Rice is an ancient grain used as staple food worldwide. Its history dates back to approximately 13.000 years ago when it was domesticated in China, near Yangtze and Huai rivers. Rice crops spread from there to Korea and Japan, and began a long journey to the rest of the world.
Generally, when people think of rice, they refer to specific rice preparations or rice packages they bought at the store. However, most would be surprised to learn that there are more than 40.000 types of rice.
The scientific classification includes two principal varieties of rice: Oryza sativa and Oryza glaberrima. The more common way of grouping rice is by its grain length, i.e.: long-, medium-, and short-grain rice.
Every type of rice has a specific texture and flavor, defining its use in certain dishes. Most people tend to use white rice for making all rice recipes. Sometimes, the results are not what they expected, and blame rice, recipe, or even the cooking appliances.
Getting the right texture of rice dishes depends on the type of rice and its content of starch. If you are trying to replicate some rice preparations, take the time to know their characteristics and correct use. Start by using some rice varieties different from those that you commonly use at home. For example, cook Asian cuisine by using aromatic rice like jasmine.
What is Jasmine Rice?
Jasmine rice, also known as Thai Hom Mali, Thai fragrant or Thai Jasmine rice, is long-grain rice characterized by its moist and soft texture, sweet flavor, and unique nutty aroma. The scent is its most recognizable aspect. Some people relate it to popcorns, but in fact, it has a pandan scent.
Its name was given after the sweet-smelling Jasmine flower and because it is grown in Thailand. This country remains the producer of the best quality Jasmine crop.
In Thailand, they take Thai Hom Mali rice cultivation very seriously. For being labeled as true Hom Mai rice, the crops have to get the approval of the Thai ministry of commerce.
There are two main types of this rice: white and brown. The difference between them is that brown rice is a wholegrain that keeps more nutrients and fiber. White rice has lower contents of those nutrients since it has been removed from the bran and the germ.
Jasmine rice´s distinctive flavor, aroma, and texture give all Asian dishes their characteristic flavors. It is typically used for making curry, and stir fry rice.
Using Thai Hom Mali rice
If you want to replicate any Thai dish with rice, only use Jasmine Rice and get outstanding results.
For an amateur cook, the first step would be how to cook a simple white jasmine rice recipe for use as the side dish for any Thai curry or steamed vegetables.
Jasmine Thai rice
Servings: 4 Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 25 minutes
- 2 cups of Jasmine rice.
- 2 2/3 cups of water.
- Salt to taste.
- Soak the rice in cold water to remove the excess of starch. Keep on rinsing until the water is clear.
- In a saucepan, add rice and pour water and salt.
- Cover the saucepan with a lid and bring this mixture to a boil.
- Reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes.
- Cover the saucepan, turn heat off and let stand for 15 minutes.
- Fluff rice with a fork.
Once you have mastered cooking simple jasmine rice, you are ready for the next step and cook a more complicated jasmine rice recipe. But, do not worry; this recipe uses as base the jasmine rice you already know to cook.
Thai fried rice
Servings: 4 Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
- 2 finely chopped garlic cloves.
- 1/2 diced onion.
- 150 g small cooked shrimps
- 3 cut green onions.
- 2 eggs.
- 3 cups of cooked jasmine rice (let cool down at room temperature).
- 1 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce.
- 1 1/2 tablespoon of oyster sauce.
- In a skillet, pour vegetable oil and cook at medium-high heat.
- Incorporate garlic and onion, remove and add shrimps.
- Add green onions, and fry.
- Try to put this mixture to the side and on the other side, add beaten eggs, and cook quickly. Stir all very well.
- Incorporate rice, soy, and oyster sauces. Mix all together.
- Serve immediately.