A little known fact is that long grain rice is healthier for you than short-grain rice. Why is this the case? Well, its to do with the Glycemic index.
Basically, the Glycemic Index (GI) is a relative ranking of carbohydrate in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels.
In this case , lower is better as this means that long grain rice is more slowly digested, absorbed and metabolized which, in turn causes a lower and slower rise in blood glucose levels.
So, if given the choice, its probably a good idea to eat more long grain than short grain rice – right?
But, there is a problem – of course – and that is that long grain rice can be trickier to cook. But, not if you follow these simple steps.
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Who Loves Long-grain?
Long-grain rice is particularly popular variety in the Middle East and Indian sub-continent where its aromatic flavor makes a perfect complement to the spicy dishes that are so loved in these regions.
However, when it comes to taste and texture, long-grain rice is drier than short-grain and the kernels do not stick together so it needs to be cooked slightly differently. But before we explore how to cook long grain rice, lets take a look at the different varieties.
What Are The Varieties of Long Grain Rice?
Rice is typically grouped according to the size of the grain; long-grain, medium-grain, and short-grain.
Additionally, there are also special types of rice within each of these broad categorizations such as Basmati Rice or Jasmine Rice.
Long-grain rice tends to be drier, fluffier and doesn’t stick together the way that short grain rice does so, if you are a big fan of Pilaf and rice salads, for example, then long-grain rice is the perfect choice for these recipes. It is also a great choice for Mediterranean or Indian dishes which feature thick sauces.
How Long Does Long Grain Rice Take To Cook?
Like most kinds of food, cooking time varies depending on the results required as well as a number of other factors such as they type of grain e.g. white or brown and even things like the altitude that you live at (yes really!)
As a guide, a cup of white long-grain rice usually takes about 20-30 minutes to cook on the stove but when using a rice cooker, its more like 25-35 minutes.
Brown long-grain rice usually takes a bit longer – between 30-35 minutes on the stovetop and roughly 30-40 minutes in a rice cooker.
Remember, these are just guides, if in doubt, always check the label.
Do You Need More Water When Cooking Long Grain Rice?
An important factor to consider when cooking long-grain rice is how much water to use. The first thing to say is that, generally, long-grain rice requires more water than short-grain.
In general, brown long-grain rice needs at least 2 and 1/4 cups of water to a cup of rice whereas white long-grain requires a little less – generally 1 and 3/4 cup of water to every cup of rice.
To get the best results, I recommend that you soaking the grains in a bowl of water for at least 30 minutes as this reduces the cooking time required and requires less water – and less energy – to get the same results..
Is Long Grain Rice Healthy?
Most folks I know think that brown rice is the healthiest kind because it is wholegrain. That’s certainly true, but it doesn’t mean that long-grain rice is unhealthy – in fact long-grain rice has many health benefits and is great for anyone trying to lose weight or just eat well.
One of the major advantages of long-grain rice, as I mentioned above is its low GI-index which means that you dont get the same carbohydrate and calorie spike as when you eat short-grain rice.
Just look at some of these numbers…
- Basmati, long-grain has a GI score of 57
- White, long-grain which has been boiled for approximately 15 minutes has a GI rating of 50
- Brown, long-grain gas 54 GI score
So, as you can see, there’s not really a lot of difference between long grain and brown rice so its suitable for most diets including people who suffer from diabetes . One thing to remember, though , is that the longer you cook the rice, the higher it’s GI rating will be.
How to Cook Long Grain Rice in a Rice Cooker
You knew I was going to say this but cooking long-grain rice in a rice cooker is definitely the simplest and most effective way to get great results. It really is as simple as measuring the rice, mixing in the right amount of water and selecting the best program depending on your rice cooker.
If you are lucky to have a rice cooker that sports advanced features such as fuzzy-logic then you dont even need to keep an eye on things but, even in a cheap $20 rice cooker, all it takes is a quick check every 5-10 minutes and a quick stir to make sure things are moving along smoothly. Here’s the mix I use to get the best results in my rice cooker
What you will need:
- A cup of white, long-grain rice
- 1 and 3/4 cup of water
- A teaspoon of butter
- Herbs and spices
How to Cook:
- Measure out a cup of long-grain white rice into a sieve or colander.
- Wash the rice under running water draining and gently mixing it with you hands at least 3 times or until the water is clear. Drain the water completely.
- Put the washed rice along with the 1 and 3/4 cups of water into the cooker – at this point you can put in an of the additional ingredients as required.
- Select the program on and let it cook. Conventional rice cookers only have 2 options which are Cook and Keep Warm, while modern and upgraded ones have more specific cooking menus.
- Once the rice is cooked or has switched to Keep Warm, let it rest for about 15 minutes then fluff it with fork or spatula and serve.
Cooking long-grain rice in a rice cooker really is simple – and pretty much the same as other varieties – the main difference being the amount of water you need to add to the mix.
Of course, using a rice cooker makes the whole process quicker and more convenient, and will save you time and even money because of lower energy bills. It goes without saying that the end result will also be more consistent and, in my opinion anyway, taste better.
So, whats not to love? I hope you have taken some inspiration from this and that you are now happy and even excited to try out new recipes with long-grain rice. As always, i would love to hear from you int ehc omments below if you have fodn this useful.
Thanks for reading
Hopefully, you enjoyed this post and, if you would like to find out more great ways to use your rice cooker, I have posts covering how to cook pasta, fish, or even lentils. Who knew that a rice cooker could be so versatile ?!