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MarkinHouston

Thai jasmine rice

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Our Asian market sells Thai jasmine rice, and you have a choice of either broken rice or whole grain. There is also "new crop 2005" versus what I must assume is last year's crop. Does it make a difference? I believe that I once read that Indian Jasmati rice was best if aged for a year. Is there a correlation? Thanks.

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Our Asian market sells Thai jasmine rice, and you have a choice of either broken rice or whole grain. There is also "new crop 2005" versus what I must assume is last year's crop.  Does it make a difference? I believe that I once read that Indian Jasmati rice was best if aged for a year. Is there a correlation? Thanks.

I talked to my dad about this. In the late 60's to early 80's, he was a leading expert on Thai rice.

IMHO, no self-respecting Thai would eat jasmine with a high percentage of brokens for regular everyday eating. A high percentage of brokens may be due to the milling process, or the crop. A low percentage of brokens is preferable.

The flavor of the new crop will be different, but it will probably be stickier. Jasmine is a pretty sticky rice. Rinsing it several times will remove some of the stickiness. Ask at your market if they have tasted the new crop vs. the old crop and see what they say. Jasmine rice is not "aged" like basmati.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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The new old crop will suck more water than the new crop when being cooked.

Basically when cooking the new crop rice you should add less water and when cooking the old crop rice less water will make the rice very dried.

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I think that mostly Vietnamese consume the broken rice, regardless of where it is grown. There are certain dishes it's always served with. It has a different texture and is worth a try if you're into rice. It usually comes in smaller bags then good quality whole jasmine rice. I think at the small bag level the quality of the rice is higher in the broken rice then the whole stuff, in terms of fragrance, but that is boardering on heresay, I know.

regards,

trillium

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I am Vietnamese and we eat whole jasmine rice all the time. The only time that we east broken rice is when we occasionally use them in "Com Tam" which is served with grilled pork chop, Vietnamese meat cake, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, scallion oil, and porkrind (bi) + sweet & sour fish sauce.

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I have never known any self respecting Asian family eating broken rice if they could afford the whole stuff. To us (my family) broken rice means the remainders, the dregs, fit only for beggars and the penurious. My mother would not use it, even in jook.

As for most rices, the fresher the better. New crop rice absorbs a lot less water and is sweeter and in the case of the scented varieties, more aromatic. The memories of eating freshly threshed and polished rice during harvest time in old China is a strong stimulant to get my salivary glands gushing.

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I am Vietnamese and we eat whole jasmine rice all the time. The only time that we east broken rice is when we occasionally use them in "Com Tam" which is served with grilled pork chop, Vietnamese meat cake, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, scallion oil, and porkrind (bi) + sweet & sour fish sauce.

Oh, sorry, I didn't mean that Vietnamese only eat broken rice, of course they don't, just that the stuff that gets bagged and sold at Asian grocery stores, in my experience, is bought, and I presume eaten, by Vietnamese, not Thai customers. I always assumed that they were buying it for dishes that are traditionally served with broken rice. I'd love to know more about how that came about (broken rice with Com Tam). Com Tam is one of my favorites and I'm always on the lookout for a porkrind recipe. Do you have one?

And Ben, I happen to know of couple of self-respecting Asian families that have it in their kitchens (along with whole rice). They're neither beggars nor penurious, they just eat a lot of jook and gets done faster with broken rice.

On the new vs. old rice debate, I think it depends on what you're using the rice for. New rice has a better fragrance, but it's texture is not as firm and the rice sticks together more. For things like curries or fried rice I think it's nicer to have an older rice which is firmer when cooked. But there are probably more opinions on what rice is best then there are rice varieties! I was fascinated in by the rice shops in Thailand that sold different grades, ages, and kinds, we just don't have that sort of variety here.

regards,

trillium

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Trillium,

I was about to write a response but you have spoken most of the points that I had wanted to say, thank you.

As for pork rind, I only use it in com tam and Vietnamese pork ham (Nem). I am not sure if you would like to try Nem because it's made with raw ground lean pork, pork rind (for texture), whole black pepper, slices of garlic and red chilly pepper, and some kind of "Nem powder" than can "cook" the pork at room temperature within 3 days...kinda gross, but I have got used by growing up and eating it.

Oh, yeah..I guess the reason why Vietnamese had a dish with broken rice (com tam) is because during the fall of Saigon (1975) and some years after that the whole country was in a mess - lack of food, we had to substitue with barley for rice...to have broken rice at that time was like a luxury, well some people were created and utitlized it and made the best of out it by creating something new. These days com tam are sold at everywhere in Vietnam even though Vietnam is the second largest exporter of rice in the world. Ironically sometimes it's more expensive to buy a plate of com tam than a plate of food with "whole" jasmine rice.

Well, that's my theory but I guess com tam was invented long before 1975. One's junk is another's treasure, I guess.

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Thanks for all of the interesting responses. I purchased a 25-lb bag of Sun Lee brand new crop Thai jasmine rice. The bag indicates this rice comes from a primo area for growing rice and there is only one harvest per year as opposed to areas where two or three crops are harvested--just "ordinary" white rice. The cooking instructions indicate that from November thru February, use 1 cup rice to 1 cup water; March thru June, 1 cup rice with 1&1/4 cups water; and July thru October, 1 cup rice to 1&1/2 cups water. These instructions say place the ingredients in a rice cooker and cook until it automatically shuts off. The instructions also say simmer ten minutes. I don't have a rice cooker, but the shorter cooking time (10 minutes vs. either 15 to 20 minutes for other long grain rice) could be in line with the lesser amount of water--1&3/4 cups to 2 cups water for 1 cup rice. Any experience with actually cooking "new rice" out there?

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I think 2 cups of water to 1 cup of rice or even 1 3/4 c are too much for old rice, let alone new. You can read what I wrote about cooking rice in the eG class I did hhere, but I would go with something much closer to a 1:1 ratio if you really have new rice. (I don't always trust the packaging claims). 1:1.5 if you're feeling like you need to add more water. Have fun experimenting.

regards,

trillium


Edited by trillium (log)

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As for pork rind, I only use it in com tam and Vietnamese pork ham (Nem). I am not sure if you would like to try Nem because it's made with raw ground lean pork, pork rind (for texture), whole black pepper, slices of garlic and red chilly pepper, and some kind of "Nem powder" than can "cook" the pork at room temperature within 3 days...kinda gross, but I have got used by growing up and eating it.

I would love to know how to make the dishes in Com Tam, none of the Vietnamese cookbooks I have contain recipes for the meat cake or the pork rind. But I'd also love to hear how you make Nem. We eat lots of things that aren't "cooked" traditionally so that doesn't bother us, and we have a great source for homegrown pork.

regards,

trillium

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I have cooked new crop rice and I'm not really a fan. Here's the lowdown, heavily indebted to Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid's excellent book, The Seductions of Rice.

First, brokens. Yes, it's considered a low grade. However, as with many ingredients (such as olive oil), lower grades are appropriate, even preferred, for some preparations. While brokens are undesirable for "eating" rice they are preferred for preparations where you want the starches to come out into the water, "binding" the grains and/or thickening the mixture; think rice puddings and various porridges, such as jook/congee/etc.

Next, new crop. I don't know if taste is really at issue; though some of the eGullet classes have troubled the distinction between taste and texture, I still say the main issue here is texture. After rice is harvested (and perhaps parboiled) it is dried so that it contains no more than 14% moisture. Further drying happens as it ages. That's why basmati is aged; it's highly prized distinctness of grain is emphasized by additional drying. New crop rice has more moisture, closer to the 14%. Yes, this means it cooks more quickly in less water but it also means that it is more fragile. This lack of stability means that the grains are easily damaged in shipment. Chances are good that you'll have more broken/damaged grains in the mix. These broken grains "leak" starches. Combine this with the fact that new crop rice is, by it's nature, softer and often more clinging, you often get soft, clumpy rice with less distinct grains. This leads me to think, if not really perceive, that the rice is watery and has less grain flavor. But, if you like really soft rice, by all means, give it a shot. If you're inclined to use extra rice in soups or to fry it, stay away from new crop.

Again, I highly recommend The Seductions of Rice. It offers a great overview of the topography/geography of rice, the variant strains, the myriad preparatory techniques from harvest to bowl/plate, and a number of nice travelogue moments. The subtle distinctions in preparation are priceless. For example, I never new that Japanese rice is best prepared with a 20 - 30 minute pre-soak, yet it improves the rice immensely.

rien

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I had never heard of selling broken rice. A few months ago, I apparently bought some! I kinda thought the price was awfully low for Jasmine rice! I've used it once...stickier than sticky. Glad to see some discussion of it here. Now I know to avoid it in the future for my usual rice uses and how to use it up (I'm a cheapo at heart!) now that I'm stuck with it. lkm

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