Rice is the staple food for perhaps as much as half of the world’s population. But what exactly is it? Rice is a form of grain plant that grows in very wet environments. Rice is most often grown in what are called rice paddies which are heavily irrigated areas of land there specialized for such a purpose. Much of the world’s rice is grown in Asian countries such as China and India. There are actually many different kinds of rice. When most people think of rice, they are thinking of basmati or jasmine rice in its white rice form, meaning that it has been separated from the skins that would deign it a brown rice. Wild rice grains are actually black or dark purple in color and are usually less tender once cooked, but with a distinctive flavor. Another very distinctive type of rice is what is called sticky rice. Sticky rice becomes very stretchy and gelatinous when cooked. It is often used in Southeast Asian cooking.
Rice is quite high in starch and as a result is very nutritious and sustaining as a staple food. Rice is often accompanied by other dishes but can also be eaten plainly steamed or boiled. Rice can also be seasoned itself to made such dishes as paella and risotto, or even be a lesser ingredient in such dishes as rice pudding or rice pancakes. Rice can also be ground and used as a flour to create pastas and other foods.
To cook a pot of white rice, place one part rice into two parts water and bring to a boil. Stir it once and then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer with a tight lid for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.