Although nowadays we have a wide variety of rice dishes from all over the world, when it comes to cooking an authentic Valencian paella, not everything is suitable.
White rice, black rice, long rice, round rice, instant rice… We have a lot to choose from. However, diversity can sometimes lead us to indecision.
When the time comes to make a good paella, it is very important to know the characteristics of each type of rice in order to understand how to choose the rice we use.
At Gastraval we will explain to you in detail the characteristics of each type of rice, and our favorite for making a traditional Valencian paella.
The usual rice dishes
The two main rice families are round rice and long grain rice.
Long rice, also known as Indica rice, is quite aromatic but does not absorb as much of the flavor of the broth. As for the cooking time, this type of rice gives a wider margin of freedom.
On the other hand, we have round rice, also known as Japonica rice. It is a type of rice that maintains and perfectly conveys the flavor of the liquid with which it is cooked. That is to say, it keeps the essence of the flavors that are created in the cooking process. For this reason, it is closely linked to Mediterranean cuisine.
Japonica rice releases a large amount of starch and, in addition, requires a precise cooking time, because if we undercook it or overcook it, it will be hard or, on the contrary, overcooked. We could say that it is the opposite of long rice.
The new generations of rice
In recent decades, the marketing of different types of rice has allowed the emergence of innovative recipes,
but do we know if it is appropriate to use them for a
traditional Valencian paella?
Whole grain or brown rice, which has returned to popularity, with a range of new flavors and many benefits. This type of rice that still retains
the layer that surrounds the grain, is also beneficial to health because it retains its whole grain and contains fiber, vitamins and proteins, among many other properties. You can check all the details about the benefits of brown rice at this link. This type of rice has a longer cooking time and also needs more water, so if we want to make a brown rice paella, we must take this into consideration for our recipe.
We also have instant rice, which offers many advantages on a day when haste is your enemy, but we would not consider it an option for a good Valencian paella since it would be impossible to control the cooking time, and it usually comes in individual containers (you would not have thought of making a real paella with microwave rice, would you?).
Choosing the perfect type of rice
Undoubtedly, each rice is special and indispensable for different dishes worldwide. But to prepare an authentic Valencian paella, round rice is the most successful option as it maintains that special flavor of the paella broth. Strictly related to Mediterranean cuisine, round rice is the one that has always been used to make a traditional Valencian paella.
There are many brands of round rice. However, the brand of round rice most recommended by experts is Bomba rice, due to its composition, as it contains the perfect proportion of amylase and amylopectin. In addition, Bomba rice is characterized by the concertina effect it undergoes during cooking, a detail that has made it one of the best types of round rice recommended for Mediterranean cuisine.
You can also rely on brands that use rice from La Albufera de Valencia, a special variant of rice, a cross between the Bomba and Senia varieties, grown in the emblematic Albufera, a historic place in the history of Valencian paella.
Choosing the right type of rice is fundamental. However, we must not forget the great importance of the cooking process. Having a good type of rice together with a broth with quality ingredients is the perfect combination to obtain the tastiest paella.
At Gastraval we have not only the best rice, but also all the quality ingredients to achieve an authentic Valencian paella. You can learn the secrets of the traditional Valencian paella cooking process with us at this link.