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Of all the many different types of rice available, there are two main types of commonly used in the catering industry, long grain and short grain.  

Long grain rice is characterized by its narrow, pointed grains.  It is best suited to savory dishes and plain boiled rice because it has a firm structure which helps to keep the grains separate.  Long grain rice can be cooked by boiling, steaming or the pilaf method. It can be served plain as an accompaniment to a dish or it can be cooked as a dish on its own, such as fried rice and paella.  Long grain rice is less absorbent than short grain rice, absorbing about one and a half times its bulk in liquid.

Short grain rice is characterized by its short, rounded grains.  it is best suited to milk puddings and sweet dishes because of its sot texture.  it is usually cooked by boiling.  Short grain rice will absorb over four times its bulk in liquid.  

Both long and short grain rice can be bought in the polished form commonly referred to as white rice. 

Brown rice is any rice that has the outer covering removed but the bran retained. Because of this, it is more nutritious.  It has nutty flavor and a slightly chewy texture when cooked.  Brown rice takes longer to cook than white rice.

Parboiled or converted rice is a commercial product which has been pre-cooked and dried.  Its cooking time is shorter.  The brown grain is cooked before milling by a special steam-pressure process which impregnates the inner grain with some of the nutrients of the bran, helping to retain its food value.  This type of rice takes longer to cook than white rice, but the advantage is that it produce plump, fluffy, separated grains.   

Preparation and cooking of rice
Most varieties of white rice must be washed before cooking. Washing ensures that the loose starch, a white powder is removed. If it is not washed, the rice grains are more likely to stick together.  Rice should be washed in plenty of clean water until the water runs clear.

Whatever method you select to cook rice depends on the type of rice.  it is always best to follow the manufacturer's instructions. There are two common methods of cooking rice, the absorption method and the boiling method.

The absorption method This is an easy way of cooking rice and the grains stay separate and fluffy.  It is suitable for brown and white rice, although brown rice will take longer.
  • Cook the rice in liquid (water or stock) using the ratio of onr part rice to one and a quarter parts liquid (1:1.25).
  • For brown rice use the ratio of one part rice to two and half parts liquid (1:2.5).
  • Cook on top of the stove
  • The rice is cooked when the liquid is completely absorbed.
The boiling method
  • Cook rice in plenty of boiling water until al dente.  Salt can be added to the water for extra flavor.  The rice should be firm and slightly chewy, but should not taste chalky.
  • Drain the rice and finish off according to service.
If needed immediately:
  • refresh in cold water
  • drain thoroughly
  • store covered for later use.
Pilaf is a way of preparing rice basically by the absorption method. Butter is melted in a small pot.  Long grain rice is added and sweated until it is lightly cooked without color. Boiling stock is added and the rice is seasoned.  The pot is covered with a tight fitting lid and placed in oven.  The cooking time depends on the amount of rice, but when all the moisture is absorbed, the rice is cooked.

Storage of rice

Uncooked rice stores well if kept in containers with tight fitting lids in a cool well-ventilated place.

Cooked rice should be well-drained and covered before storing.  It will keep well for up to a week in the refrigerator or cool room.   



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