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Rice: the staple of Asia

Across the entire planet, there is one food that reigns supreme as a global staple: rice. Rice is the most important food crop for more than half of the world’s population, eaten by the large majority of the population of earth, each and every day.

How has this simple grain become such a trusted and essential part of the diet across Asia? Is it the nutritional contents? A cultural ingredient? Or is it simply a part of history?

It is estimated that nine out of ten people in the world who eat rice are Asian. In Africa, rice is the fastest growing food staple, whilst in Latin America and the Caribbean, it is also growing rapidly in popularity.

What is it about this tiny seed that has led it to take its place as the world’s most popular staple? Rice itself, consists mainly of the embryo and the starchy endosperm, all enclosed within several thin layers of differentiated tissues collectively referred to as the bran layer.

Rice is milled through a process which dehusks the outer layer by around 20%, resulting in brown rice that still maintains its bran layer. The rice can be further milled to remove the bran layer completely and produce what we know as white rice.

Brown rice is considered healthier as it still retains more bran fibre as well as essential vitamins and minerals sealed within the bran layer. The polishing method of producing white rice strips away 80% of the thiamine from brown rice, leaving it with less nutritional value, but does reduce the cooking time over brown rice and removes the bran layer which contains an oil that can cause rice to spoil in storage, even at moderate temperatures. White rice is also preferred over brown rice for its fluffier consistency and creamier taste over the nuttier and chewier brown rice.

Here at Royal Nawaab, we use the finest rice available to produce our authentic Pakistani and Indian cuisine. Visit our restaurant in Manchester today to experience the true taste of Asia.