Know Your Rice


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Most people have never really understood the various types of rice available and get very confused when purchasing it at the store.  There are various types of rice and each has a different and unique taste depending on how it’s cooked.  As such, there are types which are more suitable for boiling and making puddings, while some are more suitable for making rice dishes such as Pilau/Pilau, Biryani or any other type of fried rice.

This article gives highlights about the types of Rice found in Kenyan Supermarkets, their characteristics and best uses. You won’t ever spend ages choosing which rice to buy again.



Basmati Rice

This is a long grain rice with a unique aroma caused by the presence of a compound known as 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline.  The rice originated from India but has also spread to other parts of the world most notably Kenya (Pishori) and Texas (Texmati).

Because of the sweet aroma, Basmati rice can be boiled with salt and served with stew. It can also be used to make biryani or pilau.

In Kenya, Basmati rice tends to be pricey retailing at between Kshs. 170- 210/= per Kg.  Some of the brands commonly found in most stores are Sunrise Basmati rice, Pearl Basmati Rice, 224 Basmati as well as Dawaat.

Pishori Rice

Pishori is Kenya’s version of Basmati rice and is very common. However, due to differentiation in strains, the grains tend to be a bit shorter and stout compared to those of Basmati. One should be careful when selecting a Pishori brand to purchase as most “pure Pishori” labels are just a blend of basmati with long grain rice. The Kenyan Pishori therefore tends to be stickier and tends to overcook if covered.

Pishori prices range from as low as Kshs. 130- 200/= per Kg. The good thing about Pishori is that you can get it in most places, even at the local market.  Popular brands include Pearl Pishori, 224 Pishori Rice, Dawaat and 5 Star among others.

Aromatic Rice

Aromatic rice is any rice with a natural scent or aroma when cooked; it can be any variety so long as it’s scented.  Basmati, Pishori and Jasmine rice are all aromatic rice varietals though at times manufacturers blend them with ordinary rice to achieve economies. Aromatic rice ranges from Ksh. 115- 170 depending on the brand.

Jasmine Rice

This is a type of fragrant rice native to Thailand. It has a very strong and pleasant taste. The grains range from medium to long and tend to get sticky and fluffy when cooked.  Avoid adding salt when cooking Jasmine rice as it destroys the aromatic characteristic. Jasmine rice cooks easily and requires less water than ordinary rice i.e. 1 cup rice to 1 ¼ cups of water.  This rice is best suited for puddings and spicy fried rice.

Sunrise Jasmine rice retails at roughly Kshs. 150 per Kg locally depending on the Supermarket.

Long Grain Rice

Rice is classified into short, medium and long grain strains.  Therefore, it is erroneous to sell “long grain rice” as a type of rice because many rice varieties fall in this category.

However, in Kenya, brands retail ordinary white rice as long grain rice. This type of rice does not have any unique flavour and requires more water if being cooked in an open sauce pan. It is best suited for cooking pilau, biryani or any other modification of brown rice as the grains tend to remain separate even when cooked.

Long-grain rice is relatively cheap and retails from as low as Ksh. 90.

Parboiled Rice

The first thing one thinks about when they hear about parboiled rice is that it is pre-cooked.  This however is not the case. It is rice that has been partially boiled in the husk before removal. This process drives nutrients from the bran (husks) into the endosperms hence making parboiled rice 80% similar to brown rice hence very nutritious.

Local brands that sell parboiled Rice include 224 which retails at around Ksh. 287 for the 2Kg pack.





About Canduh

A Quantity Surveyor who loves Photography, Food and Travel. This blog is a journal of my cooking, dining and travel escapades

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