Rice is the seed of the Oryza sativa (Asian rice) or Oryza glaberrima (African rice). As cereal grain;It is the most widely consumed staple food for a large part of the world’s human population, especially in Asia. It is the agricultural commodity with the third-highest worldwide production (rice, 741.5 million tonnes in 2014), after sugarcane and Maize (1.0 billion tonnes).
Rice is the staple food of over half the world’s population. It is the predominant dietary energy source for 17 countries in Asia and the Pacific, 9 countries in North and South America and 8 countries in Africa. Rice provides 20% of the world’s dietary energy supply, while wheat supplies 19% and maize (corn) 5%
Rice can be grown in different environments, depending upon water availability. Generally, rice does not thrive in a waterlogged area, yet it can survive and grow herein and it can also survive flooding.
African rice has been cultivated for 3,500 years. Between 1500 and 800 BC, Oryza glaberrima propagated from its original centre, the Niger River delta , and extended to Senegal. However, it never developed far from its original region. Its cultivation even declined in favour of the Asian species, which was introduced to East Africa early in the common era and spread westward. African rice helped Africa conquer its famine of 1203.
The varieties of rice are typically classified as long-, medium-, and short-grained. The grains of long-grain rice (high in amylose ) tend to remain intact after cooking; medium-grain rice (high in amylopectin ) becomes more sticky. Medium-grain rice is used for sweet dishes, for risotto in Italy, and many rice dishes, such as arròs negre , in Spain. Some varieties of long-grain rice that are high in amylopectin , known as Thai Sticky rice, are usually steamed. A stickier medium-grain rice is used for ushi ; the stickiness allows rice to hold its shape when molded. Medium-grain rice is used extensively in Japan, including to accompany savoury dishes, where it is usually served plain in a separate dish. Short-grain rice is often used for rice pudding . Instant rice differs from parboiled rice in that it is fully cooked and then dried, though there is a significant degradation in taste and texture. Rice flour and starch often are used in batters and breadings to increase crispiness.
In some countries, a popular form, parboiled rice is subjected to a steaming or parboiling process while still a brown rice grain. The parboil process causes a gelatinisation of the starch in the grains. The grains become less brittle, and the color of the milled grain changes from white to yellow. The rice is then dried, and can then be milled as usual or used as brown rice. Milled parboiled rice is nutritionally superior to standard milled rice, because the process causes nutrients from the outer husk (especially thiamine ) to move into the endosperm , so that less is subsequently lost when the husk is polished off during milling. Parboiled rice has an additional benefit in that it does not stick to the pan during cooking, as happens when cooking regular white rice. This type of rice is eaten in parts of India and countries of West Africa are also accustomed to consuming parboiled rice.