The “Rice” and Fall

On a cool, crisp autumn day, there’s nothing better than a bowl of steamy rice from my rice cooker.

I remember growing up in South East Asia, when there was a typhoon storm at highest signal level and classes were suspended; my mom would make a tamarind based stew of either pork or seafood with various vegetables and slivers of chili peppers. This was served with steamed rice and with something fried -i.e. spring rolls or fish.  It was a combination of very sour notes from the tamarind, to the saltiness of the fried fish with the creaminess of the steamed jasmine rice.

Rice paddies of Chiang Mai

Rice continues to be an important food item in my father’s household. You have to understand that my father grew up in one of the major rice growing regions in Asia. Rice paddies surround the entire region, with fiestas in every town during harvest time. There is a specific term for every stage and part of the rice plant.

Asia still consumes the highest amount of rice, but it is gaining importance in other parts of the world as well. Allergies to gluten(the protein derived from wheat), the variety of rice available and ease of preparation have all contributed to its appearance in almost every  North American and European household. Its basic taste, makes it a perfect canvas for more flavourful sauces and seasonings.   In addition to savoury products, it has been historically used in desserts such as mochi or rice cakes and fermented into alcoholic beverage such as sake.  At present, it is a popular ingredient in gluten-free and other natural products such as snackfoods, ”rice milk” beverage, pasta, bread and many more.
Just how many varieties of rice are there?
Basically, rice can be divided into two: short grain and long grain rice.

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