Preparation as food
The seeds of
the rice plant are first milled to remove
the outer husks of the grain; this creates
brown rice. This process may be continued,
removing the germ and the rest of the husk,
called bran at this point, creating white
rice. The white rice may then be buffed with
glucose or talc powder (often called
polished rice), parboiled, or processed into
flour. The white rice may also be enriched
to add nutrients, especially those lost
during the milling process. While the
cheapest method of enriching involves adding
a powdered blend of nutrients that will
easily wash off (in the United States, rice
which has been so treated requires a label
warning against rinsing), more sophisticated
methods which apply nutrients directly to
the grain and then coat the grain with a
water insoluble substance are resistant to
washing is counterproductive for the powder
enriched rice, it is absolutely necessary to
create a better tasting and better
consistency of rice when polished rice
(illegal in some countries including the
United States) is used.
Rice bran, called nuka in Japan, is a
valuable commodity in Asia and is used for
many daily needs. It is a moist inner oily
layer that is heated to produce a very
healthy oil. Another use is to make a kind
of pickled vegetable.
The raw rice may be ground into flour for
many uses as well, including making many
kinds of beverages such as amazake, horchata,
rice milk, and sake. Rice flour is generally
safe for people on a gluten-free diet.
The processed rice seeds are usually boiled
or steamed to make them edible, after which
they may be fried in oil, or butter, or
beaten in a tub to make mochi.
other cereal grains, can be puffed (or
popped). This process takes advantage of the
grains' moisture content and typically
involves heating grain pellets in a special
chamber. Further puffing is sometimes
accomplished by processing pre-puffed
pellets in a low-pressure chamber. By the
ideal gas law, one can see that both
lowering the local pressure or raising the
moisture temperature would result in an
increase in volume prior to moisture
evaporation, thus resulting in a puffy
Rice is cooked by boiling or steaming. It
can be cooked in just enough water to cook
it through, or it can be cooked in a large
quantity of water which is drained before
serving. Electric rice cookers, which are
popular in Asia, simplify the process of
Rice may also be made into rice porridge by
adding more water than usual. This way the
rice will be very saturated with water that
it becomes very soft, expanded, and fluffy.
Rice porridge is very easy to digest, so it
is especially suitable for the sick.
Rice may be soaked prior to cooking. Soaked
rice cooks faster. For some varieties,
soaking improves the texture of the cooked
rice by increasing expansion of the grains.
When preparing brown rice, a nutritionally
superior method of preparation known as GABA
Rice or GBR may be used. This involves
soaking washed brown rice for 20 hours in
warm water (38 °C or 100 °F) prior to
cooking it. This process stimulates
germination, which activates various enzymes
in the rice. By this method, a result of the
United Nations Year of Rice, it is possible
to obtain a more complete amino acid
profile, including GABA.
cultivation is considered to have begun
simultaneously in many countries over 6500
years ago. Two species of rice were
domesticated, Asian rice (Oryza sativa) and
African rice (Oryza glaberrima).
It is believed that common wild rice, Oryza
rufipogon, was the wild ancestor of Asian
rice. O. sativa appears to have
originated around the foothills of the
Himalayas, with O. sativa var. indica on the
Indian side and O. sativa var. japonica on
the Chinese side.
African rice has been cultivated for 3500
years. Between 1500 and 800 BCE, O.
glaberrima propagated from its original
center, the Niger River delta, and extended
to Senegal. However, it never developed far
from its original region. Its cultivation
even declined in favor of the Asian species,
possibly brought to the African continent by
Arabs coming from the east coast between the
7th and 11th centuries.
Dry-land rice was introduced to Japan and
Korea circa 1000 BCE. Later wet-paddy
intensive rice agriculture occurred in Korea
during the Middle Mumun pottery period (c.
850-550 BCE) and reached Japan by the Yayoi
circa 300 BCE.
O. sativa was adapted to farming in the
Middle East and Mediterranean Europe around
800 BCE. The Moors brought it to the Iberian
Peninsula when they conquered it in 711 CE.
After the middle of the 15th century, rice
spread throughout Italy and then France,
later propagating to all the continents
during the great age of European
exploration. In 1694, rice arrived in South
Carolina, probably originating from
Madagascar. The Spanish brought rice to
South America at the beginning of the 18th