Rice is a staple food in much of the world, and for good reason: with the addition of some vegetables and perhaps a bit of meat or fish, a bowl of rice makes a tasty, satisfying, and nutritious meal. Brown rice, which has only the outer hull removed, retains--along with its bran layer--an impressive variety of vitamins and minerals, including niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, and even some vitamin E. Brown rice contains only a small amount of protein, but that is of good quality because of its relatively high level of the amino acid lysine. Because the bran is not milled away, brown rice contains four times the amount of insoluble fiber found in white rice--a prime reason for eating brown rice instead of white.
Long-grain: Long-grain brown rice stays firm when cooked. It is suitable for most western and Indian recipes, and makes a fine side dish.
Medium-grain: Medium-grain rice, found in Latin and some Asian recipes, is the main ingredient in commercially produced cold rice cereals and cakes. Its grains are plumper than those of long-grain rice, and it works well in soups and stews.
Short-grain: Short-grain, or sticky rice, is most often found in Asian recipes; because it sticks together when cooked, it's easier to eat with chopsticks.
Sweet rice: Sweet rice, or mochi rice, is a Japanese rice (also grown in the U.S.) that is used for desserts. It cooks in about half the time required for long-grain brown rice.
Aromatic rices: This category includes domestic rices such as Texmati and imported versions, including the renowned Indian basmati and Thai jasmine rices. Aromatic rices gives off a nutty-sweet fragrance as they cook, and have a sweet, delicate flavor.
Quick-cooking: Quick-cooking brown rice has been precooked so that it's ready in about 10 minutes.