Popular Specialty Rices

Arborio (,ar-bor-e-5) Arborio is a short-grain, white rice that becomes sticky when it is cooked. Use 3 cups of water for every cup of rice. It is the best rice to use for risotto-style preparation.

Basmati (,baz-'ma-te) Basmati has extra-long grains that are polished and cream-colored. It has a light, sweet flavor. Basmati is aged before it is used, so it should be well rinsed. Use cups of water for every cup of rice. Basmati has a delicate flavor that is best used in side dishes, including pilaf.

Jasmine ('jaz-man) Jasmine is a long-grain white rice that is similar to basmati, but has a more delicate flavor. It is best as a side dish.

Wild Rice Wild rice is not a true rice, but a wild water grass. It is a brown and black grain that has a nutty flavor and chewy texture. There are three grades of wild rice, with the best having a very long grain. Cook wild rice in three times the amount of water as rice. Wild rice is served as a side dish and used in poultry stuffing. Lower grades are used in soups and baked goods.

Red Rice Red rice is also called Wehani (we-'ha-ne) rice. It has an aromatic, earthy flavor. It is served with meat and bean dishes.


Barley is a hardy, adaptable grain that can grow in both warm and cold climates. It is available unmilled, and in a form called pearled barley, which has been milled and polished.

Barley has a slightly sweet flavor and chewy texture. It is often added to soups and stews, giving them a hearty consistency and rich texture. Barley is also used as a poultry stuffing and as a pilaf side dish.

Because of its mild flavor, barley is a good candidate for cooking with onions, garlic, herbs, and other seasonings. Use a ratio of three parts liquid to one part barley to cook barley.


Oats are the berries of oat grass. They can be purchased as oatmeal and as a whole grain, called groats or oat berries. Oatmeal, a popular but plain hot cereal, can be dressed up with fruits, berries, cream, maple syrup, and other similar toppings to turn a simple breakfast into something special. Oatmeal also makes an excellent addition to bread and cookies. A ratio of two parts liquid to one part oats is used to cook oatmeal.

Oat berries, or groats, do not have the outer layer removed, so they are a whole grain, with all the texture and nutrients found in other whole grains. They can be cooked and served as a hot cereal, used to stuff poultry, and added to baked goods. A ratio of four parts liquid to one part oat groats is used.

Wheat Products

Wheat, in the form of flour, is a staple in bread-making and other kinds of baking. Wheat is actually a very versatile grain that is also milled into semolina and cracked wheat. These two wheat products can be served as side dishes, and used in stuffings and casseroles.

* Nutrition Notes * Nutrients in Grains

Adding ingredients that have been removed during the milling process can increase the nutritional value of grains. For example, 4 ounces of toasted wheat germ adds 33 grams of protein, 56 grams of carbohydrates, 14 grams of fiber, 6 grams of niacin, and more than 1,000 milligrams each of potassium and phosphorus.

CRITICAL THINKING How do you think the milling process removes ingredients?

Couscous ('kus-,kus) is made from semolina that is milled from wheat.

Corn Products

Corn is different from the other grains discussed in this section because it can be eaten fresh. It also can be eaten as a dried grain. When eaten fresh, it is served as a vegetable. As a dried grain, it comes in two main forms: cornmeal, used to make breads and polenta; and hominy, a dried corn kernel.


Polenta (po-'len'ts) is made from cornmeal that is gradually sprinkled into simmering water or stock and cooked until it becomes a thick paste. It is the right consistency when it pulls away from the pot when stirred. Polenta can be served with butter, cheese, or various sauces. It also can be poured into shaped containers or spread on a baking sheet to cool. When cool, it can be sliced or cut into interesting shapes that can be baked, fried, grilled, or broiled. A very versatile food, polenta can be served as a breakfast food with maple syrup, as an appetizer, or as a side dish for dinner. Spices, dried tomatoes, cheese, herbs, and other ingredients can be added during the simmering process.


Hominy is made by soaking dried corn in lye so that the kernels become swollen. As they swell, the outer layers loosen and are easily removed.

Hominy is often served as a side dish or added to soups. When cooking hominy, use 2 to 2% times the amount of water as grain. Hominy also is made into other corn products, including grits, which are cracked hominy served as a side dish or as a cereal. Cook grits in four parts water to one part grits. Masa harina ('ma-ss a-'re-na) is a finely ground hominy used in tortillas and breads.

four different kinds of specialty grains?

Polenta r



2 qts. Water

1 lb. Cornmeal, medium-ground

International Flavor

Method of Preparation

1. In a medium saucepot, heat the water to a boil; add the salt, and gradually add the cornmeal, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon.

2. When mixture is blended without lumps, lower the heat, and simmer until thickened, approximately 30 minutes. When done, the polenta will pull away from the side of the pot.

3. Pour the polenta into an oiled pan, and spread to a 1/2-inch thickness.

4. Allow the polenta to rest a few minutes, then cut into portions. Hold at 135°F (57°C) or above.

Cornmeal is used in many different recipes throughout the world. Research these recipes, and create a chart showing the differences in ingredients and cooking techniques used.

• Wasna (Midwestern United States)

Chef Notes

It is important to get all of the lumps out of the polenta before it simmers. Otherwise, the lumps will stay and make the polenta unappealing.


• Use herbs for flavor instead of salt to lower the sodium content.

• Add lemon for additional flavor and interest.

Cooking Technique


1. Heat the cooking liquid to the proper temperature.

2. Submerge the food product completely.

3. Keep the cooked product moist and warm.


Cornmeal ground corn used in cooking and baking Rest off of heat, and unstirred


Hazardous Foods



Calories 170 Total Fat 1g Saturated Fat 0g Trans Fat 0g Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 300mg Total Carbohydrate Fiber 2g Sugars 1g Protein 3g

Calories from Fat 5

Vitamin C 0% Iron 2%

Continue reading here: Wheat Grains

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