Rice 101
Rice Types
Rice History
Rice Products
Healthy Diet
Gluten Free
Brown Rice
Dairy Alternative
How It's Made

One Amazing Grain

Who knew that one little grain could be used in so many ways? Rice can be used raw or cooked and can be processed into everything from vinegar to wine, milk to cosmetics. Read to learn more about this amazing grain.

Raw rice may be ground into flour for many uses, including making many kinds of beverages such as amazake, horchata, rice milk, and sake. Rice flour does not contain gluten and is suitable for people on a gluten-free diet. Rice may also be made into various types of noodles. Raw wild or brown rice may also be consumed by raw-foodists or fruitarians if soaked and sprouted.

Processed rice seeds must be boiled or steamed before eating. Cooked rice may be further fried in oil or butter, or even added to other foods (meatloaf, hamburgers) as a binding agent in place of products containing gluten.

Rice is a good source of protein and a staple food in many parts of the world, but it is not a complete protein: it does not contain all of the essential amino acids in sufficient amounts for good health, and should be combined with other sources of protein, such as nuts, seeds, beans or meat.

Rice, like other cereal grains, can be puffed (or popped). This process takes advantage of the grains’ water content and typically involves heating grains in a special chamber.

Rice bran is a valuable commodity in Asia and is used for many daily needs. It is a moist, oily inner layer which when heated produces an oil.

Wait, There’s More... What Will Rice Do Next?!

  • Rice vinegar is most popular in the cuisines of East and Southeast Asia. It is available in "white" (light yellow), red, and black varieties. The Japanese prefer a light, more delicate rice vinegar for the preparation of sushi rice and salad dressings. Red rice vinegar traditionally is coloured with red yeast rice, although some Chinese brands use artificial food colouring instead. Black rice vinegar (made with black glutinous rice) is most popular in China, although it also is produced in Japan. It may be used as a substitute for balsamic vinegar, although its dark colour and the fact that it is aged may be the only similarity between the two products.
  • Some varieties of rice vinegar are sweetened or otherwise seasoned with spices or other added flavorings.
  • Rice wine is an alcoholic beverage made from rice. Unlike wine, which is made by fermentation of naturally sweet grapes and other fruit, rice "wine" results from the fermentation of rice starch converted to sugars. This process is akin to that used to produce beer; however, beer production employs a mashing process to convert starch to sugars whereas rice wine uses the different amylolytic process.

Rice brew typically has a higher alcohol content (18–25%) than wine (10–20%), which in turn has a higher alcohol content than beer (3–8%).

Some types of rice wine:

  • Amakaze - Low-alcohol Japanese rice drink.
  • Brem - Balinese rice wine.
  • Cheongju - Korean rice wine.
  • Choujiu - A milky glutinous rice wine popular in Xi’an, China
  • Gamju - A milky, sweet rice wine from Korea
  • Lao-Lao - A clear rice wine from Laos
  • Makkoli - A milky traditional rice wine indigenous to Korea
  • Mijiu or Lao-zao - A clear, sweet Chinese rice wine/liqueur, usually being served as a dessert in southern China, made from fermented glutinous rice
  • Raksi - Tibetan and Nepali rice wine
  • Sake (Nihonshu) - Japanese rice wine
  • Mirin - Sweetened Japanese rice wine used for cooking
  • Sato - A rice wine originating in the Isan region of Thailand
  • Sonti - Indian rice wine
  • Handia - Rice beer made after fermentation in regions of eastern India

Sake is also referred to in English as Japanese rice wine, which is not entirely accurate. Wine is made from the single fermentation of plant juices (other than sparkling wine or champagne, which can be a double fermentation to create the carbonation). Sake is produced by multiple fermentation of rice, which is similar to the way beer is produced.

Rice milk is a kind of grain milk processed from rice. It is mostly made from brown rice and commonly unsweetened. The sweetness in most rice milk varieties is generated by a natural enzymatic process, dividing the carbohydrates into sugars—especially glucose. Some rice milk may nevertheless be sweetened with sugarcane syrup or other sugars.

Compared with cow’s milk, rice milk contains more carbohydrates, does not contain either significant amounts of calcium or protein, and no cholesterol or lactose. Commercial brands of rice milk are typically fortified with vitamins and minerals, including calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin B3, and iron.

Many people are either allergic or otherwise sensitive to dairy and soy, making rice milk an easy and nutritious alternative. Rice milk is made by pressing the rice through a mill stream using osmosis to strain out the pressed grains. It can also be made simply and easily at home with a food processor.


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