from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Order : Sweet grass (Poales)
Family : Sweet grasses (Poaceae)
Genre : Oryza
Type : rice
Scientific name
Oryza spec. (in particular Oryza sativa L. and Oryza glaberrima Steud.)
Different types of rice (Photo: IRRI )
World harvest of the five most important food crops in 2017. Total = 4.9 billion tons.
Long grain rice varieties (white, brown, red). Some black grains of the genus Zizania (" wild rice ") are also mixed in.

As rice which are grains of plant species Oryza sativa and Oryza glaberrima referred. Oryza sativa is grown in many countries around the world, Oryza glaberrima (also known as "African rice") in West Africa . In addition to these two rice plants, the rice genus ( Oryza ) also includes 17 other species that were not domesticated .

Rice is a staple food , especially in Asia, and thus forms the basis of food for a large part of the world's population . Larger quantities are only produced from three crops : sugar cane , maize and wheat (as of 2016), with maize only being used to a small extent as food (maize is mainly fed to animals). In the world grain harvest, rice, together with wheat, is one of the two most important types of grain for human nutrition .

Dark cereal grains, which are called "wild rice" in trade and gastronomy, do not belong botanically to the rice genus ( Oryza ), but to the water rice genus ( Zizania ). They are not covered in this article.

Word origin

The German word rice is based on a long wandering word . Borrowed from the German has it from the Middle Latin risum that the Latin Oriza , which in turn derives from the ancient Greek Oryza had been borrowed. From here the trail can be traced back to the Middle Persian wrizey and finally to the ancient Indian vrīhí , where it is lost. Compare with other languages: Italian riso , English rice , French riz , Swedish ris , Icelandic hrísgrjón , Dutch rijst .

Rice was introduced to Western Europe by the Arabs: Arabic رز, DMG ruzz , with articleالرز, became arroz in Spanish and Portuguese .

In standard Chinese (also called Mandarin) the rice plant is called dào (稻), the food is called dàmǐ (大米). In many Asian languages ​​there are different names for rice, depending on its processing level :

  • In Indonesia , rice that has not yet been threshed is called padi , threshed rice is called gabah (pronounced gaba), husked rice is called beras , and cooked rice is called nasi (pronounced nassi).
  • In Japan the rice plants are called ine (稲), they grow on a rice field tanbo (田 ん ぼ). The not yet peeled rice is called momi (籾), the peeled rice kome (ome). Cooked rice is gohan (ご 飯 - or a little less posh meshi飯), which is also the general word for meals. Rice soup that is boiled with plenty of water is called kayu (粥).
  • In Korea , the uncooked rice is called ssal (쌀), the cooked one is called bap (밥).
  • In Persian , the unpeeled rice is called shāli (شالی, DMG šālī ), the peeled rice berendsch (برنج, DMG berenğ ) and the cooked rice chelou (چلو, DMG čelou ). Rice cooked mixed with other ingredients is called polou (پلو, DMG polou ), in German Pilav (via Turkish).

The rice plant Oryza sativa


Rice panicle ( oryza sativa )

The cultivated rice plant Oryza sativa can develop up to 30 stalks. They reach heights of 50 to 160 cm and each have a narrow overhanging panicle on which 80 to 100 single-flowered spikelets can sit. One plant can thus bear almost 3000 fruits. As with all grains, the fruit consists of a seedling , endosperm , aleurone layer , seed coat and pericarp . In the case of rice, the last three together form the so-called silver skin.

Subspecies and groups

The enormous variety of varieties and crosses bred over thousands of years makes a systematic classification difficult. Depending on the application of various genetic and morphological criteria, there are different ways of classifying subspecies and varieties .

The two most important groups are usually assigned the rank of subspecies (alternatively, they are also addressed as the two most important groups or types):

  • Oryza sativa ssp. indica - type long grain rice, not sticky (e.g. Patna rice, Basmati rice)
  • Oryza sativa ssp. japonica - type of round grain rice, sticky (therefore also called sticky rice )

A third subspecies was defined according to morphological criteria, Oryza sativa ssp. javanica (type of medium-grain rice, " risotto rice"). Due to genetic criteria, javanica is now mostly regarded as a variety within the Japonica group.

In 1987, based on the analysis of isoenzymes, Glaszmann came to a division of Oryza sativa into six groups, including two main groups, which correspond to indica and japonica , and four smaller groups. Garris et al. proposed in 2005, based on an investigation of microsatellite sequences of the DNA, a division into five groups, two of which can be assigned to the Indica group and three to the Japonica group.

Wild rice

Oryza rufipogon : Trial
cultivation at the National Taiwan University

Within the species Oryza sativa , no wild form is known, as this species has emerged from another species through thousands of years of breeding : Oryza rufipogon . Previously, long time the question was asked whether the annual growing type Oryza rufipogon this wild ancestor or perennial nature Oryza Nivara . Both can be with each other and with domesticated rice cross . Today they are considered one and the same species - Oryza nivara is now synonymous with Oryza rufipogon .

All Oryza species except the cultivated plants Oryza sativa and Oryza glaberrima are wild rice. In connection with Oryza sativa , the term "wild rice" or "wild rice" usually refers to the direct relative Oryza rufipogon . This species occurs naturally in wetlands in the subtropical and tropical climates of Asia, for example in Burma , Thailand , Laos and southern China . It occurs in northern Jiangxi and Hunan and was also found further north in the Yangtze Valley. Wild rice is also found in southern Korea, both Oryza rufipogon and feral domesticated short grain rice and crosses of wild rice with long and short grain rice. The simple and frequent hybridization between cultivated rice varieties and Oryza rufipogon posed great challenges in the search for the area of ​​origin of domestication.

It should be noted that in trade and in the kitchen the term “wild rice” is mostly used in a different sense, namely for the dark grains of sweet grasses of the American genus Zizania . This genus is botanically known as water rice . It should not be confused with the rice genus described here . Zizania is not a wild form of the rice plant Oryza sativa .

History of Cultivation

Origin of Domestication

Rice terrace cultivation in the Chinese province of Yunnan

Where and when rice was domesticated has been the subject of numerous scientific studies. A groundbreaking study in 2011 found that all groups and varieties of Oryza sativa can be traced back to a single domestication of the wild species Oryza rufipogon , which occurred in China no later than 8200 years ago. In 2012 it was finally clarified that this original domestication occurred in the area of ​​the Pearl River Delta . From there the domesticated rice spread: first within China, later to Southeast Asia and India .

Previous investigations (including the aforementioned study from 2011) and the archeological findings had suggested that the center of domestication in China was to be found further north on the Yangtze . Furthermore, the theory of a single place of origin had competed with various theories that postulated multiple domestication processes: at least two independent domestications in China and India. Considerable genetic differences between the subspecies japonica and indica supported this assumption . These differences are now explained by the fact that the domesticated rice from China was genetically mixed in India with the rice types present there.

Archaeological Findings in China

In China there are around 120 sites with leftover rice, most of them younger than 5000 BC. The majority are located on the middle Yangtze (between the Three Gorges and the mouth of the Poyang Hu ). Hence, this area had long been considered the center of rice domestication in China. Most of the other sites are in southern China. A few sites are further north, on the Huai He and the Yellow River .

The distinction between short and long grain rice is not always certain in the case of charred grains, which make up the majority of the archaeological finds. The identification of Oryza sativa is linked to the size of the grains and is therefore also often uncertain. Wild rice has a brittle spikelet axis ( rachis ), long and dense awns. The spikelet axis is rarely found.

Use of wild rice

Rice grown in the wild was found in the Yuchan cave and in Xianrendong in the Yangtze Valley (Higham / Lu 1998, 869). In the cave of Diaotonghuan on the Yangtze ( Jiangxi Province) a stratigraphy was excavated that spanned the late Pleistocene to the middle Holocene ( Neolithic ). The phytolites of rice were found in layers of the end of the Pleistocene. So wild rice was probably collected. From 8000 BC The first, very coarse ceramics appear, some of which are decorated with imprints of cord. Phytoliths, which show the morphology of domesticated rice, originate from the corresponding layers . Reliable 14 C data is missing. From Hemudu (Zhejiang) comes a pot that contained boiled rice and is dated to around 7000 BP .

According to the theory of Zh. Zhao and colleagues (1998) collected wild rice as early as the late Pleistocene . In a later phase the rice was already partially domesticated, from 7500 onwards Zhao u. a. from a predominance of domesticated rice in the diet. The isotope analysis of human bones from Xianrendong and Diaotonghuan seems to prove the use of rice in the early Holocene (MacNeish et al. 1997), but the dating of the bones has been questioned. Higham and Lu assume that rice has been grown in the central Yangtze Valley since the beginning of the Holocene because the wild resources could no longer meet the needs of the local hunters and gatherers.

Domesticated rice

The dating of domesticated rice from the Yangtze region to 11500 BP ( Archaeological Institute of America ) is largely viewed with suspicion by experts, as morphological studies of the grains have not yet been presented. The connection between the very small grains and the finds from the area is not always certain. The most reliable are AMS data for the grains themselves. So far, 14 C data are available from China , none of which are older than 7000 BC. Is. The oldest direct dates are between 6000 and 7000 BC. BC and come from Pengtoushan (7775 + 90 BP , OxA-2210 , a grain of rice that was embedded in ceramics) in the Yangtze Valley and Jiahu in the Huai Valley (Henan, Peiligang culture ). In Pengtoushan, rice straw and seed pods were used to thin pottery.

In the wet soil settlement of Bashidang , which belongs to the Pengtoushan culture, uncarburized remains of over 15,000 grains of rice were found, which had been preserved in the wet sediment in the absence of air. It is said to be an early form of domesticated rice. The corresponding layers date between 8400 and 7700 BP . Wooden pestles may have been used to husk rice, and wooden spades that may have been used in agriculture have also been found. Dwellings on stilts , sunken and one-storey houses may indicate a sedentary way of life. Pottery was also made.

Presumably domesticated rice was found in the Lijiacun culture , 7000–6000 BC. Chr .; used in Hunan in the Yuchanyan culture (9000–8000 BC).

In Jiahu, grains of rice were found in pottery and phytolites. An analysis of human bones showed a predominance of C3 plants , including rice, in the diet (Juzhong / Xiangkun 1998, 898).

On the Yellow River (Lijiacun), domesticated rice has been identified from 7000 BP . For southern China, domesticated rice is documented much later. Shixia in Guangdong , the oldest evidence so far, dates to 4850–4600 BP .

Korea and Japan

Transporting bundles of rice in Japan ( Hokusai , woodcut from the series 36 Views of Mount Fuji )

It was usually assumed that the cultivated rice did not spread to Korea until the Bronze Age . In the meantime, however , rice leftovers are known from Kawaji , "Site 1" in South Korea , which were made using the radiocarbon method at the end of the 2nd millennium BC. To be dated. Rice phytolites were also found.

It is commonly believed that knowledge of rice cultivation dates back to around 300 BC. Reached Japan, either via China or via Korea. In Okinawa , however, rice is only detected from 800 AD. Rice phytolites are already known from ceramics of the middle Jōmon period . The oldest AMS data on rice grains (1000-800 BC) come from the late Jōmon culture in northern Honshū .


Rice fields in Tamil Nadu , India

Rice was already used as a forage plant in India in the Mesolithic . Finds of domesticated rice from the Vindhya Plateau in northwest central India were made between 6000 and 5000 BC. BC, but these dates are not recognized by all state-organized researchers. Rice prints on ceramic vessels come from Chopanimando. Rice cultivation in Taradih and Khairadih has been proven since the 5th millennium.

In eastern India is ceramic with Dreschresten of rice leaner is from Chirand known. It probably dates to the 3rd millennium.

From Rangpur and Lothal , settlements of the Harappa culture , pot fragments come from that are allegedly leaned with rice straw. So far, this is the only and uncertain evidence for the domestication of rice in the Harappa culture. Reliable evidence of rice grains from the Indus valley only dates back to the late 2nd millennium.

South East Asia

Rice fields near Angkor in Cambodia
Rice terraces in East Timor

The theory of local domestication of rice in the Gulf of Siam in Thailand was based on the dating of rice and human bones from the site of Khok Phanom Di in the 7th millennium BC. BC, which has since been withdrawn (Higham / Lu 1998, 873). The early dates for Non Nok Tha and Ban Chiang could not be confirmed either. So far, no early rice finds are known from the Southeast Asian mainland, which of course does not rule out local domestication.

Coming from southern China, it was around 3000 BC. In the area of ​​what is now Cambodia, irrigation cultivation was introduced.


Cultivation of Oryza glaberrima in Ghana: rice fields in the Ashanti region

The rice plant Oryza glaberrima is traditionally grown in West Africa . It is believed that domestication took place around 2000 to 3000 years ago in the Massina Inland Delta of Niger .

This "African rice" was pushed back by the cultivation of the more productive Asian rice ( Oryza sativa ). However, Asian rice is not adapted to the environment in Africa, it is more susceptible to the pests there and needs more water than African rice. At the turn of the millennium there were advantageous crosses of the two species. The scientist Monty Jones, initiator of the New Rice for Africa project (see NERICA ), was awarded the World Food Prize in 2004.

Further spread

Since 400 BC BC rice is grown in Mesopotamia , the rice probably came from ancient Persia . There, farmers in what is now Gilan Province (northern Iran ) bred indica varieties that are still important today, including Gerdeh , Hashemi , Hasani and Gharib .

The Romans already knew rice as a medicinal plant. At that time, rice was also grown in Babylonia and Syria . Rice was also used to thicken and thicken sauces.

Rice was introduced to Spain by the Moors in the 10th century . In 1475 rice was mentioned in a document from the Duke of Milan and has been grown in the Po Valley ever since . Rice was first successfully grown in Australia in 1914. Since 1997, the rice variety Loto has also been cultivated on a small scale in Switzerland in the Maggia Delta and the Magadino Plain , which, along with small cultivation areas in Hungary, are considered to be the northernmost cultivation areas in the world. Since 2016, successful field trials by interested farmers with wet rice as an alternative management option for moist and wet arable land have been supported by the national Agroscope research institute . The largest test field with 120 ares was created in Brugg in 2019 . Cultivating the fields with wet rice has many advantages. Wet rice is less susceptible to climatic extremes such as heavy rainfall or heat waves and offers the possibility of networking rarely changed humid habitats of threatened animal and plant species. Raising the groundwater level in the drained peaty soils could save major greenhouse gas emissions. The cultivation trial in Brugg in 2019 showed a positive development in biological diversity . So were u. a. 26 different types of dragonflies as well as numerous frogs , spiders and birds were spotted in the field. The plan is to double the acreage in 2020.

United States

Rice has been grown in North America since the late 17th century and has since played an important role in many traditional American dishes, such as gumbo . The question of how rice came to the United States has a lot of different stories to tell. One of them tells of a Dutch ship that was so shaken by a storm on its way to Madagascar around 1685 that it had to seek refuge in the port of Charleston in the province of Carolina. The residents of Charleston welcomed the crew warmly and helped repair the ship. As a thank you, the grateful captain gave them a sample of his cargo, known as the “golden rice seed”, before they set off on their journey. These valuable rice seeds were the primordial germs of the now famous rice variety "Carolina Gold". According to another source, the first rice seeds reached the colony as early as 1672.

It is undisputed that the southern part of the British colony of Carolina was the first region within what was later to become the national territory of the United States in which rice was grown. As early as 1691, production had reached such a level that settlers were legally allowed to pay their taxes with rice. The center of production was in Georgetown County, northeast of Charleston. In the 18th century, additional cultivation areas emerged in the Cape Fear region of South Carolina, on the Georgia coast and in northeast Florida .

Rice cultivation in the colonies was based from the beginning on the labor of slaves , for whose import the colonial government had created special incentives as early as the 17th century. In addition, Indian slaves and debt servants who had traveled from Europe were also used. As early as 1708, 3,000 African and 1,400 Indian slaves were counted in South Carolina ; the total population comprised 9500 people. Since white debt servants were not available in sufficient numbers and many Indians died of smallpox or yellow fever , the planters almost completely switched to African slaves by 1730. An increasingly large part of it came from the African rice-growing regions (the upper coast of Guinea , Senegambia and Ivory Coast ) and brought experience with the cultivation of this plant. The work in the hot summer rice fields, which was carried out on most of the plantations under the task system , was not only particularly laborious and exhausting, but was also considered harmful and dangerous due to alligators , snakes , mosquitoes and the vapors rising from the muddy soil. In fact, the mortality of slaves working in the rice plantations was particularly high. On many plantations, a third of the newly arrived slaves from Africa died within the first year, often of malaria or yellow fever - diseases to which the slaves had little resistance due to their poor diet and other living conditions. In contrast to cotton cultivation , for example , rice cultivation involved many demanding work processes that required expertise and special experience from the workforce. Mills and complex hydraulic systems were needed to irrigate the fields, for which slaves were used as engineers, machinists and millers.

Economical meaning

Today's growing areas

Rice production worldwide
Rice growing areas in the USA (as of 2010), source: USDA

Asia - especially China, India and other parts of Southeast Asia - is the main growing area for rice. Around 91% of the world's harvest is produced there.

In Europe, there is an important cultivation area in northern Italy ( Po Valley ), especially in the northeast of Piedmont in the provinces of Biella and Vercelli (protected designation of origin Riso di Barraggia Biellese e Vercellese ). Other European rice producers are Portugal , Spain (especially in the regions of Valencia , Murcia and the Ebro Delta ) and France ( Camargue , approx. 75% of the rice consumed in France comes from their own country). Macedonia and Thrace are the growing areas for the typical Greek rice. Rice has been grown commercially in Switzerland since 1997 : on the Delta della Maggia and in the Magadino plain ( Locarno and the surrounding area), the annual yield is 400 tons.

In the United States, after the Civil War and the abolition of slavery (1865), rice cultivation shifted to Arkansas , California , Texas , Louisiana , Mississippi , Missouri, and Florida . Arkansas, California and Louisiana account for over 80% of the US rice acreage and total US rice production. The growing areas mainly extend over large parts of the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana and along the lower reaches of the Mississippi to the south of Missouri. Another focus is the Sacramento Valley in California. The USA is the fifth largest rice exporter in the world: 8.6% of the rice on the world market comes from the USA.

In the Dominican Republic , rice is mainly grown in the Cibao Valley .

In Australia , rice cultivation is concentrated in two river valleys in southern New South Wales . Rice cultivation competes with other agricultural sectors for the use of the available water. Eleven varieties with short to medium grain sizes are grown and also exported, while long grain rice is imported.

The largest rice producers

Water buffalo pull the plow across a rice field in Java . Indonesia is the third largest rice producer in the world.

A total of around 782 million tonnes of rice were harvested worldwide in 2018. The following table gives an overview of the 20 largest rice producers worldwide, who together harvested 93.6% of world production. Only one country among the 10 largest producers does not belong to Asia: Brazil in 9th place.

Largest rice producers (2018)
rank country Quantity
(in t )
  rank country Quantity
(in t)
1 China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China 212,129,000 11 CambodiaCambodia Cambodia 10,647,212
2 IndiaIndia India 172,580,000 12 United StatesUnited States United States 10.170.040
3 IndonesiaIndonesia Indonesia 83,037,000 13 JapanJapan Japan 9,727,500
4th BangladeshBangladesh Bangladesh 56,417,319 14th NigeriaNigeria Nigeria 6,809,327
5 VietnamVietnam Vietnam 44.046.250 15th Korea SouthSouth Korea South Korea 5,195,437
6th ThailandThailand Thailand 32.192.087 16 NepalNepal Nepal 5,195,437
7th MyanmarMyanmar Myanmar 25,418,142 17th EgyptEgypt Egypt 4,900,000
8th PhilippinesPhilippines Philippines 19,066,094 18th MadagascarMadagascar Madagascar 4,030,000
9 BrazilBrazil Brazil 11,749,192 19th Sri LankaSri Lanka Sri Lanka 3,929,831
10 PakistanPakistan Pakistan 10,802,949 20th LaosLaos Laos 3,584,700
world 782.000.145

See also:


The most important rice exporter in 2016 was Thailand (more than 9.9 million t), followed by India (9.9 million t), Vietnam (5.2 million t), Pakistan (3.9 million t) and USA (3.3 million t).

Selling rice is a state monopoly in Thailand . The government buys rice at fixed prices and licenses its export. The export taxes finance state-sponsored irrigation projects and field trials to improve cultivation methods, fertilization and disease prevention. The small rice farmers form the backbone of production and are mostly also owners of the cultivated land. Field work is done collectively within the village.


Sacked rice in an Asian supermarket

Rice is the staple food for more than half of the world's population. In some Asian countries, rice makes up around 80% of the total diet. Today rice is grown in almost all tropical and subtropical regions of the world.

Rice is mainly used for human consumption (92%), only about 4% as animal feed, 3% is reused in industry and 2% is reused as seeds.

The world market prices for rice have risen sharply since the end of 2007 , from June 2007 to April 2008 the price rose by 75%. The reasons for the price increase are crop failures in Bangladesh and China and India's announcement that it will cut rice exports to stabilize prices in their own country. But the increasing conversion of arable land for the production of biomass for the production of biofuels has also led to speculation on the raw material markets. Meanwhile, the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund are warning of a global threat to political stability from rising food prices. In early April 2008, prices for rice and other food that were no longer affordable for many people led to serious unrest in Haiti .

Global warming impact

Model calculations under the assumption of the moderate RCP8.5 scenario show a significant deterioration in the cultivation conditions for rice on all cultivated areas worldwide in the context of the climate crisis . In particular, rice production is expected to decline by around 40 percent by the end of the century. The rise in temperature caused by global warming leads to increased uptake of arsenic by rice plants, which will contribute to this decline in production.

Rice cultivation

Rice cultivation in Bangladesh
Manual irrigation of rice fields near Hanoi , Vietnam.
Rice plant in the water, Luzon , Philippines
A worker harvests the rice seedlings, Cambodia
Mechanical rice cultivation in North Korea
Machine rice setting in Japan

Rice is not originally a water plant, but has adapted to the flooding of the fields for thousands of years through breeding and natural selection . Many weeds and soil-dwelling pests are prevented from growing by the flooding, which is the main reason for the use of water in rice cultivation. Rice can be grown in four different ways, depending on the prevailing ecosystem:

  • rain-dependent mountain rice cultivation
  • rain-dependent low rice cultivation
  • Deep water rice cultivation
  • Wet rice cultivation

Dry rice

Dry rice is mainly grown in regions with little rainfall or in the mountains with high humidity. This type of cultivation is laborious because the weed growth is not inhibited by the water . Dry rice is a subspecies of rice.

Spreading seed method

Not so much water is required in the sprinkling process, the yields are much lower than with water rice. In many Asian countries, dry rice is highly valued because of its more pronounced aroma, despite its significantly higher price. The mountain rice is grown at heights of up to 2000 m.

Wet rice cultivation

80% of the world rice harvest is produced in wet rice cultivation. Between 3000 and 5000 liters of running water are required per kilogram of rice. If the water flows too quickly, soil components and nutrients are washed away; If the water flows too slowly, algae form. In the lowlands, wet rice cultivation with irrigation via wells can lead to falling groundwater levels. The Chinese government has therefore banned rice cultivation around Beijing because the water table there has dropped by up to three meters, which is hindering the booming economy.

Depending on the variety, type of cultivation and area, between one and three harvests are possible per year.

Growing wet rice is very labor-intensive, but enables much higher yields than the scatter sowing method. The operations are:

  • Sow in the relatively dry planting field (this shows that the rice is not a real aquatic plant; if sown directly into the water, it does not rise)
  • Mixing of the soil on the planned rice field with water, mostly with plowing behind water buffalo
  • Moving the seedlings from the planting field to the rice field by hand or with setting machines
  • Irrigation of the field during the growing and ripening period, further care is not necessary; Problems arise when the water level rises too much during the rainy season or when the monsoon rains are too low.
  • In some regions of the world, small fish and crustaceans, which are often the only source of protein for ordinary farmers, thrive in the irrigation channels of the rice fields. These have now been largely eradicated through the use of pesticides.
  • after about four to six months, the fields are drained and harvested with hand sickles or sickle rings, the plants are bundled and transported or threshed on site. The straw is now mostly burned in the fields.

It is assumed that wet rice cultivation produces 17% of the methane in the earth's atmosphere today - around 60 million tons annually. After CO 2, methane is the most important anthropogenic greenhouse gas , methane molecules have an approximately 21 times stronger effect on the greenhouse effect than CO 2 molecules (see global warming potential ). The strong watering of the soil creates an almost oxygen-free habitat for anaerobic , methane-producing archaea ( methane producers ). Methane emissions can be reduced by allowing the soil to dry out.

Due to the anaerobic milieu of the soil, damage to the rice plant due to iron toxicity is also known in wet rice-growing areas .

System of Rice Intensification

The method system of rice intensification (German system of rice intensification ), short SRI or SICA (of it : S istema I ntensivo de C ultivo A rrocero ), a cultivation method for rice, from 1983 by de Henri LAULANIE in Madagascar was developed . With more intelligent and more intensive cultivation methods, which in particular promote the aerobic soil organisms , while at the same time reducing the use of seeds, water and fertilizers, significant increases in yield should be achieved.

Machine cultivation

90% of the yield is grown practically without any mechanization of sowing and harvesting, 10% is highly mechanized, for example by sowing, fertilizing and weed control by plane (e.g. USA). In southern Europe and America, growing rice is only worthwhile when using machines. In the USA , the rice is sown with the help of airplanes on lightly flooded fields and then harvested from the dried fields with combine harvesters.


By agricultural pests

The main economic pest for rice cultivation is the phytopathogenic rice blight ( Magnaporthe grisea ), which has spread worldwide in temperate zones.

There are also other plant pathogens such as Corticium sasakii , Corticium vagum , Sclerotium irregulare , Hypochnus sasakii , Pellicularia sasakii and Rhizoctonia solani of the temperate and tropical zones.

Through storage pests

When storing the rice from can rice beetles ( Sitophilus oryzae ) are compromised, to the family of weevils belong. The beetle larvae grow in the rice grains and eat them from the inside. The beetles continue to multiply in packaged rice. In the case of weevil infestation, not only are the fully-grown beetles in the rice, but there are also grains of rice with punctiform traces of eating and rice grains hollowed out from the inside. Since this is likely to result in infestation with other pests and microbes, it is recommended in Japan, for example, that the infested rice be destroyed for reasons of hygiene.

Another pest is the rice bug .

Benefits from beneficial insects

Individual azo varieties of bacteria of the Rhodocyclaceae family were localized as beneficial insects in the roots of rice ( Oryza sativa ) . These practice nitrogen fixation from air-nitrogen and give it to the rice in a symbiotic form.

Another well-known symbiont in rice cultivation are algae ferns (Azolla). They have nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria ( Anabaena azollae , Nostoc azollae ) in leaf hollows. Azolla grows with the rice fields and contributes to the nitrogen supply after composting . In addition, a dense growth of azolla on the rather stagnant water surfaces of rice cultivation hinders or prevents the development of many mosquito species , which is particularly advantageous in areas where malaria occurs.


Women in India thresh rice

After the ripe rice has been cut, it is threshed. The stay lemmas on grain of rice. The entire grain of rice as it is after threshing is inedible and can lead to asphyxiation (especially in small children). In the next step, the rice grains are dried to a water content of 14 to 16%. This intermediate product is called raw rice or paddy rice . Depending on which and how many processing steps follow, different products are created:

  • The husks, which make up about 20% of the original weight, are removed in a rice mill. What remains is the actual rice fruit, which consists of the endosperm, seedling and surrounding silver membrane. It is called unpeeled rice , brown rice or cargo rice because the rice is usually exported in this form. As brown rice, some of this rice is also sold for consumption. In the kitchen it is also called whole grain rice , because the rice grain still has the silver skin and the embryo attached. As a result, the vitamin, trace element and protein content is higher than in the usual rice products.
  • Grinding removes the silver skin and seedling from the unpeeled rice. In this form the rice is called milled or white rice. It is much more durable than the more fatty unpeeled rice, but has lost most of the minerals and vitamins .
  • The rice, which is rough and slightly starch in the boiling water after grinding and is therefore very sticky, is smoothed by polishing. This is done dry or with water by rubbing the rice grains together. The product is called polished rice.
  • Quick-cooking rice is pre-cooked and redried rice.
  • When broken rice is called the rice is broken during processing.
  • Flat rice or poha is squeezed, quick-to-prepare rice that is sometimes used for desserts in India.

In so-called parboiling process (from English Partially boiling "partially cooked") paddy rice is first soaked briefly in water and then with hot steam treated. In the process, ingredients dissolve and diffuse inward into the endosperm. After drying, the rice is then processed until it is polished. In the parboiled rice produced in this way, around 80% of the vitamins and minerals from the silver membrane are retained.

The talc coating of rice with glucose as a binding agent, which was customary locally until the 1980s, is practically no longer used. The process originally served to preserve it against the damp environment when shipping polished rice. It also resulted in a shimmering surface on the rice, which some consumers considered a quality criterion. However, the coating had to be washed off before cooking.


Unpeeled long grain rice

For retail, a distinction is made between the two extremes: long grain rice (also scrambled rice , patna, there are dry-boiling Indian and Javanese as well as sticky-boiling Japanese rice varieties) and short-grain rice (also milk rice ). Long grain rice is more than 6.0 mm long. The ratio of length to thickness is greater than 2 and less than 3 for Japonica and 3 and more for Indica . Medium grain rice is 5.2-6.0 mm long and the length to width ratio is less than 3.Short grain rice is 5.2 mm or less and the length to width ratio is less than 2.

The Chinese and Southeast Asian varieties are mostly between these two poles. Japanese rice plants are less sensitive to cold. In Japan, rice can even be grown on Hokkaidō , the northernmost main island influenced by the Siberian climate.

In both long-grain and short-grain rice, a distinction is made between a type with a translucent grain and one with a cloudy grain (which can also become almost translucent through polishing). The starch in translucent rice consists of 20% amylose and 80% amylopectin ; in cloudy rice, it is almost entirely amylopectin.

Different types of rice are suitable for different dishes due to their properties. Arborio , Vialone or Carnaroli are preferred for risotto , basmati rice for Indian dishes , or jasmine rice for Thai dishes . In total there are more than 120,000 types of rice worldwide.

Arborio rice

Arborio rice

Arborio (also Avorio) is a medium-grain rice variety that is mainly grown in the Po Valley in Italy . It is characterized by a compact, oval grain. It is preferably used in risotto .

Basein rice

US ripe rice

This rice comes from Southeast Asia and is cheaper than Java or Lombokreis. The grains are similar to these types, and because they belong to the group of semi-hard types, they cannot be cooked dry as well. If you steam this rice, it can also be used well for the rice table.

Basmati rice

Basmati ( Urdu : ﺑﺎﺳﻤﺘﻰ, Hindi : बास्मती bāsmatī ) means "fragrant" in Hindi. It is a particularly aromatic, long-grain rice that originally comes from Afghanistan. It is grown at the foot of the Himalayas and is the typical accompaniment to a variety of oriental dishes.

Of the Basmati varieties marketed, 15 are approved by the Indian and Pakistani authorities according to the Code of Practice on Basmati and may contain a maximum of 7 percent foreign rice:

  • 5 Pakistani varieties: Basmati 198, Basmati 370, Basmati 385, Kernel Basmati and Super Basmati.
  • 10 Indian varieties: Basmati 217, Basmati 386, Dehradun, Haryana, Kasturi (Baran, Rajasthan), Mahdi Suganda, Punjab, Pusa, Ranbir and Taraori.

The basmati grains must then be at least 6.5 millimeters long. Basmati grains are narrower in relation to their length than other long grain varieties and, even when uncooked, have a characteristic odor that differs significantly from other rice varieties.

Bomba rice

Bomba rice ( Spanish arroz bomba , Catalan arròs bomba ) is a type of rice that is mainly grown in the Spanish regions of Valencia and Murcia . It is traditionally used for paella , but also for numerous other regional dishes of Valencian cuisine . It is characterized by the lower starch content compared to other round grain rice varieties, which means that it remains firmer and grainier when cooked.

Rangoon rice

This rice comes from Myanmar , has almost the same properties as the basin rice and belongs to the semi-hard types.

Java and Lombok rice

The varieties named after the islands of Java and Lombok have long and very thin grains, cook dry and swell very strongly.

Patna rice

The Patna -Rice is similar to Java and Lombok rice. The grains are long, thin and transparent. It belongs to the "hard" group, so it is boiling dry.

Japan rice

Whole grain rice and black brown rice from Japan

Due to the large north-south expansion of the country and thus very different climatic conditions, many different types of rice are grown. The best known are Koshihikari and Sasanishiki . The rice is sold both polished ( hakumai : 白米 or seimai : 精 米) and unpolished ( genmai : 玄 米).

Various varieties of the subspecies japonica ( Oryza sativa ssp. Japonica ) are grown in the USA , Egypt , Spain and Italy in addition to Japan . The grain is softer than long grain rice, is mainly used for rice pudding in German-speaking countries and is also sold under this name. The grains are short and thick, almost round.

In Japan itself, this rice is usually boiled in water without salt and eaten with vegetables, fish and meat. The rice is not a side dish, but is seen as a central component of the meal.

In addition to "normal" rice, there are types of rice that are grown for special purposes. So mochigome (餅米) the Japanese term for the murky sticky rice , which is normally stamped so that a viscous, sticky mass is formed, which can be used both for traditional sweets as roasted as a soup or as a meal. Sakamai (酒 米) is a particularly large- grain and starchy type of rice that is used to make sake , Japanese rice wine. Red and black brown rice are on the market in Japan under the name Kodaimai (古代 米); because of their high price, they are usually only added to normal rice.

Chigalon rice

Chigalon has been grown in the Camargue in France since the 1960s . This rice variety has the same for the subspecies Oryza sativa ssp. japonica characteristic round grain.

Inca rice

Inca has long and narrow grains that meet the European standard for long grain rice.

Irat rice

Irat 285 has a long awning grain and is therefore better protected against birds during the grain formation.

Khao Youak rice

Khao Youak is rich in starch and belongs to the sticky rice that is used in Japanese cuisine especially for the preparation of sushi.

Sweet rice

Sweet rice, also called mochi rice, originally comes from Japan. It is particularly suitable for desserts. In fact, it's not sweet, as the name suggests, but tasteless.

C rice variety

Variety C belongs to the species Oryza glaberrima and is also called African rice because it is mainly grown in West Africa. The leaf is striped red, which is why the variety is called "red-winged rice".

Jasmine rice

Northeast Thailand: Jasmine rice fields in early September

The jasmine rice (also fragrant rice or Siam rice ) is mainly planted in northern Thailand , but also in Laos, Vietnam and Italy . It is called "fragrant rice" because it smells pleasantly of jasmine when cooked and, unlike many other varieties, has a little taste of its own thanks to a special cultivation method. The grains are small and well suited for the rice table, as they also belong to the "hard" rice varieties. In the case of rice from Thailand, the “Golden” or “AAA” quality is the best and most expensive, while “Broken rice” (broken rice) is a cheaper, albeit somewhat poorer quality.

Red brown rice

Dish with red Bhutan rice, chicken and spinach

Six forms are known:

  • Filipino red mountain rice
  • Thai red brown rice
  • Bhutan red rice
  • Indian raktashali rice
  • Indian matta rice
  • The Camargue rice

Philippine red mountain rice grows in the mountainous jungle in the south of the island state. It is considered to be very resilient and rich in nutrients and is only harvested once a year. Its red color is natural and not limited to the outer skin, but is present throughout the grain.

Red Thai brown rice ("Red Cargo Rice") is a red-skinned, non-sticky long-grain rice.

Red Bhutan rice (there is also white Bhutan rice), which grows in the mountains of the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan at an altitude of 2,000 to 3,600 meters and is irrigated with glacier water, has a red skin and a white core.

The Indian Raktashali rice from Karnataka is used in the healing arts of Ayurveda .

Indian matta rice is grown in Kerala and Karnataka .

The Camargue rice gets its color from the red-brown outer skin of the grain. It comes about through cultivation on clayey soil. The actual grain is white, so this red rice is only available untreated and unpeeled as brown rice. This medium-grain rice originally comes from India and was created by crossing wild rice and a cultivated rice variety. In Europe , this rice has been grown in the French Camargue since the 1980s .

Chinese red fermented rice , also known as Xuezhikang (XZK) or Angkak and especially widespread in China, is not one of the red brown rice types , as the Monascus purpureus mushroom is added to conventional rice and the characteristic intense red color is only added to it developed during fermentation.

Black brown rice

In contrast to the not directly related wild rice , which comes from North America and is also black in color, black rice originally comes from China and is grown in Japan, Thailand and Bali, among others.

In the 1990s, Asian black rice was crossed with an Italian variety and has since been grown as Riso Venere or Venus rice in Piedmont . Black rice is also white inside. It is usually offered as brown rice, which means that it is only peeled, but not peeled or ground in order to preserve the outer black shell layers.

Green rice

Green rice from Vietnam

Green rice comes from Vietnam, where it is obtained before the actual rice harvest. The unripe grain is pressed out of the panicle by hand and then dried in the sun. In this state of ripeness, the sugar has not yet been converted into starch, so that at best the rice can be cooked to a pulp. Otherwise it is also suitable for breading fish and poultry. In addition, it can be used as a decorative material for desserts by boiling it down with sugar to make a brittle mixture.

Quality levels

In Germany, long-grain and short-grain rice is marketed in the following quality levels:

  • Top / premium quality: max. 5% broken rice
  • Standard quality: max. 15% broken rice
  • Household quality: max. 25% broken rice
  • Household quality with increased breakage: max. 40% broken rice

Broken rice are the fragments that arise during sieving. The share of broken rice in the harvest is between 18% and over 50%, depending on the area of ​​origin, variety and processing technique. Some crops are only brought in for the production of broken rice.

The quality levels relate exclusively to the properties of the rice in the preparation of the dishes; the nutritional content is broken or unbroken (within the same variety), mixed or pure, always the same. Both variants are also identical in taste, but have slightly different gastronomic properties in connection with other ingredients. Cooked broken rice absorbs sauces and flavors differently than whole grain rice. For the grainy, loose fork rice preferred in Germany, the quality tip / premium is often used.

Because unbroken grains are preferred in many national kitchens, broken rice is usually cheaper in world trade. Often, excess broken rice is processed into rice flour and rice semolina, which can be used industrially for the production of starchy food products, but also sweets, alcoholic beverages and rice vinegar. Rice flour is very often used for the production of beer in the international arena . In alcoholic fermentation it delivers a higher yield and leaves a lower spent grain mass than starch suppliers based on wheat or rye, but also creates a different flavor note.

When using rice as animal feed or feed additive (final fattening), the quality level and composition of the rice are irrelevant. There the price differences are in the foreground, so that broken rice is often added.



The composition of rice depends on the environmental conditions (soil, climate), the cultivation technique (fertilization, plant protection) and the processing of the paddy rice. Protein, iron, zinc, vitamins B1, B2, B5 and B9 decrease in the context of the climate crisis with increasing carbon dioxide concentration , while vitamin E increases. This is a problem that is compounding malnutrition around the world .

Polished white rice is made up as follows (average data per 100 g edible portion):

water 12.9 g
Egg white 1 6.8 g
fat 0.6 g
Carbohydrates 2 77.8 g
Fiber 1.4 g
Minerals 0.5 g
sodium 4 mg
potassium 100 mg
magnesium 30 mg
Calcium 6 mg
manganese 0.9 mg
iron 0.845 mg
copper 0.2 mg
zinc 0.975 mg
phosphorus 115 mg
selenium 0.007 mg
Thiamine (Vit. B 1 ) 60 µg
Riboflavin (Vit. B 2 ) 30 µg
Nicotinic acid (Vit. B 3 ) 1300 µg
Pantothenic acid (Vit. B 5 ) 630 µg
Folic acid 11 µg
Vitamin E 3 185 µg
amino acids
Arginine 4 570 mg
Histidine 4 170 mg
Isoleucine 340 mg
Leucine 660 mg
Lysine 290 mg
Methionine 170 mg
Phenylalanine 390 mg
Threonine 280 mg
Tryptophan 90 mg
Tyrosine 260 mg
Valine 490 mg

1 mg = 1000 µg

1 Protein content according to the EU directive on nutrition labeling (factor 6.25): 7.4 g
2 Difference calculation
3 Total tocopherol 800 ug, α-tocopherol 100 ug
4th semi-essential

The physiological calorific value is 1460  kJ (349 kcal) per 100  g of edible portion. The rice fruit is low in sodium, calcium or potassium. Due to its lack of sodium, rice is suitable for dehydrating the body; however, for this purpose it must be boiled without salt. Whole grain rice contains more vitamins and trace elements than white rice. In particular, the content of magnesium is 157 mg, calcium 23 mg, iron 2.6 mg, zinc 1.4 mg and vitamins E 1.2 mg, B 1 410 µg, B 2 90 µg, B 3 5.2 mg significantly larger.

Rice and vitamin deficiency diseases

The rice fruit contains vitamins B 1 and B 2 , especially in the silver skin . Vitamins A, B 12 , C and D are missing. Malnutrition with "white" rice alone therefore leads to various problems and symptoms.

Vitamin A deficiency

A deficiency of vitamin A is a common health problem in developing countries. Around 250 million preschool children suffer from the deficiency disease. About a million children die from it every year. Between 250,000 and 500,000 children also go blind, half of them die the following year. Vitamin A deficiency also leads to a greatly increased complication rate in infectious diseases such as measles .

A promising and cost-effective countermeasure is the growing of crops with a higher content of relevant micronutrients ( Biofortification ), in this case the enrichment of rice with provitamin A . With this goal in mind, the so-called golden rice was developed to market readiness back in 2002. Because it was genetically engineered, it is still highly controversial today and has not yet received general approval. Field trials in Bangladesh did not begin until 2015. However, there is also the possibility of producing more nutrient-rich varieties through classic breeding.


The beriberi disease played a major role in connection with peeled “white” rice, especially at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. It is based on a chronic deficiency in vitamin B 1 ( thiamine ). This vitamin is mainly contained in the silver skin of the unpeeled rice grain. The silver skin is removed when grinding in the rice mill.

From the 1870s onwards, mechanical rice mills made the husked white rice, coveted for religious and cultural reasons, available in large quantities, it was also less perishable and easier to transport. As a result, beriberi became a cross-border mass phenomenon with one-sided diet with rice. In Japan, for example, during the Meiji period, the disease affected all levels of society. In the area of British India , however, it occurred much less. Parboiled rice , which contains most of the nutrients from the silver skin, was more popular in this region than in Japan or China. The connections could be clarified at the beginning of the 20th century. Due to the protective effect of parboiled rice, among other things, beriberi is a comparatively rare disease today.


In some areas, the groundwater used to grow rice is heavily contaminated with arsenic . The poisonous semimetal accumulates in rice ten times as much as in other grains and is considered to be a possible cause of cancer . In pregnant women, the development of the unborn child could be at risk. The varieties offered on the world market contain between 20 and 900 micrograms of arsenic per kilogram (for comparison: the maximum value for drinking water in the EU is 10 micrograms per liter). In addition to rice, rice cakes and rice-based baby foods such as rice flakes are also contaminated, the majority between 100 and 350 micrograms per kg. In small children, arsenic intake through food containing rice is 2 to 3 times higher than in adults, based on body weight, so the Bavarian LGL recommends no more than a maximum of 20 grams of rice cakes per week for children up to three years of age.

In 2005 the Chinese government reduced the permissible amount of inorganic arsenic compounds from 700 to 150 micrograms per kilogram of food; in July 2014 the Codex Alimentarius Commission decided for the first time a maximum value of 200 micrograms for polished rice. The EU Commission responsible for food safety is discussing a 15 percent higher limit for products made from puffed rice and only half as high for special products for small children (i.e. 100 micrograms per kg).

In particular with unpeeled rice (whole grain rice / brown rice) it is recommended to wash the grains well before preparation and to boil them in ten times the amount of water in order to reduce the arsenic content.

Even heavy metals such as cadmium were detected in rice cakes, as well as high levels of acrylamide . In 2012, Japanese biologists developed an artificial rice variety that absorbs so little cadmium that it is suitable for cultivation on polluted soils.

Breeding and research

A research project carried out by scientists from ten countries under the leadership of Japan ("International Rice Genome Sequencing Project") succeeded in deciphering the genetic code of rice. According to this, the genome consists of around 400 million DNA building blocks with more than 37,500 genes . Research into the genome is a step in the direction of genetic modification and is linked with the hope of making rice cultivation more productive and making the plants resistant to pests, periods of drought or high salt content in the soil.

In August 2006, scientists from the University of California and the International Rice Research Institute published a study in Nature according to which they had succeeded in identifying a gene that enabled rice plants ( Oryza sativa ) to take two weeks, i.e. H. to survive completely underwater for a week longer than usual. The scientists hope that if the gene is used, they will be able to better protect the rice harvest worldwide against flooding .

Since the 1990s there has been a research project called Goldener Reis , which was initiated by the biologist Ingo Potrykus and the cell biologist Peter Beyer. The "golden rice" is a genetically modified variety that enables poor people who cannot afford varied or vitamin A-rich foods to take in this important vitamin through the not only cheap but also filling rice. No vitamin A was added to the golden rice, but beta-carotene , which is converted to vitamin A in the body. At first, genes from daffodils were inserted into the golden rice , which produce more beta-carotene (hence the name), but later these genes were replaced by those from the maize plant.

Since 1989, genetically modified rice varieties have been developed in China that are resistant to insect damage due to the introduction of Bt toxins . Although the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture has issued certificates for the commercial cultivation of various Bt rice varieties, no commercial cultivation has taken place so far.


Cooked parboiled rice
White long grain rice

Rice can be prepared in different ways. With the water rice method , the rice is cooked in about five times the amount of water, significantly more than it can absorb when cooking. It can be produced in flotation or in a boiling bag , whereby the binding starch is discharged into the surrounding water and poured off after the boiling process, so that the rice grains do not bind together after the boiling process. The water with the rice is usually kept at the boiling point during the entire cooking process . The excess water is poured off after cooking. Nutrients that got into the cooking water during cooking are thus thrown away.

With the swelling rice method , also called the absorption method , the rice is cooked with about twice the amount of water, with just as much liquid as the rice can absorb. Swelling takes place after boiling with little heat or with the residual heat. The pot does not stay completely closed, so that water vapor can escape and the grains are dry on the surface.

When steaming , the rice absorbs the water required for swelling through the steam. The rice can also be soaked before steaming. This steaming can be done directly in the pot (in the restaurant business in the hot air damper ) or with the aid of a steamer.

In the home, food used to be prepared in a cooking box to keep the heat up. This method can also be used in field preparation by isolating the cooking pot in the sleeping bag. Steaming is a particularly gentle cooking method that particularly accentuates the aroma of the rice. It is therefore mainly used for fragrant rice (e.g. jasmine or basmati rice). The flavor of the rice can be changed by choosing the cooking liquid. Broth , milk or coconut milk , for example , are common . By adding spices (such as saffron , turmeric , cardamom or cinnamon ) to the cooking water, not only the aroma but also the color can be influenced.

Before the actual cooking of the rice can be used in low fat is sweats are. Combinations of these methods are also possible. Since cooking rice requires good timing, an electric rice cooker can also be used. The preparation method has a great influence on the behavior of amylopectin and thus on the later consistency of the rice grain. It helps to decide whether the rice is loose, grainy, dry, moist or sticky. In addition, the consistency can be influenced by removing starch adhering to the grain of rice by washing it thoroughly before cooking, or by soaking the rice in cold or warm water.

Glutinous rice is a special type of rice that is watered for a few hours, then steamed and formed into small balls and eaten with your fingers with vegetables, salad and meat. If you want to preserve the grain of the glutinous rice, it has to be steamed, as it breaks down completely into slime during normal cooking. There are some Asian dishes (especially desserts) where this effect is desired. The term sticky rice is often incorrectly used for stick rice, i.e. rice that is prepared in such a way that the grains stick together and are therefore suitable for picking up with chopsticks. Long grain rice is usually used for this.

The preparation of broken rice as table rice, on the other hand, is more difficult because the rough broken surfaces of the rice quickly attract water and therefore more attention must be paid to the cooking time . The more broken rice is cooked, the more starch is released, which leads to a sticky cooking result. If you want fluffy, grainy rice or rice with a bite , it should contain as little broken rice as possible.

rice dishes

A common use of rice is as a side dish , whereby the rice is usually served with other dishes without any additional spices. However, there are also numerous dishes in which the neutrally cooked rice is mixed with other ingredients and mostly fried. In addition, there are numerous rice specialties in international cuisine, in which special rice varieties are often used to achieve a special consistency or a special flavor. Well-known examples are:

  • Paella is a Spanish rice dish that is considered a Spanish national dish in German-speaking countries (rather wrongly), as it is only a regional specialty of Valencia and the Spanish east coast. It contains rice colored yellow with saffron and / or food coloring, various vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, beans, and bone-in chicken and rabbit meat; Seafood is also popular today, but it doesn't belong in a traditional paella.
  • Pilaf is a rice dish originally from the Orient that is also widespread in other countries, especially in Central Asia. It is a kind of stew in which the rice is mixed with meat or vegetables and spices or cooked in layers in a saucepan. Especially in Persian cuisine , it is worth striving for when the rice forms a crispy crust ( tahdig ) on the bottom of the pot .
  • Rice is often fried, especially in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Examples are Nasi Goreng and Biryani .
  • Risotto is a northern Italian rice dish that is prepared in many variations. Medium-grain rice is sautéed with onions and fat and cooked in broth until the dish is creamy, but the rice grains are still firm to the bite. Long grain rice is hardly suitable for risotto, but is needed for Riz Casimir .
  • For sushi , the rice is acidified with vinegar after cooking and quickly cooled. It is served with raw fish and seafood, grated green horseradish ( wasabi ), gari and soy sauce. Medium grain rice is also used for sushi. For dishes in Japan, see Japanese rice dishes .
  • On the Indonesian island of Bali , the rare black rice is used for the black rice pudding named after it. For this, the rice is boiled in plenty of water together with some peeled ginger, sweetened with plenty of palm sugar and garnished with coconut milk.
  • In East and Southeast Asian countries, rice soup, for which rice is cooked with plenty of water and with various ingredients, is often part of the breakfast. The Thai variant is called Khao Tom ( Thai : ข้าวต้ม) and is eaten for breakfast or as a small snack before going to bed. It is milder than is often the case with dishes in Thai cuisine and is usually garnished with fresh spring onions , and sometimes roasted garlic. Khao Tom Gai (Thai: ข้าวต้ม ไก่) describes a rice soup with chicken, Khao Tom Gung (Thai: ข้าวต้ม กุ้ง) that with shrimp. Another variant is the Chinese rice congee , which is also available in Southeast Asia under various names. In Vietnam, rice is used to make noodles, which are then used in soup with various deposits. This rice noodle soup is available on every street corner as Phở .
  • Gallo Pinto is a rice and bean-based dish that is a daily staple in Nicaragua and other parts of Central America. The two main ingredients are fried in fat with vegetables, onions and spices.
  • Puffed rice is usually offered in the form of biscuits or waffles and has a long shelf life.


Sake barrels at Itsukushima Shrine , Hiroshima Prefecture , Japan

Arrack is a in South India , Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia , especially in Java , made brandy made from fermented rice mash .

Even vinegar is made from rice. Polished rice makes light, unpolished rice a dark vinegar. Rice vinegar is usually less acidic than European vinegars.

Similar to the better-known soy milk is also made of rice rice milk produced.

Rice wine is particularly popular as sake in Japan . In Japan, sake is processed into high-proof beverages such as Kome- Shōchū ; but also with sweet, low-proof cooking wine Mirin . There are many different types of rice wines in Korea : Makgeolli is a sweetish, unclarified rice wine that is still fermenting, to which other ingredients such as corn or lettuce chrysanthemum are often added. Dongdongju is a dark, soju a clear, often industrially produced rice brandy.

In East and Southeast Asia, rice is also traditionally used to brew beer . In Germany, the use of rice malt for top-fermented beer is permitted under the Provisional Beer Act (1993) .

The Malagasy drink Ranavolo is obtained from the sediment of lightly burnt rice by boiling it again with water.

Other uses

Rice straw hat

In Japan, and even more often in Korea , the rice flour that is produced during polishing ( nuka : 糠; actually the particularly nutrient-rich outer layers) is mixed with salt and chilli and used to pickle vegetables. The resulting lactic acid fermentation gives the vegetables an unmistakable taste.

Rice flour is a versatile product. It can be made into rice wafers and is used as an edible packaging material for foods, especially sweets. Rice noodles essentially consist of rice flour and water and are therefore gluten-free , they are available as more or less wide ribbon noodles and as spaghetti-like thin noodles in Chinese and Southeast Asian cuisine. Rice flour is used to thicken sauces and soups.

Rice straw is used to make shoes, hats and pack saddles. it is also used as fodder. It can also be made into cheap paper (rice straw paper).

The traditional floor covering in Japan for living rooms and temples, the tatami mat, is made from rice straw.

Cultural meaning

Rice on Japanese 5 yen coin

Rice plays a central role in the culture of Asian countries and has found its way into the religion and language of the respective countries. The word rice also means food or meal in several languages , for example in Thailand (กิน ข้าว - gin kao ), Bali ( ngajengang ), Laos , and Bangladesh ; similar to the word cooked rice in China ( Chinese    /  , Pinyin fàn ) and Japan ( gohan ). Accordingly, the Chinese and Japanese refer to breakfast as morning rice, lunch as lunch and dinner as evening rice. A Chinese New Year wish reads: “May your rice never burn!” In China, Thailand, Nepal and Bangladesh, it is common to greet someone with the question “Have you eaten rice today?”. There is also a Japanese proverb that says: a meal without rice is not a meal. There is a similar phrase in China. Rice also plays a very important role in Madagascar . The word for friendship is translated as “rice and water” in the local language, Malagasy .

Rice has an important symbolic meaning, especially in Asia. In ancient Japan it was considered almost sacred. Rice should therefore never be thrown away or wasted. In several Asian countries, rice cakes are a traditional meal on festive occasions. In Korea , a table with various objects, including a bowl of rice, is set up in front of young children at a special ceremony. If the child chooses the rice, then this is considered a omen for later wealth.

In China, rice is also symbolically associated with death. Sticking crossed chopsticks in piled rice is a gesture that represents death. At family celebrations and ceremonies in China, a bowl of rice is always set up for the deceased ancestors, who symbolically participate.

In many cultures, rice is a symbol of life and fertility. The custom of throwing rice at a bride and groom may have originated in China. It should bring good luck and many offspring. Wheat used to be thrown in Europe. In India, too, the bride and groom are showered with rice, and rice also plays a role there in other wedding customs. Traditionally, when the bride says yes, a handful of grains of rice is wrapped in a corner of her sari . In Bangladesh, small rice cakes are part of the wedding ceremony. In some countries, rice is a traditional gift after the birth of a child.

Rice has a religious connotation in several Asian countries. In China, legend has it that the goddess Guan Yin created rice by squeezing milk and blood from her breasts, from which white and red rice grains were made. In the northern Himalayas , rice cultivation is attributed to the goddess Parvati . In India, rice is worshiped in the embodiment of Lakshmi , the goddess of luck and prosperity. In Malaysia , the house entrances are decorated with rice blossoms to welcome Krishna . In Indonesia , the goddess Dewi Sri is symbolized in a ritual before the harvest by rice dolls and placed in the rice fields to ask for a rich harvest. According to a Japanese legend, the sun goddess Amaterasu first cultivated rice in heaven before Ninigi brought it to earth. Another legend has it that the grains of rice fell to the earth from the eyes of the goddess Ohegetsu Hime . In Java , there is a rice goddess, depending on the area Bok Sri or Dewi Sri is called, and a male spirit called rice Djaka Sudana . In Thailand , the deity Mae Posop (Thai: แม่ โพสพ) is considered the "mother of the rice harvest", and a crop failure is interpreted as a miscarriage of the goddess. .

See also


  • Joachim Sontag (Ed.): Rice Processing - The Comprehensive Guide to Global Technology and Innovative Products . Erling Verlag, 2014, ISBN 978-3-86263-093-6 .
  • Herbert Wilhelmy : Rice Cultivation and Food Scope in Southeast Asia. Verlag Ferdinand Hirt, Kiel 1975, ISBN 3-554-60105-5 .
  • P. Anping: Notes on new advancements and revelations in the agricultural archeology of early rice domestication in the Dongting Lake region. In: Antiquity. 72, 1998, pp. 878-885, doi: 10.1017 / S0003598X00087512 .
  • Jaques André: Eating and drinking in ancient Rome. Reclam, Stuttgart 1998, ISBN 978-3-15-010438-5 , pp. 45, 51, 190, 199.
  • Dorian Fuller: An agricultural perspective on Dravidian historical linguistics: archaeological crop packages, livestock and Dravidian crop vocabulary. In: Peter Bellwood , Colin Renfrew : Examining the farming / language dispersal hypothesis. McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge 2002, ISBN 978-1-902937-20-5 , pp. 191-213.
  • Ian Glover, Charles Higham : New evidence for early rice cultivation in South, Southeast and East Asia. In: Don R. Harris (Ed.): The origins and spread of agriculture and pastoralism in Eurasia. Smithsonian Institution Press, London 1996, ISBN 978-1-56098-675-1 , pp. 413-441.
  • Charles Higham: The transition to rice cultivation in Southeast Asia. In: TD Price, Ann Gebauer (Ed.): Last hunters, first farmers. School of American Research Press, Santa Fe 1995, ISBN 978-0-933452-91-6 , pp. 127-156.
  • Charles Higham, Tracey Lu: The origins and dispersal of rice. In: Antiquity. 72/4, 1998, pp. 867-877, doi: 10.1017 / S0003598X00087500 .
  • Charles Higham: Languages ​​and Farming dispersals: Austroasiatic languages ​​and Rice cultivation. In: Peter Bellwood, Colin Renfrew: Examining the farming / language dispersal hypothesis. McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge 2002, pp. 223-232.
  • Franklin H. King: 4,000 years of agriculture in China, Korea and Japan. 1911, Edition Siebeneicher, Munich 1984, ISBN 3-922201-05-9 (reprint).
  • Zh. Juzhong, W. Xiangkun: Notes on the recent discovery of ancient cultivited rice at Jiahu, Henan Province. In: Antiquity. 72/4, 1998, pp. 897-901, doi: 10.1017 / S0003598X00087536 .
  • MacNeish et al. a .: Second annual Report of the Sino-American Jiangxi origin of Rice project (SAJOR). Andover, USA 1997.
  • Wilfried Seibel (Hrsg.): Commodity knowledge of cereals - ingredients, analysis, cleaning, drying, storage, marketing, processing . Agrimedia, 2005, ISBN 3-86037-257-2 .
  • International Rice Genome Sequencing Project, The map-based sequence of the rice genome. In: Nature . 436, pp. 793-800 (August 11, 2005), doi: 10.1038 / nature03895 .
  • C. Kuenzer and K. Knauer: Remote Sensing of Rice Crop Areas. In: International Journal of Remote Sensing. 34: 6, 2013, pp. 2101-2139, doi: 10.1080 / 01431161.2012.738946 .

Web links

Commons : Rice  album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: rice  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

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