Rice reaches the consumer in
boxes or packs wrapped in transparent material. The product sector,
variety of rice and cooking instructions are specified on the
It is simple to store rice: it should be kept in a cool,
ventilated place with a regular supply of oxygen. For culinary
purposes, rice is divided into the following categories: common,
semifine, fine and superfine:
common rice is
recommended for making soups and desserts.
semifine rice is recommended for making starters, glazed rice,
main rice dishes, rice
croquettes and Neapolitan rice-cakes.
fine rice is recommended for making risottos and side-dishes.
superfine rice, like the previous categories, is also recommended
for risottos and side-dishes.
The ideal amount per person varies between 50 g and 100 g. This
naturally depends on what kind of dish you want to prepare.
However, here is a useful guide for reference:
50 g per person for soups.
70 g per person for side-dishes or, as in the East or Great
Britain, where rice is used in place of bread or crackers.
100 g per person for risottos or where rice constitutes the main
100 g of rice is equivalent to
An outer layer of protein
surrounds each grain which contains starch. The level of
resistance to cooking depends on the intrinsic qualities of the
species of rice and on the kind of processing which, if not
carefully supervised, can result in a high percentage of broken
However, the law prohibits a percentage higher than 5%.
These notions are fundamental in cooking. In fact, if one uses
low-quality rice which does not conform to current laws, the
cooking will not be uniform, with disastrous results.
The cooking of rice requires a large amount of water. By filtering
through the microscopically small holes in the outer layer of
protein, the water reaches the part of the grain where the
amylaceous substance is hidden and modifies it, making it
gelatinous. If untreated rice is stored for more than six months
in a warehouse prior to processing, the grains become more
“settled” and are more resistant to cooking. In India, where
this property has been recognised for thousands of years, guests
are offered dishes prepared with untreated rice which has been
left to “mature” in a cool place.
However, the ratio between the amount of rice being cooked and the
amount of water required is not always the same and depends on the
recipe, the kind of rice and the amounts involved.
To boil 100 g of rice, about half a litre of water is required.
Less water is required for making soups, which should be thick and
Finally, to make risottos, it is useful to have ready at least one
third of a litre of stock for every 100 g of rice used. While on
the subject, the classic risotto recipe cites 400 g of rice to one
and a half litres of stock.
How many minutes?
The cooking time depends on the kind of rice used, how it has been
processed and the recipe. A
rice dish is regarded as cooked when 75% of the amylaceous
substance contained within its grains has become gelatinous. This
change can occur in between 13 and 20 minutes
As a rough guide, here are the
average cooking times for rice boiled in plenty of water:
Common rice cooks in between 12
and 13 minutes.
Semifine rice cooks in between 13
and 15 minutes.
Fine rice cooks in between 14 and
Superfine rice cooks in between
16 and 18 minutes.
For “al dente” rice, cooking times are slightly less.