TYPES OF RICE FOR PAELLA
TYPES OF RICE FOR PAELLA
Colleagues, today we are going to analyze which is the best rice, it is a very recurring question among all our clients that has raised thousands of lively debates on our social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or even Tik-Tok. Due to this, we have seen fit to create a page on our blog where we analyze the advantages and disadvantages, as well as the characteristics, of the different types of rice.
Let's go back to the question, what is the best rice? The answer to this question has a complex answer to the extent that rice is going to be better depending on the use to which we are going to put it, that is, it is not the same dry rice or paella recipe than a soupy rice or a sticky rice and therefore there are varieties more suitable for one type of rice or another. The same thing also happens with the time that passes from preparation to consumption, that is to say, a paella that we cook and start eating at the time it is made at home is not the same as a paella with rice in processes such as in a restaurant menu, which is prepared at twelve o'clock and served until three o'clock or in a catering, delivery or takeaway, where time passes from its preparation to its service.
The weakest rice in these cases or in these uses will end up opening while harder rice will be more recommended for these uses, what is important to remember is that there is friction or prohibited varieties, that is, long rice long rice is not a use indicated for me for paellas and rice dishes because those long rice dishes tend to open at their ends and that is something not wanted in a paella.
The same thing happens with parboiled or precooked rice, these rice that there are many general brands but that we prefer not to name, are rice that come already precooked, this is done to be able to close the cuticle of the grain, which makes it a rice and a more resistant grain but at the same time that precaution that has been given to it makes it have much less flavor, therefore they are easy to work with rice but with a much lower capacity to transfer the flavor than short or round rice that are the ones that we have to use in our paellas.
The first of the questions that we usually see is which brand of rice is the best and the truth is that the difference between brands is minimal and is reduced more to quality parameters such as, for example, the percentage of broken grain or the freshness that can be have the product that will mark the expiration date. Honestly, there are no big differences between brands, we should take into account that, for example, in the lagoon, the different brands have plots that are next to each other, so the insects pollinate without understanding plots or brands, that is to say, that in the event that a brand tried to defend the peculiarity of its seed, it would be a complex and costly process which, in the long run, would not be worth it.
Genetically, the fourth generation between the two seeds or all the seeds will be the same, therefore, it is difficult to defend the peculiarity of a brand, this also happens with the origins of the rice, 60% of the rice currently comes from Andalusia, from the banks of the Guadalquivir and the Guadiana, is therefore the largest rice-producing area in Spain, followed by the Ebro delta with 15% and the Valencia lagoon with 14%, then there are other areas that are also important but with smaller plantations such as Calasparra in Murcia or on the banks of the Ebro in Zaragoza. In all these origins, high quality rice is made and therefore the differences are not great, therefore, it is not a question of brand or origin where the main difference will be, it is in the variety where we find this main difference between rice .
Now we will see the varieties, a piece of advice that we give you is that the origin of the rice should always come on the package, because if I have an origin, I have a guarantee that the product has a uniformity to the extent that it always comes from that origin, if it also has the denomination of origin, even better.
There are general brands or white supermarket brands where we will not see the origin, this means that they can put the rice of the origin they want at their convenience, usually by price, and this makes it more difficult to get the exact point of cooking than each one wishes with the rice, since it can happen that sometimes it is breaking in one place, other times it gives another or even a mixture of all of them.
That said, let's analyze the different varieties of rice and we will be able to find in them some differences that have a scientific justification. There are more than 100,000 varieties of rice, so imagine the great differences that can exist between varieties. Bearing this in mind, let's see for example the varieties of rices that protects the appellation of origin Valencia, which are three:
- The first is the senia-type variety, which includes different varieties such as Sendra bay, senia gleba and some other subspecies that are, therefore, interbred with each other.
- The second variety is bomba rice, a well-known variety.
- The third, recently created, is albufera rice.
Now we are going to analyze each one of them, senia-type rice is characterized by having a very high productivity of the order of 7,500 kilograms per hectare, that means that the price is lower because we have high productivity. It is a rice that is characterized by being a creamy and moist grain, both inside and outside, this humidity is what acts as a vehicle for the flavor, but at the same time it prevents the grains from separating easily, so grain looseness is lower. It is a softer grain that does not withstand overcooking well and therefore we should not cook for more than 16 minutes. Due to this characteristic, it is therefore a rice that is destined for the use of experienced rice cookers, since it passes very easily and can suffer due to those processes between which the finishing of cooking and consumption pass a short space of time.
We continue the analysis with bomba rice, which has a low productivity, around three thousand two hundred kilograms per hectare, that is, less than half that of senia rice, this causes its price to increase. The main advantage is that thanks to its organoleptic characteristics we get a more resistant and easy to work rice, it is more comfortable, but it also has a longer cooking time because it has a harder round grain, its cooking would be between 17 and 20 minutes. This is a rice for rice cookers who are generally less experienced because it is easier to work with or who are interested in the looseness of the grain of rice being higher, it is also a grain that can be used for those who need to spend more time between cooking and the service, such as a paella from a catering restaurant menu or a takeaway delivery, this would be the most suitable rice.
Let's continue with the third of the varieties, albufera rice is a variety that has been created relatively recently, genetically, it is a mixture between bomba rice and senia rice and therefore it is a very interesting variant because it is found in the middle of the way in productivity, price, hardness of the grain and as a vehicle for flavor, as well as resistance to overcooking. This type of grain results in a more organic compromise for those who are interested between hardness and flavor vehicle which are the two main characteristics of rice.
There are also other interesting varieties of rice that deserve mention, such as, for example, Marateli rice, a rice that is very similar to Bomba in terms of hardness and flavor carrier but that has higher productivity and therefore a lower price. . It is a very comfortable rice to work with, indicated for restaurant menus that we can prepare at 12 o'clock and it is being served after 3 o'clock, or even reheat the rice, which allows us to spend it and maintain that desired hardness and flavor. It is a rice that we also use in businesses that have to do with delivery and takeaway, it can even be used with giant paellas.
Last but not least, we have the marsh rice, it is an intermediate-sized rice, which, unlike all the previous rices, which are short-grain rice, this will be the only intermediate-grain rice that we are going to see. which is a rice that perhaps in dry rice we are not used to seeing because there is a larger halo, even so it is a type of rice that works very well for soupy and sticky rice and therefore we recommend it for this class of use.
Even with all this information, the key to all these rice is found in the starch, it is the scientific explanation that indicates these different behaviors of the rice. Starch is a macromolecule, present in vegetables, which is the vehicle of glucose. In this macromolecule, in addition to glucose polymers, mimosa and less pectin coexist, which are those that give these differences and characteristics of rice.
For example, bomba rice is a rice rich in amides and has between 25 and 30% amylose, which makes it low in moisture, which means that the grain looseness is high. In another variant of a similar grain, such as the Marateli, it also provides that hardness to the grain.
At the other extreme we have senia rice, which is rich in amido pectin, so it has a high humidity and that means that the looseness is not as high as in bomba rice, in addition, amylopectin makes the resistance of the grain more low, which turns it into a rounder rice and therefore less resistant to overcooking.
After this review of all the Valencian varieties, in addition to some other ones that we also usually use, we hope that you have all the information to be able to decide which is your type of rice according to the situation.