Medium-Grain Rice: Learn About Types & How to Cook it

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Medium-grain rice is a type of rice that is, as the name suggests, somewhere between short-grain and long-grain rice. It is a bit longer than short-grain rice but shorter than long-grain rice, and it tends to be a little bit squatter than both. Essentially, medium-grain rice is a compromise between the two other types of rice.

What is medium-grain rice

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What Makes Medium-Grain Rice Ideal for Certain Dishes?

Medium-grain rice is known for its ability to absorb moisture and release starch, creating a softer, creamier consistency than long-grain rice. This makes it a common choice for dishes that require a bit of stickiness, such as risotto or sushi. Some of the most famous examples of medium-grain rice include Arborio and Bomba.

Mastering the Art of Cooking Medium Grain Rice

Before making your perfect medium-grain rice, make sure to rinse the grains in cold water. This will remove any excess starch and dirt that may be present. Rinse until the water runs clear.

Cooking

Here’s the best way to cook medium-grain rice:

  • Measure the rice: For every cup of rice, use one and a half cups of water.
  • Add water to the pot: Pour the water into a big pot and turn the heat to high.
  • Add rice and stir: Once the water starts boiling, add the rice and stir vigorously with a wooden spatula to prevent the grains from sticking together.
  • Cover the pot: Once the rice is evenly distributed in the pot, cover it with a lid.
  • Turn down the heat: Turn down the heat to low and let the rice simmer for 18-20 minutes.
  • Check the rice: After 18-20 minutes, check if the rice is cooked. If it’s still hard, add a little more water and let it cook for a few more minutes.
  • Let it rest: Once the rice is cooked, turn off the heat and let it rest for 5-10 minutes.
  • Fluff the rice: After resting, use a wooden spatula to fluff the rice and scrape the bottom of the pot to make sure no grains are stuck.

Exploring the Different Types of Medium Grain Rice

Medium grain rice is a type of rice that is a little bit shorter and plumper than long-grain rice. It is known for its sticky texture and ability to absorb and release water easily. Some of the most common varieties of medium grain rice include:

  • Calrose Rice: This is a type of medium grain rice that is commonly used in Asian dishes. It is known for its slim, short grains and tends to be a bit stickier than other types of medium grain rice.
  • Arborio Rice: This is a type of medium grain rice that is commonly used in making risotto. It is known for its high starch content and ability to absorb liquid, which gives it a creamy texture.
  • Bomba Rice: This is a type of medium grain rice that is commonly used in making paella. It is known for its ability to absorb liquid without getting mushy and for its slightly nutty flavor.

Tips for Cooking Medium Grain Rice

If you’re cooking medium grain rice for the first time, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Use a 1:1.5 ratio of rice to water when cooking medium grain rice.
  • Rinse the rice before cooking to remove any excess starch.
  • Use a heavy-bottomed pot to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom.
  • Let the rice rest for a few minutes after cooking to allow it to absorb any remaining liquid.
  • Use a fork to fluff the rice and separate the grains before serving.

The Different Types of Rice Grains and Their Characteristics

When it comes to rice, the size of the grain matters. Rice is classified based on the length of the grain, with short, medium, and long-grain being the most common types. Here’s what you need to know about the differences between them:


  • Short-grain rice:

    As the name suggests, this type of rice has short, plump grains that are wider than they are long. Short-grain rice tends to be sticky and chewy when cooked, making it perfect for sushi and other molded dishes. It’s also a common ingredient in Japanese cuisine. Some of the most popular varieties of short-grain rice include sushi rice and arborio rice, which is used to make risotto.

  • Medium-grain rice:

    Medium-grain rice is slightly longer and thinner than short-grain rice, but still plump and tender when cooked. It tends to be a bit less sticky than short-grain rice, but still has a soft texture. Some of the most common varieties of medium-grain rice include calrose rice, which is often used in everyday dishes, and bomba rice, which is used to make paella.

  • Long-grain rice:

    Long-grain rice has long, thin grains that stay fluffy and separate when cooked. It tends to be less sticky than short and medium-grain rice, and has a distinct firm texture. Some of the most popular varieties of long-grain rice include basmati rice, which is commonly used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine, and jasmine rice, which is a staple in Thai cuisine. Long-grain rice is also a common ingredient in American recipes, such as rice pilaf and jambalaya.

How to Cook Different Types of Rice Grains

Each type of rice grain requires specific cooking methods and ratios of water to rice. Here are some tips for cooking different types of rice:


  • Short-grain rice:

    When cooking short-grain rice, use a ratio of 1:1.25 (one part rice to 1.25 parts water). Rinse the rice thoroughly before cooking to remove excess starch, which can cause the rice to become too sticky. Short-grain rice is best cooked in a heavy-bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid.

  • Medium-grain rice:

    To cook medium-grain rice, use a ratio of 1:1.5 (one part rice to 1.5 parts water). Rinse the rice before cooking to remove excess starch. Medium-grain rice tends to cook faster than long-grain rice, so keep an eye on it to avoid overcooking.

  • Long-grain rice:

    When cooking long-grain rice, use a ratio of 1:2 (one part rice to two parts water). Rinse the rice before cooking to remove excess starch. Long-grain rice tends to be more forgiving than other types of rice, so it’s a good choice for beginners. However, be cautious not to overcook it, as it tends to become mushy when cooked for too long.

Substituting Different Types of Rice Grains in Recipes

If a recipe calls for a specific type of rice, it’s best to use that type of rice to ensure the best outcome. However, if you don’t have the right type of rice on hand, here are some tips for substituting different types of rice grains:


  • Short-grain rice:

    Short-grain rice can be substituted with medium-grain rice in most recipes. However, be cautious that the final texture may be slightly different.

  • Medium-grain rice:

    Medium-grain rice can be substituted with short-grain or long-grain rice in most recipes. However, the final texture may be slightly different depending on the type of rice used.

  • Long-grain rice:

    Long-grain rice can be substituted with basmati or jasmine rice in most recipes. However, be cautious that the final texture may be slightly different, and the cooking time may need to be adjusted.

The Importance of Rice Grain Classification

The classification of rice grains is important for a few reasons:


  • Texture:

    The texture of the rice grain contributes to the final texture of the dish. For example, short-grain rice is perfect for sushi because it’s sticky and chewy, while long-grain rice is perfect for rice pilaf because it stays fluffy and separate.

  • Cooking Method:

    Each type of rice grain requires a specific cooking method and ratio of water to rice. Using the wrong type of rice can result in a dish that’s overcooked or undercooked.

  • Flavor:

    Different types of rice grains have different flavors. For example, basmati rice has a nutty flavor, while jasmine rice has a floral aroma.

Cautions When Cooking Rice

When cooking rice, it’s important to exercise caution to avoid burning or sticking:


  • Rinse the rice:

    Rinsing the rice before cooking removes excess starch and prevents the rice from becoming too sticky.

  • Use the right amount of water:

    Using too much water can result in mushy rice, while using too little water can result in undercooked rice.

  • Don’t lift the lid:

    Lifting the lid while the rice is cooking can release steam and affect the cooking time and texture of the rice.

  • Let the rice rest:

    After the rice is cooked, let it rest for a few minutes before fluffing it with a fork. This allows the rice to absorb any remaining moisture and ensures that it’s evenly cooked.

In conclusion, rice is a universal food that comes in many different forms. Whether you’re preparing breakfast, lunch, or dinner, there’s a type of rice that’s perfect for the job. By understanding the different types of rice grains and their characteristics, you can work with them to create the perfect dish every time.

Conclusion

Medium-grain rice is a type of rice with a medium-sized grain and a bit of starch. It’s known for being a good substitute for both long- and short-grain rice and can be used for a variety of dishes.

So, if you’re looking for a starchy rice that’s not too sticky, medium-grain rice is the way to go.

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.