Rice is the staple food for half the world’s population, with statistics that will make your head spin. Every year, 468 billion tonnes of rice are consumed around the world – that’s 14,000 kilos every second! It’s an incredible figure, and one that confirms rice as the ultimate superfood. But of course, there isn’t just one variety of rice but thousands of them – from white and brown, to red and black.
Around the world in 2,000 rices
There are more than 2,000 varieties of long-, medium- and short-grain rice on the planet. Short-grain rice is the favourite in Japan, where massive quantities of sushi are consumed, and in Italy, where Arborio and Carnaroli rice form the basis of any risotto. If you hop across to Thailand, you’ll find the long-grain variety known as jasmine, or Thai fragrant, rice. While India and Pakistan are the places to go for Basmati – a variety that is both eaten locally, and exported around the world on a massive scale.
White rice is an excellent source of manganese – a dietary mineral that your body needs every day, while brown rice is packed with fibre and nutrients. Meanwhile, the lesser-known red and black varieties allow you to play around with the colours and flavours of your favourite dishes.
Go wild by experimenting with rice in all its forms and cookings – in a spicy sausage paella, cooked with saffron and seafood, in a biryani curry, as a rice pilaf served with fish, or as a delicious dessert with mango and coconut milk.