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Old 06-29-2020, 03:27 PM   #1
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Rules of thumb for choice of rice types?

Hello, cooks - is there a general rule of thumb for which rice you select for a meal? I have a number of choices, and I am not wedded to any one variety (e.g. I don't necessarily choose brown rice for health purposes).

I'm thinking that for a simple fish dish a white scented rice such as basmati is appropriate. But it's more complicated than mild with mild - If I make a rice and greens dish, particularly with the strongest greens such as mustard or kale, I go with plain white rice to offset the bitterness of the greens (also, gently sauteed onions and butter likewise cut the bitterness).

And what about strongly flavored sauces, such as chicken creole or such? Next week I'll be making a Greek rice salad with spicy hot olives and feta cheese, etc., and I'm thinking to go with brown rice even though it's not traditional.

Do any of you have rules of thumb for rice?

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Old 06-29-2020, 04:31 PM   #2
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I think personal preference drives this choice. Using your example... a greek rice salad with black olives and feta seems to call out for a scented rice like basmati (personal opinion). Rice texture should be considered as well. Rice salads a flakier rice rather than clumpy/sticky might be a good choice.
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Old 06-29-2020, 04:35 PM   #3
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I think personal preference drives this choice. Using your example... a greek rice salad with black olives and feta seems to call out for a scented rice like basmati (personal opinion). Rice texture should be considered as well. Rice salads a flakier rice rather than clumpy/sticky might be a good choice.
Thanks, Janet. For the sake of discussion, though, wouldn't the scented rice be lost in the strong flavors and smells of a Greek salad? I'm not disputing your advice, just trying to derive some general guidelines. (I like all kinds of rice, so don't have a strong personal preference.)
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Old 06-29-2020, 05:34 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Pellice View Post
Thanks, Janet. For the sake of discussion, though, wouldn't the scented rice be lost in the strong flavors and smells of a Greek salad? I'm not disputing your advice, just trying to derive some general guidelines. (I like all kinds of rice, so don't have a strong personal preference.)

Maybe but since it's a certainty that unscented rice would be lost in the the flavor noise, maybe the delicate scent of basmati would be nice. I don't really know - it's just what I would try. I googled greek rice salad and see that a lot of them use long grain brown.

I also like all kinds of rice ;)
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Old 06-30-2020, 07:18 AM   #5
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I think the brown rice would be about right, fitting in with the flavour profile.

I also think that yes, you would be able to taste the basmati as you bit into the grains -but rather think the profile just wouldn't match the dish.
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Old Yesterday, 03:01 AM   #6
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For a Greek salad, black rice, or better yet, wild rice would add great texture, and flavor. With chickrn, unless chicken soup, I like Jasmine rice. It's fluffy, with delicate, floral notes that compliment the savory chicken. Plain long grain white rice is great for fried rice. Basamati can be used interchangably with Jasmine. Short grain rice is great for soups, risotoes, and rice puding due to its high starch content. Black rice is very nutricios, has great texture, and flavor. It would be great with duck, goose, as a stuffing for turkey, or chicken, and with all things that swim.

The omly caveat is knowing the proper cooking texhniques for different kinds of rice. Google is your friend, and I currently don't have time to go through them. It's bedtime now.

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Old Yesterday, 05:40 AM   #7
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LOL - I learned that you cannot cook black and white rice together. You get purple rice. It is a shame but you do have to use 2 pots, then gently stir together.

When I do a large batch of rice for either a group of people or to freeze, I will often do it in the micro. I start with brown rice, cook for about 10 or 15 minutes, then add the white rice and finish. Sometimes I will also add, for maybe the last 5 minutes, chopped/minced red/green/yellow/orange peppers, colourful.
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Old Yesterday, 01:40 PM   #8
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I think the brown rice would be about right, fitting in with the flavour profile.
Dragnlaw, I'm intrigued by your reference to "flavour profile." I think that was what I was aiming at, but the term itself is, probably inevitably, hard to define. It's not about: ethnicity, taste, or preparation. Or rather, it includes all of these - I think. If I can ever work out what I'm getting at, I'll post a separate thread. But you helped me get a handle on a Greek rice salad. (not THE Greek rice salad, but one possible salad). In this case, I'm putting together a lot of strong flavors, not showcasing one. I'm also combining a lot of textures - am considering throwing in pine nuts or walnuts too, just for some crunch - and I'd like the rice to add a separate texture too. I'm not aiming for authenticity (which would probably make it into a bread salad, lol!), and the wild rice that Chef Longwind mentioned, or, even more so, the black rice, would add even more complexity, but - those are expensive ingredients for what I'm aiming at producing (lunch for a few days!).

I like the idea of a "flavour profile," even if I don't entirely comprehend it.
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Old Yesterday, 03:28 PM   #9
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It's amazing how many varieties of rice there are! Besides the aromatics of the jasmine and basmati, the main difference is the texture. Jasmine is the most aromatic, but some don't like its extreme stickiness, which can be reduced some by rinsing. Stickiness isn't always bad, as with sushi rice, and arborio type rices are very high in amylopectin, creating that thickness of a risotto, but still keeping a chewiness to it. Sticky sticky rice sticks to itself, but not your fingers, which is why it's the rice used in regions where they eat with their hands, and the rice is sort of used as a scoop! That would be even messier, using black sticky rice! But I use black sticky rice for delicious rice pudding; same with jasmine rice. Long grain rices in general are the least sticky (though jasmine is a long grain, technically), and basmati and parboiled (converted) rices are the least sticky of any of them.

The different rices have various starches in them, making the different flours good for different uses. You'll find more variety in rices and flours in Indian markets than any other Asian markets, most of which have just a few.

I use mostly brown basmati and brown jasmine rices now, though I used to buy white jasmine in 25 lb bags! I'm not diabetic, or even pre-diabetic, but some friends are, and I've been trying to reduce white rice and flours. However, when making SE Asian foods, I have to have white jasmine - the brown simply doesn't have the aroma. But I cook it in a 50/50 mix with millet - a very nutritious grain, that doesn't add much flavor to it, and the jasmine flavor comes through loud and clear, even with those intense flavors they are paired with.
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Old Yesterday, 06:58 PM   #10
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I guess in this case "flavour profile" is how one would be made to think of as 'Greek' food.

Flavours like anything else, are in the flavour buds of the taster!

While trying to figure out how to word this response, I came across this blog, which I have not entirely read... yet... but certainly sounds interesting and in a language I can understand!

flavour notes

maybe this will help us both! and others?
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Old Today, 02:07 AM   #11
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...I'm also combining a lot of textures - am considering throwing in pine nuts or walnuts too, just for some crunch....
If you're making a Greek-inspired salad, consider pistachios for it. They play well with other Greek ingredients.

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...I'm not aiming for authenticity (which would probably make it into a bread salad, lol!)...
You say that like "bread salad" isn't a "thing". While we did try Fattoush salad once, Himself and I really enjoy Panzanella salad a few times during hot summer weather.
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Old Today, 04:01 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Cooking Goddess View Post
If you're making a Greek-inspired salad, consider pistachios for it. They play well with other Greek ingredients.


You say that like "bread salad" isn't a "thing". While we did try Fattoush salad once, Himself and I really enjoy Panzanella salad a few times during hot summer weather.
Greek food and salad with bread makes me think of taramosalata - that lovely fish roe appetizer.
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Old Today, 09:09 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by You say that like "bread salad" isn't a "thing". :lol: While we did try [URL="https://www.themediterraneandish.com/fattoush-salad/"
Fattoush salad[/URL] once, Himself and I really enjoy Panzanella salad a few times during hot summer weather.
No, I absolutely think bread salad is a thing, and probably more "authentically" Greek than rice. It's just that I laugh whenever I think of how the extolled-to-the-heavens "Mediterranean Diet" ALWAYS excludes bread - the bread that is absolutely the foundation of the genuine Mediterranean diet!
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