Curries and rice go hand in hand. Even though curries are usually also paired with flatbread or naan, there is just something very wholesome about having a heap full of rice with delicious curry.
But what is the best rice for curries? Basmati and Jasmine rice are excellent bases for various types of curries but other varieties of rice like brown rice, white rice, and parboiled rice go extremely well with thick or runny curries as well!
Read below to learn more about the different types of rice and how you can make the most out of your curry dishes using rice!
Types Of Rice
The combination of rice and curries goes back centuries with the East Indian cuisine having evolved with rice as a primary ingredient.
There are several types of rice cultivated around the world but only a few of them are worthy of being mixed with curries.
The reason for this is simple: rice is seen more as a carrier of flavor than an ingredient that adds flavor to dishes. Let us explain!
East Indian cuisine heavily includes rice because it adds bulk and starch, features that are typically required to satiate and add texture to dishes.
Historically, basmati and jasmine rice have been extensively used with curries. Whether it’s Korma, Saag, Vindaloo, or more.
The fact that you can mix and match different curries with rice to make entirely new dishes is one of the reasons why East Indian cuisine is so endearing!
For example, when rice is added on top of korma, which is a meat-based curry made from deeply caramelized onions, meat, garam masala, whole spices, and more, it transforms the dish into an entirely new recipe called biryani.
Similarly, simple curries based on onions, sliced potatoes, and whole spices can be added with rice to make Pilaf (or plao).
Many people may also use rice as a side dish with curries and use it separately to either control the spiciness of a dish or to add bulk to a bite.
But, with so many types of rice, what are the best ones for curries?
The 5 Best Rice For Curries
As mentioned above, curries and rice can be mixed and served in different ways, but when it comes to the types of rice some varieties are favored more than others because of their textural characteristics.
Here are the top types of rice for curries:
1. Basmati Rice
Basmati rice has been the default choice for many since the birth of Asian cuisine. This type of long-grain rice is perfect for soaking up flavors and adding just the right amount of bulk to every bite.
Popular in India and other countries in Asia, several subspecies of basmati rice are cultivated in different parts of India and around the continent but for the sake of simplicity, you can choose any type of basmati rice when pairing with curries.
For starters, we recommend going with this brand of basmati rice for the best experience!
What makes basmati rice different from the other types of rice is that this variety is fluffier and lighter when cooked.
Also, once cooked the individual and separated grains of this rice stand out more because of their elongated shape and white color.
Basmati rice can be mixed with any type of curry. We really mean it – there are no exceptions in this case!
Any thick or runny curry will gel well with this rice variety and as mentioned above, one can come up with different dishes using curries and rice as well!
2. Jasmine Rice
Jasmine rice is slightly more aromatic than basmati and has a softer exterior when cooked.
This variety of rice is popular in numerous Asian countries, especially in Thailand where it can be served in numerous Thai recipes. It is also typically paired with Chinese recipes – but they are just as delicious with curries too!
Jasmine rice is also a long-grain rice that is largely similar but slightly different from basmati rice. Jasmine rice can be a bit moister than basmati, which makes them perfect for thicker curries.
Furthermore, since this type of rice is also a bit stickier and may clump up, jasmine rice can be paired with vindaloo, jalfrezi, saag, and more!
In fact, it may arguably be better than basmati when served with tikka masala as jasmine rice is slightly sweeter, which can balance the flavor and spices in hot curries!
Perhaps the best thing about jasmine rice is that it can easily be substituted for basmati or any other type of rice for that matter which automatically means that you can use them freely with any type of curry!
Jasmine rice also has several sub-varieties but we think this brand is a great starting point for anyone who wants to try out jasmine rice.
3. Brown Rice
Brown rice found its place in numerous cuisines, not just because of its flavor, but because of its nutritional value.
Gaining popularity in the 60s and 70s, the demand for brown rice picked up as the health movement slowly spread across the world.
Today, brown rice is mostly seen as a much healthier choice than white rice, which is stripped of its bran and germ layers.
Many people have adopted brown rice as their default choice for curries in the Asian region too! While brown rice takes longer to cook and is generally chewier due to its unprocessed state, it is still an excellent choice for multiple curries.
However, we suggest that you first try brown rice with simple vegetable curries to develop a taste for its earthier flavor and to get used to its different texture.
While this doesn’t limit the use of brown rice to only vegetable-based dishes, most people might not enjoy the chewiness and heaviness of this type of rice with meat-based curries.
For example, brown rice is not typically used with Korma to make biryani because of its conflicting texture.
However, some health-conscious people may still want to opt for it because it offers a more complete nutritional profile than processed rice.
This brown basmati rice product is as good as it is going to get! Also, if you cook the rice and curry perfectly, then you may not notice that big of a change from long-grain rice!
4. White Rice
White rice is typically termed as any type of processed rice grain that has its germ and bran removed.
Varieties of white rice can either be short or long grain and they can also have slightly different characteristics than other rice species, like basmati rice.
White rice can similarly be used with lots of curries.
Since these grains are known to be a bit moister and sticker, just like jasmine rice, they tend to go well with almost any type of curry in the Indian or Asian cuisine in general.
While not the healthiest choice when compared to brown rice, white rice offers more or less the same textural and flavor characteristics as basmati and jasmine rice – which again, makes them an excellent choice for curries!
5. Parboiled Rice
Similar to the brown rice variety in terms of nutrition, parboiled rice is an excellent choice for numerous curries.
Parboiled rice is a partially pre-cooked rice grain that is manufactured using a three-step process where the husk is first soaked, steamed, and then dried before it is packaged.
These steps give the rice grains a slightly yellow hue and make them fluffier and less sticky than white rice. We think parboiled rice is better than brown rice because they come close to the fluffier texture of white rice than brown rice.
Also, parboiled rice can be served with several curries and can even fully substitute the default grains, especially for the health-conscious demographic!
Here are a few curries and our recommendations for the best types of rice for them!
|Types Of Curries||Recommended Rice Types|
|Butter Chicken||Basmati, Jasmine, Parboiled, White Rice, Brown Rice|
|Chicken Vindaloo||Basmati, Jasmine, Parboiled, White Rice|
|Tikka Masala||Basmati, Jasmine, and White Rice|
|Korma (meat/vegetable)||Basmati, Jasmine, and White Rice|
|Jalfrezi||Basmati, Jasmine, Parboiled, White Rice|
|Saag||Basmati, Jasmine, Parboiled, White Rice, Brown Rice|
|Kadhi||Basmati and White Rice|
Now that you know the best types of rice to serve with a number of mouthwatering curries, here are a few related questions that you may have regarding rice and curries!
Do all rice grains cook the same?
No. Every type of rice is different. While they all require either soaking, boiling, or steaming, most rice grains take different times to fully cook.
For example, a processed white rice grain may take less time to cook than brown rice because of its added germ and bran layers.
The best way to figure out the cooking time and rice-to-water ratio are to check the back of the packaging of the rice that you purchased.
Are basmati and white rice unhealthy?
There is a difference between being less nutritious and unhealthy.
Negative connotations are usually reserved for processed rice because of its lower nutritional profile but one can argue that every type of rice can be unhealthy if it is consumed in large quantities.
Rice is naturally high in carbs so you should try to limit your intake of every type of rice in general to get the most benefit from different types of grains.
With the correct portion size and by maintaining a healthy overall diet, anyone can enjoy any type of rice regardless of whether it is brown, parboiled, or white rice.