For thousands of years, rice has been the staff of life in South Asia and the Far East. It is believed that Chinese started to eat rice about 5,000 years ago.
From China and India, rice travelled the ancient Silk Road to Europe and Africa. During the renaissance, rice was a principal grain in Tuscany and other Mediterranean regions.
Half of the world's people eat rice as their staple food. In some languages, the word for "eat" means "eat rice".
Rice thrives in warm climates with abundant supplies of fresh water.

Rice is a good source of B vitamins, such as thiamine and niacin, and also provides iron, phosphorus, and magnesium. Rice is lower than other cereal grains in protein, but its protein quality is good because it contains relatively high levels of the amino acid lysine.

Unfortunately, this important food source is usually eaten in most parts of the world in its least nourishing form, that is milled and polished to remove the bran and germ, which contain valuable nutrients. In population where polish rice is the staple food, deficiencies in B1 vitamin were reported.

Forms of Rice
Rice is classified according to size.

  • long-grain
  • medium grain
  • short-grain

These different types of rice can be available in both brown and white forms.

  • Brown rice: this kind of rice has been hulled but it still has its bran and germ intact, only the husk of the grain has been removed during the milling. That is why this grain is richer than other rices in fiber, iron, riboflavin, potassium, phosphorus and zinc.
    Moreover brown rice is the only form of the grain that contains vitamin E.
  • White rice: it is the most popular form of rice. This grain has been polished. It has been completely milled to remove the husk, bran and most of the germ.
  • Arborio is an Italian rice used for cooking Italian dishes risotto (it also works well for paella). It is a starchy white rice, with an almost round grain. This rice absorbs up to 5 times its weight in liquid as it cooks, which results in grains of creamy consistency.
  • Aromatic rices:
    • Basmati: the most famous aromatic rice. It has a distinctive nutlike fruity flavor. It is grown in India and Pakistan.
    • Jasmin: is a traditionally long-grain rice grown in Thailand.
  • Flour
  • Wild rice: it is not a grain but a grass seed from a different family (Zizania aquatica). It is native from the North America. Nutty and rich in flavour, this rice has about twice the protein of other rices as well as more significant levels of B vitamins. It is also a first-class source of niacin and dietary fiber.
Basic Cooking Instruction
The world's most popular way of cooking rice is to boil only the amount of water that will eventually be absorbed into the swelling rice grains. Put the rice in twice its volume of water together and bring to boil, reduce the heat and cook for 15 minutes. Then let stand until all the water is absorbed (about 10 minutes). It is a long and low heat cooking. The resulting rice has a slightly gummy texture.
Brown rice is longer to cook than white rice, 10 to 15 more minutes but it has a richer flavor and a chewier texture.
Wild rice is prepared in the same way as regular rice but it needs to be rinsed first. It needs four time is volume of water and 30 to 45 minutes of simmering.


100 g de cooked brown rice apportent
Proteins 2 g
Fats 0.8 g
Carbohydrates 23.5 g
Fibre 2 g
Main nutrients
Calcium 10 mg
Iron 0.5 mg
Potassium 79 mg
Phosphorus 77 mg
Zinc 0.6 mg
Thiamine 0.1 mg
Riboflavin 0.012 mg
Niacin 1.33 mg


Peppers stuffed with rice
150 g rice
4 tomatoes chopped
80 g de raisins
1 onion chopped
50 g pine kernel
100 g of swiss cheese grated
4 green peppers
1 pinch of cinnamon
1 tablespoon parsley chopped
3 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
Cook the rice.
When the rice is cooked, add tomatoes, onion, pine kernel, raisins and mix well.
Add some cheese, parsley, cinnamon, salt and pepper.
Remove the pepper's hat and put them in a pan you can use in the oven.
Fill the peppers with the stuffing and sprinkle with the cheese left, then put the hats.
Put some oil on the top and bake 40 minutes in a hot oven.

Realized by Laurence LIVERNAIS-SAETTEL, dietitian
© Copyright L. Livernais-Saettel 2002
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