 10 pantry ingredients, there's no doubt that white rice would be on that list.

Now I want to go to Hong Kong again!

I like the aroma of Jasmine rice. I'm going to have to go back and review your posts because I realize I am using long-, where short-grain would be better, and vice versa.

I have fast and furiously become addicted to a rice called kokuho rose....best rice evah! :)

I buy short grain rice in the 50 lb. bag it lasts a year in a family of two -- geez I think I really like rice :) !

Deena, maybe I'll have better luck there!

Susan, that's just the perfect response.

Kalyn, I'd love to go to Hong Kong again, too. Last time we spent 5 days there, after traveling in Malaysia. It was an amazing contrast.

TW, I do love jasmine rice, too, but don't use it often enough to give it its own post here. I'm crazy about basmati, and also love Nishiki rice, but I seem to use long grain white rice most often.

Milton, kokuho rose is like Nishiki. I love it, too.

AZ, I see those 50-pound bags in the Asian grocery and probably should just break down one of these days and buy one!

Oh Lydia, you are so funny! White, short and round! Now me, I'm white, long and round...
If we ever meet, we'll be "Basmati and Bomba"! :)

That was a LOL post! I needed that - also a great review on the rices - I really needed that! I like the remix because it reviews an item and puts all the links in one place.

(ps I am kinda surprised you don't buy the 50lb bags!)

Rice and shrimp! I could eat both of these ingredients for days and it's great to know at least a few different ways to prepare them!

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  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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