When we buy a rice package in the supermarket, many times we do it out of habit, or because it suits us … without thinking much why that one and not another …; Here we are going to try to classify the rice in a way that makes it easier to choose from the supermarket.
Rice varieties for Paellas or Mediterranean dishes can be classified into three groups: hard, medium and soft grains.
From a hard rice, for example the Bomba variety, with little starch, or rather, with a starch of the amylose type around 24%, we obtain a grain once cooked with such a consistency that it will turn out loose and dry in the mouth, the way the Valencian rice dishes have been ejoyed, as it is historically documented.
If we talk about the medium grain rices, we can find varieties such as the Albufera one, with an amylose-type starch lower than hard grains, a natural graft between a the Bomba and the old Sénia, with which a tasty grain is obtained and a loose and firm textura.
Among the soft rices, such as the Marisma or JSendra (a common round grain), with les amylose-type starch than the medium grains, we will get more moist and creamy dishes, with good flavor. They should be cooked carefully so that they do not overcooke, because they release more soluble starch.
Contradicting some urban legends, there are no rice varieties better than others. However there are rice brands than others, according to their origin, cultivation and drying processes after harvested, chemical residues, type of grind, selection of qualities, etc…
Probably the most balanced rice variety that can be found on the market today is Rice Tartana’s Albufera, halfway between hard and soft grains, very versatile in the kitchen. You can obtain tasty, loose and firm rice, easily reaching the “socarrat”, so appreciated by the most demanding foodies.
Article written by Juan Carlos GALBIS -Master of rice masters-, José ZAFRA, -passionate about rice- y Juan Valero -Gerente de ARROZ TARTANA-.