Food Fondles

Best Rice for Curry: How to Choose the Best Rice!

It is imperative to choose the best rice for curry depending on which curry you are eating. As a curry (and rice) enthusiast, I totally understand the importance of choosing the best rice. The choice of rice can elevate your curry to a whole new level. Certain curries are best to be paired with certain types of rice, depending on the type of curry and where the curry originates from.

There are different varieties of rice originating from all over the world, along with many different curries from different nationalities. I will lay out the different types of popular rice choices and which curries they are best suited to. So you can make your most informed decision about which rice to cook for tonight’s curry!

Basmati Rice – An Indian Delight

Best rice for curry basmati

Basmati rice is the king of rice when it comes to Indian cuisine. Basmati rice gets its unique flavour from being aged for months. The more the rice is aged, the better the flavour once it’s cooked. It is a long grain variety of rice which has a nutty flavour that perfectly compliments the aromatics of Indian curries. The long grains are not prone to clumping, and the rice is drier than other types of rice. Basmati rice is particularly favoured with vegetable curries and biryanis. 

Basmati rice is characterised by it’s long and thin grains that expand and become fluffy when cooked. The term Basmati means “fragrant” in Hindi and it certainly lives up to it’s name from the aromas released when cooking the rice. The distinctive flavour of basmati is believed to be as a result of the amalgamation of soil, water and climate of where in which it was grown.

The popularity of basmati rice extends past India, with this rice being loved worldwide to accompany their curry creations. Both chefs and home cooks prefer this rice due to its ability to absorb and complement the curry flavours. It is also very easy to cook, and unless using far too much water, it is not likely to go gloopy. Whether you’re making biryani or a delicious curry with Indian spices, basmati rice is the perfect pairing.

Jasmine Rice – A Thai Charm

Jasmine rice for curry

Jasmine rice is a beautifully fragrant rice that originates from Thailand. It is known for its very subtle floral aroma and ever so slightly sticky texture. It is one of my personal favourites when cooking Asian cuisine. Jasmine rice not as long as basmati, and is more susceptible to go gloopy and sloppy when too much water is added. 

The tender and soft grains pair well with Thai curries absorbing the beautiful Thai flavours into the rice. It is also perfect for cooking coconut rice to pair with Thai red, green or massaman curries. The aroma released from Jasmine rice, also known as fragrant rice, is reminiscent of popcorn and pandan leaves. That is the best way I can describe it!

Rinsing Jasmine rice before use is essential to prevent the rice from becoming too sticky. The starch must be rinsed off the rice before cooking. There should not be too much water added either, as Jasmine rice is prone to becoming sticky and gloopy. To keep Jasmine rice nice and fluffy and the grains separate, ensure you cover the rice with water and only allow about 1 centimetre of water on top of the rice or follow these instructions. This works for cooking Jasmine rice on both stovetop and in rice cookers.

Sticky Rice – Great for Dipping

Sticky rice

Sticky rice or glutinous rice is a staple in South East Asian cuisine.  I was once told by a Loatian to think of it like a bread roll on the side of your meal. This chewy, sticky rice is often eaten with hands and it is customary to dip balls of sticky rice into saucy meals, such as a delicious curry. It is ideal to serve alongside a Thai Green Curry, or a Malaysian Rendang. Its ability to absorb flavours make it a delicious option to enjoy with your curry!

Although it is called glutinous rice, don’t be fooled, it is definitely gluten free. It contains a high level of starch, which is resultant in its sticky texture. It must be soaked before cooking, to ensure the grains are soft. It is then steamed in a bamboo steamer especially made for cooking glutinous rice. The interactive nature of eating sticky rice makes it an enjoyable rice to eat. It is a great accompaniment not only to curries, but other meats, marinades, salads, and stir fries. 

Brown Rice – Nutritious and Delicious

Brown rice

For those seeking a more nutritious, fibrous option, then look no further than brown rice. The germ and bran on this wholegrain is retained, meaning brown rice has added fiber and nutrients. It may be more firm and has a nuttier taste than its white counterparts, however it is a delicious rice to pair with more hearty, spicy curries. 

Unlike white rice, brown rice is less processed, retaining the bran and germ layers which are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Brown rice takes longer to cook than white varieties of rice, so bear this in mind if you are having a curry in a hurry. However, if you are health conscious, the extra time may be worth it. Soaking brown rice before cooking can help reduce the cooking time. The texture of cooked brown rice is not as light and fluffy as white rice. It is more dense and chewy, making for a good bite to pair with a spicy curry.

Conclusion: Best Rice for Curry

Personal preference and taste play a huge part in choosing which is the best rice for curry. Each rice variety boasts a host of differing characteristics and can enhance curries in varying ways. For a fragrant, nutty yet fluffy white rice to pair with an Indian dish, basmati takes the cake. For a slightly sticky, floral rice to enjoy with Thai food, Jasmine is best. If you wish to enjoy the fun of dipping rice into curries, sticky rice is for you. And for those nutritionally conscious, brown rice wins. All in all, it depends on the type of curry you are serving and what your preferences are. 

Whether you’re whipping up a Rogan Josh or a Thai Green Curry, experimenting with a variety of different rice grains will elevate your dishes to new heights. Let your taste buds be your guide as you wander down the path on the exciting quest for the best rice to accompany your family favourite curries. Happy feasting!

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