There are many kinds of rice: white, brown, black, wild and red. The varieties come in long and short grain varieties. The short grain rice tends to clump together, and is known in Hawaii as "sticky rice." Japanese favor it because if can be easily handled with a traditional rice paddle when being served, or even an ice cream scoop. Long grain rice tends to flop onto the plate. There is actually another category of rice, the instant kind made famous by "Uncle Ben" brand and Minute rice. Minute rice even comes in a microwave variety. If you really don't have the time to make rice, the instant kind is available, but the taste is lost.

Fine white rice from India is known as "basmati" rice. It comes both white and brown. Brown rice retains its hull and therefore has more fiber making it more healthy to eat. Basmati rice is very fragrant. Many people have mentioned to me it smells like popcorn. Another fragrant Asian rice is Jasmine rice, grown primarily in Thailand. Red rice, or "cargo rice" is a long grain rice also from Thailand. It is not very fragrant. It is odd looking though. Jasmine rice is usually white. In Sri Lanka a very fine, very expensive rice is available known as "pearl" rice. The "pearl" rice kernels are so small they are almost round.

Most of the rice grown in the United States is short grain white rice known Calrose rice. It is sticky and holds flavor well. It is often used in making sushi and rice balls. Rice balls are a Japanese snack made of well salted rice, formed into a ball, wrapped in "nori" i.e. Japanese dried seaweed with a treat in the middle. Usually the treat in the middle of a rice ball is something salty, like a pickled plum known as "ume" in Japan, or tunafish. In Hawai'i, musubi are often made with Spam.

Red Cargo rice is a type of non-glutinous long grain rice is similar to brown rice, in that it is unpolished rice, only the color of the bran is reddish maroon. The husks of the rice grains are removed during the milling process, retaining all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals intact in the bran layer and in the germ. Cargo rice is a better source of fiber than white rice. Because it is still somewhat exotic, it isn't available in an instant variety.

Red rice is also a good source of Thiamin (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), iron and calcium. The flavor of cooked red cargo rice is generally a more sweet nutty. The rice is more chewy than standard white polished rice. Red rice takes longer to cook than white rice, but not as long as brown rice. Soaking the rice in water for at least 30 minutes before cooking produces a softer texture. Use twice as much water to rice to cook it.

Rice can be brought to a boil, then covered and lowered to a simmer for an hour while the liquid is absorbed. It can also be easily be steamed in a rice cooker. Rice cookers are great because they never burn the rice. It turns itself off automatically when the rice is done. Rice is usually cooked in water, but can be cooked in any liquid. Cook it in chicken stock for more flavor, or add a tablespoon or butter or olive oil in with brown rice to soften the texture. Cook any kind of rice with a soup mix for added flavor, or add a pinch of saffron for a pretty yellow color to white rice.

Black rice is one of several black-colored heirloom plants producing rice variants such as Indonesian Black Rice and Forbidden Rice. It is high in nutritional value, especially iron. Unlike other black rice from Asia, it is not glutinous or rough. This grain is high in fiber and has a deep, nutty taste. Black "forbidden rice"-so named originally because it was considered the Emperor's rice and was literally forbidden for anyone else to eat it. It is a deep black color and turns deep purple when cooked. Its dark purple color is primarily due to its high anthocyanin content [1] [2]. It has a relatively high mineral content (including iron) and, like most rice, supplies several important amino acids.

Brown short grain rice became popular in the United States via hippy culture. Brown rice has more fiber than white rice and does taste good with curry or buttered with salt. It's a little too tough for sushi or rice pudding. Rice pudding is made by mixing the cooked rice with sugary milk and vanilla. It is similar to tapioca pudding. Sometimes nutmeg is sprinkled on top.

Wild rice is native both to North America and China. In Pre-Columbian times maize (what has come to be known as "corn") and white rice were the only cereal grains in North America. North American wild rice grows in marshy areas and is a natural food for ducks. The Native Americans would harvest the grain by getting out to where it was via canoe. They would brush the plant with "knockers" and the mature grain would fall into the bottom of the canoe. A "knocker" is a stick about a pound in weight, an inch in diameter and maybe 30 inches long. Wild rice is a splendid mixture of colors and looks very beautiful when served. Wild rice from China is rarely imported to the US due to agricultural problems regarding the fungus which can grow on the rice.

Rice flour (mochiko) can be used to make delicious "mochi" or Japanese rice cakes. Make butter mochi by whisking together 5 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla and 3 cups milk in bowl. In a separate larger bowl, stir together a pound of rice flour, 2 and a half cups white sugar, and a tsp baking powder. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir to blend. Mix in 1/2 a cup melted butter and a cup sweet flaked coconut. Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven at 350.