In this article, I would like to touch on the most common types of rice available in grocery stores and to answer your question about what kind of rice to use in different vegan dishes and suitable substitutes.
Why does the type of rice matter in vegan cooking?
Types of rice vary not only in their shape and form but also in the cooking time, taste, color, and texture. Whether it is stew. risotto or pilaf, depending on the dish you are preparing, rice plays a great role in its end result, what is the difference between brown rice and white rice, and how long to cook those types of rice for an optimal result.
Whole Grain Rice vs White Rice
Whole Grain Rice is a much healthier choice of any type of rice because it contains all parts of the grain, including bran and germ, where the most nutrients are concentrated. This type of rice grain rice typically has brown, red, or black color. Due to the harder bran, the cooking time of whole-grain rice is longer. Generally speaking, you can always substitute white rice with brown, but the cooking time will be longer, the texture of the dish will also be different.
White Rice is the rice, where the bran and germ have been removed and only the white part of the rice called endosperm remains. Therefore, this type of rice has much fewer nutrients. However, it cooks quicker, it is softer in texture.
The same kind of rice, such as basmati, for example, can be white or whole-grain (brown) depending on how it has been processed. Depending on the origin of the recipes different kinds of white rice is used in different dishes, read the exact types of rice and their use below.
Colour of the Rice
Brown Rice is a common name of whole-grain different rice types. It can be a long, medium, or short-grain rice, which has its whole grain structure. I recommend using brown rice for side dishes, fillings, stews, and soups. Brown rice preserves its shape while cooking and won’t become mushy. The cooking time of the brown rice is usually 25-40 minutes, depending on which type of brown rice it is.
Red rice is a variety of brown whole-grain rice. The red color comes from an antioxidant called anthocyanins. Dark Purple or reddish fruits and vegetables( like blueberries or red cabbage) have the same healthy antioxidant. Red rice is nutty and a little sweet in flavor, that is why you can use it in rice porridge, Asian rice dishes, puddings, or cooked on its own as a side dish. It usually takes about 35-40 minutes to cook red rice.
Types of Black Rice
While rice is originated in North America and China. It is very nutty and earthy, chewy, and crunchy. and I can’t get enough of it. It is quite different in texture from all the other kinds of rice and even often classified as a cereal. This rice does not stick together and takes around 40-45 minutes to cook until soft, however, it is also good undercooked with more crunch too. I recommend mixing rice with white or brown rice in dishes to add more variety and texture to any dish. On its own, it is good to use for fillings, salads, and soups.
Black Glutinous Rice
This type of Black Rice is whole grain rice, originated in Thailand and China, black in colour due to a high antioxidant level called anthocyanins. Because of its sticking abilities, this type of black rice is perfect for making rice sushi (like in this recipe), Japanese rice balls (like in this recipe), sticky rice Asian style desserts, and puddings. Its cooking time is around 35-40 minutes.
The white color of the rice indicates that this rice has been processed and the bran and the germ have been removed. White rice is very aromatic and has a shorter cooking time. However, it has lost mots of its nutrient-dense parts, mostly starch is preserved. Read more about which rice is healthier here.
The Most Common White Rice, Types, Usage Dos and Dont’s
Basmati rice is long-grained rice. It comes from Himalaya and very common in Indian and other South Asian dishes. The cooking time of basmati rice is about 7-10 minutes and the rice-water ratio is 1:2. White Basmati Rice can be very airy and fluffy if you rinse it well before cooking.
Basmati Rice Dos
In vegan cooking, basmati rice works best as a side with protein-rich Indian curries, for you can also use this rice for central Asian pilaf and other Indian dishes like biryani.
Basmati Rice Dont’s
Don’t use basmati rice for paellas, sushi, and puddings, as some recipes recommend, it just spoils the authenticity of these dishes and they don’t taste as good.
Jasmine rice is a long-grain variety of rice, grown in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. It is very aromatic, it has a sort of oaty or popcorn-like aroma, very unique and inviting flavor when you cook it. You are more likely to find the white type of Jasmin rice on the supermarket shelves, I have barely seen ant brown Jasmin rice in my region. The cooking time of the white jasmine rice is about 15 minutes + 5 minutes off the stove under the closed lid to settle. You can steam it.
Jasmin Rice Dos
Thai curries, fried rice, stir-fries, anything with soy sauce, oyster sauce, or miso paste. In Asian-style soups – only if cooked separately and added at the serving point. Keep it fresh and fluffy.
Jasmin Rice Dont’s
Don’t cook Indian dishes with it, sushi, salads, and soups, because it will quickly become mushy and soggy.
Risotto Rice (Arborio)
Arborio is an Italian short-grain type of rice, found mostly white. It has quite a round shape. Arborio rice is very creamy, soft outside, with a firm heart, has a subtle flavor. It takes about 20 minutes to cook it. It absorbs a lot of liquid and infuses the flavours of the broth you cook it in, becomes larger in size when cooked.
Arborio Rice Dos
All kinds of risotto, Italian stews, and soups, a good substitute for Spanish Bomba rice to make a good paella.
Arborio Rice Don’t
Don’t use Arborio rice for Asian dishes, pilaf, salads, fillings, as a plain steamed rice side dish- too plain without adding flavor.
Sushi Rice is a short-grain white Japanese rice, which is called Sushi Rice is not an official name for this rice. Just for European people to make it clear which rice to chose if you want to make sushi. In fact, you can make sushi with whole grain rice, red rice, and even quinoa! This Japanese white rice is sticky, soft, and flavourful. The cooking time of this rice is very short- around 10-15 minutes.
Sushi Rice Dos
Obviously all types of sushi, sushi rolls, yaki onigiri, or serve it on the side for any Japanese main dish. You can also use sushi rice instead of sticky white rice for sweet Asian dishes, Asian rice puddings, etc. In Germany,for example, a similar type of rice is called Mill rice and widely used for all kinds of sweet rice porridge.
Sushi Rice Dont’s
Don’t use it in curries, soups, pilaf, fried rice or stews, because it doesn’t hold its shape well and can simply become mushy, more looking like a porridge.
Parboiled rice is the type of rice that has been partially boiled. That means that it has been soaked first, and then steamed and dried for further packing and selling. During parboiling the nutrients go from the bran to the endosperm (the white part of the rice, so this white rice becomes more nutritious than usual dried white rice. Read the comparison between the nutrient content of white rice and parboiled rice here. It is healthier than white rice. It takes about 30 minutes to parboiled rice, but the exact timing depends on how that rice was processed. Read the cooking instruction on the package.
Parboiled Rice Dos
You can use parboiled rice with curries, fried rice, soups in fillings and other savoury dishes instead of white rice. Parboiled rice holds its shape well and doesn’t stick together that much.
Parboiled Rice Dont’s
Don’t put parboiled rice in risotto, paella, sushi, any sweet or savory Asian dishes where rice should be sticky because it will fall apart.
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