January 28, 2010

What do you know about rice?

This week, my regular appearance on the Today show was devoted to rice, a beloved staple around the world.  There are thousands of varieties of this most versatile grain and it can be prepared in countless ways.  Basically, rice is classified by its size.  A grain of long-grain rice is four to five times longer than it is wide, and the individual grains separate when cooked.  Well-known long-grains include the classic American Carolina rice, wild pecan rice, and the very aromatic basmati rice.  Although basmati varieties are grown domestically in California, Texas, and Louisiana, these tend to be less aromatic than the basmati grown in India, where high-quality basmati is prized and cellared like fine wine. Short-grain rice has fat, nearly round grains that have a higher starch content, which causes the rice to stick together when cooked.  Japanese sushi rice is one example of a short-grain rice, as is Arborio, which was especially developed for the creamy Italian dish called risotto.  Medium-grain rice falls in between, both in size and starch content.  Rice is called 'brown' when the bran and germ are left on the grain.  More nutritious, and having a nutty flavor, brown rice takes a bit longer to cook and has a shorter shelf life than white rice.  On Today, I demonstrated some of the delicious recipes featured in the February issue of my magazine, Martha Stewart Living.  Please pick up a copy for some really inspiring ideas.

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