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RICE-STAPLE FOOD OF ASIAN


Rice is the traditional staple food of Asia. It is difficuit to think of another food which is more economical and versatile. It is a good source of carbohydrate, thought it contains less protein than most cereals. Rice not only provides bulk and nutrients but also temper the pungency of curries and sambals. Rice may be used in many different ways of cooking: it forms the basis of a variety of dishes for lunch, dinner or supper, when combined with meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, etc to form a balance diet.

Malaysian nasi goreng, nasi ulam, nasi lemak, for instance, are both nutritious and delicious one-dish meals. MORE RICE FACTS Nutritional info; Rich in complex carbohydrates, rice is non-allergenic - those who suffer from allergies to wheat can eat it. White rice has trace amounts of phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, zinc and fibre.

Storage; To make sure that rice is free from weevils (those tiny black insects that burrow into the grains), put cloves or unpeeled garlic into the bin. Some families keep rice in large glass containers and claim that light discourages weevils from getting to the grains.

Washing; Washing rice removes excess starch and is highly recommended. Repeat two or three times until the water runs clearer than when you start. Remember that with older and lower grade rice types, the water may never run clear.

Cooking; Absorption Method-Rice cooks in a measured amount of water, usually one and half cups of water to one cup of rice. Microwave Method-Put rice and boiling water in a large bowl. Cover with cling film and cook on high. Allow rice to stand for 10 minutes after cooking.

Perfect Rice; Never stir rice while it’s cooking, as stirring breaks up the holes that allow the steam to escape. To test whether it’s done, squeeze rice grains between your fingers. The rice should be tender with no hard centre.

Little Extras; A knotted pandan(screwpine)leaf added to rice just before it dries adds fragrance. Instead of water, you can also use other liquids to cook rice. Coconut milk is used to make nasi lemak, while chicken stock is preferred for chicken rice.



THERE ARE A FEW TYPES OF RICE:

Brown rice - Medium grain brown rice with firm texture and nutty flavour. Full of vitamins. It absorbs lots of liquid when cooked. Best mixed with white rice.

Thai rice - Fragrant white long grain that’s an Asian favourite. When cooked well, it is soft, slightly sticky and aromatic. Higher grades need only one wash.

Unpolished rice - Filled with B vitamins, this rice is often ground and added to toddler’s porridge for a nutritious boost. Comes in white or black medium grain.

Sushi rice - White short grain rice with a soft, sticky texture when cooked. Its not as starchy as glutinous rice and is used for Japanese dishes and ideal for sushi.

Sarawak Red rice - Similar in shape and colour to Himalayan red rice, this contains more natural bran than white rice. Grains burst when cooked and have a nutty taste.

Basmati rice - Long white grain, firm textured rice from the Punjab region. Known as the prince of rice for its delicious aromatic flavour. Best choice for Biryani.

Couscous - Made with durum wheat, this is often used as a substitute for rice in Middle Eastern dishes. It has a mild flavour and absorbs other flavours.

Glutinous rice - Medium grain black or white rice. Cooks to a sticky consistency. Used in dishes where rice needs to be held together, like dumplings and black glutinous rice.



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