Rice in Culture and Cuisine Around the World

Friday, September 05, 2014

There are dozens of varieties of rice, which is a staple of cuisine around the world. There are dozens of varieties of rice, which is a staple of cuisine around the world. (Copyright: Lilyana Vynogradova/Shutterstock)

All over the world people eat rice at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For this week’s Food Fridays Please Explain, Chef and author Renee Marton tells us about the many varieties of rice, its place in cultures and cuisines around the globe, and how to make the best rice dishes—from arborio to wehani. Marton teaches at the Institute for Culinary Education and she’s written the forthcoming book Rice: A Global History.


Comments [19]

ds from ny

What an expert! And such a scientific and accurate definition of the genetically modified rice. Can't wait to hear more...

Sep. 22 2014 03:05 PM
DickeyFuller from DC

Friday, September 05, 2014
This week's Please Explain is all about rice—from arborio to wehai—how it's grown, prepared, and

it's place in culture and cuisine around the globe.

Its not it's.

Sep. 20 2014 05:44 PM
ed carter

What a strange piece - all these recipes, yet the guest says we shouldn't eat rice more than once a week!

Sep. 12 2014 03:25 PM
SeeTheTaunTaun from New Jersey

Thanks to Leonard and Ms. Marton for the informative discussion about rice. What interested me the most was the segment about rice and arsenic as I am a very avid rice eater. For those interested listeners, the Food and Drug Administration has studied rice and rice products and their arsenic content. The results and other pertinent information can be found at the following link:

Sep. 05 2014 04:12 PM
Amy from Manhattan

My question about whether rice absorbs chemicals other than arsenic was about the toxic spills we've been hearing about lately & whether rice also absorbs a higher level of those chemicals (& radioactivity, as in the Fukushima disaster). I hope Ms. Marton can look into this & let us know on a later appearance.

And on her comparison of hybridization w/gene splicing, 1st, when they splice genes, they don't know where the gene they're putting in gets inserted in the sequence, which can affect things other than the characteristic they're trying to induce. 2nd, modifying crops to resist pesticides (as in Monsanto's Roundup Ready seeds) means more pesticide will be used & will kill off other plants. That affects the ecosystem--for example, Roundup is already killing milkweed, destroying the main food source for monarch butterflies, which are dying off in large numbers.

Sep. 05 2014 02:08 PM
Deborah from Westchester, NY

"Tah-e-Dig", as was mentioned as the crust in Persian rice dishes, literally translates as "Bottom of the Pot". Making hat perfect cake like structure requires not only extra ghee (I saw most people using butter when I lived in Iran), but also a mixture of yogurt, eggs, and the half-cooked rice, colored and flavored with saffron or turmeric, (poor man's saffron) which makes a fine mass once it cooks---and that takes at least the half-hour the guest noted.
You need the right pot, though!

Sep. 05 2014 01:58 PM
Tim from Westchester

How the hell could "rice is full of arsenic, eat it less than once a week" be a brief aside in this piece??!! There are literally billions of people eating it every day, yet we don't hear of massive poisonings throughout the world?

Sep. 05 2014 01:55 PM
Amy from Manhattan

If "Uncle Ben's"-type rice is precooked & that makes it quicker to prepare, why remove the bran? If they didn't take it out, the rice would have more fiber as well as more nutrients.

Sep. 05 2014 01:55 PM

I read that some of the highest arsenic laced rice in the world is California organic, unfortunately.

Sep. 05 2014 01:53 PM
pliny from soho

i read the Arsenic comes from growing rice on old cotton fields
especially the popular brown rice replacing cotton in the south now.

Sep. 05 2014 01:51 PM
Alvin from NYC

Consumer Reports did a study on the arsenic levels in rice and found that you can reduce the arsenic levels by letting the rice sit in water for a few hours and then rinsing it until the water runs clear.

Sep. 05 2014 01:50 PM

Arsenic in Rice -- Please clarify ...

I thought the risk was ONLY for rice grown in SOUTHERN USA.

Is this not accurate? so that, rice grown in California is also risky?

Thank you

Sep. 05 2014 01:49 PM
Steven from Harlem

What do you think about rice cookers? I used to think they were for amateurs, then I noticed lots of my Japanese friends and relatives used them. Rice cookers -good or bad?

Sep. 05 2014 01:44 PM
pepe from Brooklyn

can you talk about rice cookers? we love ours and makes it so much easier to each rice often.

Sep. 05 2014 01:43 PM

No. Glutinous rice can be thanked for Congee's consistency.

And on the we are all "genetically modified", therefore GMOs are a confection of the liberal conspiracy theorist's imagination, again: no.

Unlike Monsanto's trojan horse, this vitamin C rice, neither Leonard, myself or most other listerners were not concocted by scientists in a flyover state test tube!

Sep. 05 2014 01:43 PM

How and when did rice become a staple of Latin American food? Did rice and beans replace corn and beans?

Sep. 05 2014 01:32 PM
Ian from Yonkers

I love Basmati rice, but I can never reproduce at home the perfectly textured,fluffy, tender, nutty flavored grains that I get from Indian restaurants. I reduce the recommended amount of water and let it sit for several minutes after cooking, but it still doesn't come close to the texture and flavor that makes Basmati so good. Any suggestions??

Sep. 05 2014 01:30 PM
scrivener from Philly burbs, PA

Please talk about the risk of arsenic ingestion and which rice varieties contain the least/most amount of the poison. Should we be wary of ordering brown rice with our Chinese food?

Sep. 05 2014 01:29 PM

When and where was rice first processed white??

Sep. 05 2014 01:24 PM

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