Rice is a simple and nutritious staple food that humans have cultivated for thousands of years. It’s also the most consumed food on earth. White rice is the most popular variety, but in recent years whole grain varieties like brown rice and gourmet varieties like black rice are gaining popularity. Every variety has its benefits and is nutritious in its own way.
What is Rice Made Of?
Rice is primarily made of carbohydrates, which make up approximately 90 per cent of its dry weight and calorie content. Starch is the primary carbohydrate in rice, and the starch consists of amylose and amylopectin. These starches play a key role in how rice absorbs water and in cooking results.
More About Amylose and Amylopectin
Amylose is a long, straight molecule of starch. It’s not gelatinous, so it doesn’t result in “sticky” rice. Basmati rice contains a high level of amylose, which is why cooked Basmati is loose.
Amylopectin is a branched starch with gelatinous qualities. Rice with high levels of amylopectin will result in stickier rice that clumps together after it’s cooked.
Rice also contains a small amount of protein per serving and a negligible amount of fat. How Cooking Affects Rice
When rice is cooked, it absorbs water and swells up to double or triple its size. Because rice is cooked in plain water, the amount of calories stays the same. The rice simply takes up more volume when it’s cooked. (If broth, oil, or butter is added during the cooking process, that can add to the calorie content of your rice.)
For example, when cooked, 100 grams of dry rice will turn into 200-300 grams of cooked rice. So, 100 grams of uncooked rice contains an average of 350 calories, while 100 grams of cooked rice has an average of 120 calories. The cooked rice contains fewer total grains and more water than uncooked rice.
The Perfect Amount of Rice Per Person
Every person has different needs when it comes to calories and carbohydrates. Depending on your age, size, and activity level, the right amount of rice for you might be different than someone else. The amount of rice per serving also varies depending on whether you’re serving rice as a main course or a side dish.
Rice as a Main Course
Although rice is often served as a simple and delicious side dish, it also makes an excellent main course. One cup of cooked rice is typically the right amount used if it is the main starch of a meal. Since different varieties of rice use a different amount of cooking water, a more accurate measurement is 100-120 grams of dry rice per person.
Rice as a Side Dish
Rice is a perfect side to a wide variety of meals. It provides a simple, filling starch to accompany your main entrée. Rice can be served with salt and a little oil, or add spices that complement the flavours in your meal. One-half cup of rice is just the right amount for a side dish or about 60 grams of dry rice per person.