Rice is a staple in every Asian household and is the perfect comforting canvas for most dishes, be it sweet, salty or savoury with gravy. Whether long or short grains, white, brown, japonica or glutinous, the type of rice you choose can affect the overall flavour, texture and experience of a dish. So choose wisely!
What is the healthiest type of rice?
An easy way to look at which rice is healthier is by their glycemic index (GI). The lower the glycemic index (typically 55 or less) means a healthier choice as they are foods that the body slowly absorbs and thus, makes it sustainable when it comes to converting energy for the body (you feel full longer for low GI foods). And because the body absorbs the food slower, you avoid a spike in your body's blood sugar.
Here are the most common rice and their GI:
Medium grain brown rice - 50
Long grain Basmati rice - 57
Short grain white rice - 72
Jasmine rice - 89
In general, longer rice grains have a lower GI than shorter grain rice. Moreover, the cooking method of rice, as well as foods paired with rice, will also affect your final GI intake. If you're concern about your meal having a high glycemic index, pair your rice with more legumes, fibres and foods that are not processed (as much).
Alright, now that you know how to choose your rice, here are some brands with great tasting rice!
add_circleCommonly used by local Japanese restaurants
remove_circleNot from Japan itself
Some might argue that long-grain rice is more suited for congee, but short-grain Japonica rice tends to be stickier, and after a long period of cooking, is still able to retain its shape to a certain degree. This premium option by Komachi will give your congee some texture instead of turning into total mush, letting you enjoy and appreciate congee on another level.
Of course, it's suitable for other Japanese dishes too, so why not try other soup-based food with it such as Zosui, or have your miso soup over them and enjoy a simple yet heart-warming meal?
Note: Although this branded rice is from Vietnam, but it's because this short-grain rice brand is very similar to the common Japanese rice in terms of taste and quality. Moreover, imports of actual Japanese rice packs are very limited and really expensive, with actual imports priced about the same but less than half a kilogram in packaging. Therefore, pricing is one of the reasons why many Japanese chain stores also use this brand.
Other common Japanese rice brands are from South Korea or USA and are pricier than Komachi Japonica. Therefore, we recommend this brand as we factor in the fact that short-grain rice is part of your usual staple diet. If you do prefer your rice to be from Japan, there's also our other recommended brand called "Kitoku Akita Komachi Musenmai Japanese Rice", but it is priced higher (S$15 and over for 2kg).
add_circleFlown from Japan, freshly milled in Singapore
add_circleSlightly more affordable than other brands
remove_circleStill expensive after all
Sushi rice may be sticky, but it is not just any random glutinous rice. In fact, it’s short-grain rice which is high in starch content, hence, making them stick together without being mushy pieces. Short grains are much preferred in many East-Asian countries due to it being easy to pick up with using chopsticks. Their texture is also more chewy and firm with a hint of natural sweetness that pairs well with many types of dishes. Thus, its characteristics make it popular and desirable.
While we get to enjoy many types of rice today, short grains from Japan are actually hard to secure overseas. Fortunately, there are several brands flown into our country for us to enjoy what the locals do too.
One of the few easily-available rice brands is by Kitoku Akita, offering grains that are harvested from the Akita prefecture, Japan. For quick preparation, there's no need to wash the rice at all. Unlike the usual packed Japanese rice which is milled and processed then flown in from Japan, Kitoku Akita's grains are first flown from Japan, then milled in Singapore itself and then polished daily before being packed out for us to consume.
For a cheaper option, do consider the brand "Komachi Japonica Rice" as it is similar in taste, but the grains aren't from Japan.
add_circleContains several minerals for a plain flavoured product
Unless you puree rice grains, the rice grains consumed by adults are too big and rough for a baby's gentle stomach. For ages 4 months and above, give your baby their first introduction to real food with this finely milled grain. Either let them enjoy it on its own or mix it with other purees.
This pack may be plain, but it's fortified with iron for necessary cognitive growth, as well as several minerals and vitamins for overall healthy growth and support. Both organic and non-GMO, this brand's rice is made from Organic Whole Grain Oat Flour without other flavourings so you don't have to fret about any other allergic reactions.
Although plain in flavour, parents generally observed that their little one find it enjoyable to consume. A couple of parents even said that the product does not upset tummies that are prone to reflux. That's a winner in our books!
remove_circleHas about the same calories as white rice if you follow your standard serving measurement
Brown rice is tough, literally. It takes longer to cook but it is lower in GI and fibrous than regular white rice. For that fact, it makes brown rice a much more filling option for you, which means a bowl with less brown rice compared to whites will keep you full for much longer.
To keep things interesting, Fresh Rice's pack combines Jasmine Brown Rice, Red Fragrance Brown Rice and Riceberry Brown Rice for a delicious blend that showcases different varieties and tastes. The blend also enables a mix that's rich in essential vitamins B1, B3, and B6 along with magnesium, iron, and zinc for extra body energy before it become fatigued. As a healthy initiative, the rice pack does not contain chemical fertilizer or pesticides.
The taste is said to be nuttier and sweeter. It will also be chewier than your standard white rice. Although the rice contains about the same calories as a bowl of white rice, this pack contains much more vitamins, minerals and fibre. That's good for replenishing the necessary nutrients for your diet or after exercising for weight loss.
Bonus: reviewers said that the rice does not need to be soaked, which makes it fast for meal preparation.
add_circleRetains its minerals and other similar nutrients
Wholegrain Basmati Rice has the lowest GI (glycemic index) compared to all other rice types. This means that it takes longer for the body to break down the grains into energy and sugar. With that, it helps keep the blood sugar level more stable and reduces the risk of sugar spikes. Moreover, the lower GI means less intake of it is needed compared to white rice. Hence, less sugar source from white rice.
Daawat’s Brown Basmati Rice does all of that. They make sure their rice stays safe for diabetics, being high in magnesium content which plays a role in insulin regulation. Rich in fibre and has a slightly nutty taste when cooked, the rice is easy to enjoy with your usual, favourite dishes.
A unique feature of Daawat's brown basmati rice is that it takes only 15 minutes to cook. That's because the processing method used (hydration enhancement technology) has already involved a round of moisturising the rice and thus, water will easily penetrate for cooking.
There are a few rules that make a good bowl of fried rice good. First, it has to be fluffy yet firm. Second, rice can’t be clumpy or sticking to each other. Third, it has to be soft but also holds texture. And Jasmine rice delivers on all three of these.
This particular premium Thai Jasmine rice is fragrant and holds shape nicely when cooked, which is great for fried rice and other similar foods. It upholds the great qualities of Jasmine rice which is fluffy when cooked, with a hint of natural sweetness. Suggested method of cooking is steaming the rice in order to retain the sticky and full fragrance in each bite.
Many users frequent this brand as it's clean to prepare, quick to cook and requires just the right amount of water to prepare due to its consistent, medium size; not too much or not too little. Moreover, the price is much more affordable than similar brands.
add_circleProduces the best texture and taste according to international consumers
add_circleGood packaging due to the top "spout" for pouring out rice
add_circleGreat quality for a "supermarket" brand
Here's the thing about Risotto; the right texture and taste are dependent on not just the broth, but also the rice. Why? Because cooking rice will produce starch, which contributes to thickening as well as lends a creamy touch to the dish. For your understanding, Risotto is best achieved with Italian short-grain rice, and the 3 most preferred type being Arborio, Carnaroli and Vialone Nano.
Out of the three, we choose Carnaroli. It has less starch (but the just the right amount) than Arborio and is more forgiving than Vialone Nano when it comes to achieving the perfect texture. Not forgetting to mention; Carnaroli has superior taste and flavour, which is why it's dubbed as the caviar of rice. For reference, it's the most preferred type of rice for Risotto chefs.
Originating from the Lombardy farmhouse, Gallo's Carnaroli rice has a flavour that is distinct to the characteristic of the land and climate. In terms of its grains, they are plump and full-bodied, which will result in rice that's cooked to an al dente style. The plumpness will also not just turn the rice mush easily nor be too hard when you stir em up into Risotto (which is key to the perfect Risotto).
add_circleSuggested as being easy to stir-fry with
remove_circleLimited availability (it's limited everywhere in the world)
Seeming to be shrouded in mystery, "Forbidden" Black Rice is nothing to be afraid of. In fact, it's simply a type of black or purple rice that is whole grain, similar to that of Brown Rice. Moreover, the colours of these grains meant as a marker of it being high in antioxidant.
Going back in history, black rice was sought highly after by the rich and wealthy, as it provides a lot of benefits to the betterment of their kidneys, stomach and liver. They're not kidding; practitioners of today says that the anthocyanin in the rice which comes from the anti-oxidants can benefit diabetic and heart patients.
Also, emphasizing on its rarity was the fact that among the high-ranking elites and royalties, quantities were strictly limited among them. Commoners were not allowed to grow the rice, which is how black rice got its label of being "forbidden".
Thankfully, today we can now consume them even if we're not of the elite. But these rice are still cultivated in small quantities. Luckily, Forbidden Foods offer an easy way to access black rice. Low in GI, their black rice is high in fibre, iron, and protein while maintaining a low-calorie count. Moreover, it has a slightly nutty taste and cooks well especially for stir fry.
add_circleGood value compared to similarly-priced brands
Did you know? Basmati rice is lone of the best-quality white rice you can enjoy, and it will develop a distinct taste if it's aged compared to your typical white rice. But age is not just a number for Basmati. Usually aged for a year or two, this practice makes them lighter and fluffier as well as it does not absorb as much moisture when cooking. Some even believe that the aroma also improves with ageing. And because of this practice, it is also why Basmati rice is not cheap.
Sourced from the Himalayan farmlands, Indiagate is one of the oldest Basmati rice brands around, being the leading household brand in the Indian market. Their classic basmati rice has been aged for 2 years to naturally enhance the aromatic rice. It delivers on all three attributes that make it true basmati rice; long, white and smooth to eat. Additionally, this rice will swell up to twice its size, so control your ration wisely.
For a kilogram, several users say that this is the best-tasting, and great-for-value rice brand. It just goes well with many dishes (especially curry).
add_circleFreshly packed due to brand's harvest-capabilities
remove_circleNeed to soak in order to achieve the best rice texture
You can’t go wrong with Jasmine rice when looking for fragrance. SongHe's premium-grade AAA Jasmine rice is harvested from North-east Thailand, where it is deemed to be perfect for growing rice as the temperature and fertile land are perfectly cool and aplenty.
Packed from Thailand, SongHe's rice has a subtle floral aroma, with hints of jasmine and popcorn. And we can give thanks for the premium, great quality of the rice as the brand uses state-of-the-art equipment to harvest the rice efficiently. Hence, it results in fresh Thai Jasmine Rice.
Its grains are 100% whole kernel for a more nutritious bowl. Soft and slightly sticky when cooked, consumers at home love that it works well to compliment all types of dishes.
BONUS: Some have said that the rice brand does not need much water to cook. Instead, soaking is highly recommended. And it's commonly suggested to steam the rice for that perfect, fluffy and fragrant rice that you get in Thai restaurants.