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Bamboo rice. Photo courtesy Lotus Foods.



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October 2007

Last updated April 2014

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Rice, Beans & Grains

Rice: History & Types Of Rice

Page 3: Rice Glossary Terms C ~ H


This is Page 3 of a six-page article and glossary on the types of rice. Click on the black links below to visit other pages. See our many other food glossaries.


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Calasparra rice is a short grain rice that has been grown for centuries, around the town of Calasparra in the Murcia region of southeast Spain. It is the principal rice used for paella. Its longer growing cycle produces kernels that are exceptionally dehydrated and ready to absorb broth, sauce, etc. The finest level of rice grown in Calasparra is Bomba rice.


Calrose rice is a medium-grain rice developed at the Rice Experiment Station at the University of California at Davis (U.C. Davis) from the japonica variety. It was developed to deliver the best flavor when grown in the northern California climate. The cooked grains are softer, moist, sticky and absorb flavor well. Calrose is an all-purpose table rice as well as a rice for specialty Mediterranean and Asian cuisine such as paella, risotto, pilaf and rice bowls. The cooked grains are soft and stick together, making it good for use in sushi (most sushi restaurants use Calrose). Calrose is now grown extensively in the Pacific Rim and Australia.

Calasparra rice is available from

A critical point noted by Greg Massa of Massa Organics: When you allow the rice to mature on the plant, rather than harvesting it slightly green as is industry practice, you get much better flavor. You can buy his brown and white rices online.



Carnaroli is the most prized of all Italian rices, is a “superfino” Italian rice used to make risotto. It is produced in Novara and Vercelli, two towns in the area between Milan and Turin in northwest Italy, and today is also grown at the foothills of the Andes Mountains in South America. It is prized for its bold white kernel, uniform starch release and firmness—each grain maintains its distinct shape in the risotto while continuously absorbing liquid, producing the creamiest risottos. See also arborio rice and vialone nano.


Converted rice is pressure-steamed and dried before it is milled (husked), which causes the grains to absorb nutrients from the husk. This partially compensates for the removal of the bran and the germ, so is a good choice for people who want more nutritious rice but don’t want to eat brown rice. It has the same color and flavor as white rice.

Crab risotto with caviar. Photo courtesy Petrossian.


Cream of Rice is a hot breakfast cereal made from white rice milled into a fine consistency, farina (the Italian word for flour) and cooked with boiling water. Cream of rice is most often eaten as a breakfast porridge, but it can also be cooked into a polenta-like dish or pudding.

GABA or GBR Rice

GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) rice or GBR (germinated brown rice) is a nutritionally superior method of preparing brown rice known. Washed brown rice is soaked for 20 hours in warm water prior to cooking. Soaking stimulates germination, which activates enzymes in the rice and delivers a more complete amino acid profile, including GABA.

Cream of Rice cereal. Photo courtesy Nabisco.


Glutinous means sticky. Short-grained rices like koshihikari, used for sushi, are glutinous. A non-glutinous rice would not be fluffy or in separate grains, like basmati.



A group of rices that are a subspecies of the cultivar Oryza sativa, that produce short-grained rices that are especially glue-like when cooked. Also called botan rice (after a particular brand), pearl rice, sweet rice and waxy rice. (See Calmochi in the photo below, a mochi rice grown in California.)

California Rices
Medium-grain and short-grain japonica rices grown in California. Photo courtesy


Long-grain rices (from the indica strain) have a long, slender kernel that is four to five times longer than their width. The cooked grains are separate, light and fluffy. Medium-grain rice (from the japonica strain) have a shorter, wider kernel (two to three times longer than their width) than long grain rice. The cooked grains are more moist and tender, and have a greater tendency to cling together than long grain. Short-grain rice has a short, plump, almost round kernel. The cooked grains are soft and cling together; short-grained rice is used for risotto and sushi.


See brown rice.


The hull or husk is the outer shell or coating of a grain or seed. It is not edible.



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