Know Your Rice

Rice is a wonderfully versatile grain found in a wide range of dishes and there are many varieties to choose from. Some types are a familiar favorite with many chefs, such as white rice. However, there are others, like black rice, that novice cooks may not have heard of. As someone in culinary school programs, you’ll want to be able to cook with a many kinds of rice and understand the differences between them.

This grain should be included in a balanced diet because it is a good source of protein, essential B vitamins, fiber and vitamin E. Thiamine, niacin and iron are also found in most rice varieties. Being able to cook with a wide range of rice will be a valuable skill for culinary academy students, as it is gluten-free and fits within most people’s dietary restrictions.

Brown rice
Brown rice is the pre-refined version of white rice and is one of the healthiest whole grains you can find. Unlike white rice, brown rice still contains its side hull and bran so it is rich in proteins and minerals. It also is a good grain to eat when trying to lose weight because it contains “good” carbs that can help boost metabolism and burn fat. Brown rice is also dense while still being relatively low on calories, making you feel full longer without adding on extra weight. In addition to these benefits, brown rice has been found to support cardiovascular health.

Black rice
While it’s not as common in America, black rice has actually been eaten in Asia for centuries. One version of this rice is known as Forbidden Rice because it was once reserved only for the upper class in ancient China. Black rice has many of the same nutrients as brown types, but it has the added benefit of being loaded with antioxidants. This may be surprising, considering that grains are not typically associated with disease-fighting nutrients. According to research conducted by the Department of Food Science at Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, a single spoonful of black rice was found to contain more antioxidants than blueberries except black rice has less sugar and more fiber and vitamin E.

White rice
Despite its overwhelming popularity, white rice is unfortunately lacking in significant nutritional quality. In fact, not only does it not contribute to your health like brown rice does, it has also been found to put you at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes if consumed regularly. However, white rice stores longer than brown and is a staple in many Asian dishes. If you need to use white rice, try parboiled or enriched ones for at least a little nutrition.

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