Rice has long been the staple diet of over half the world’s population and there are over 100 varieties. It was thought that rice was native to either China or India, dating back to 2800 BC. However, recently rice grains discovered at an archaeological site in northern Thailand have been dated at 3500 BC.

Rice varieties are categorized as long, medium or short grain. The latter two are plump, starchy and absorbent. Long-grain rice such as Jasmine and Basmati, is thinner, dainty and pointed. 

Short grain rice includes Arborio, its chalky texture being especially suited to risottos and other Mediterranean dishes. It can absorb large amounts of liquid while remaining firm. Sushi rice is also a short grain rice but is high in pectin that enables the grains to stick together.

Medium grain rice such as Calrose is the favourite for puddings although it is also suitable for paella and risotto.

Organic Jasmine rice crumbs are a fabulous new find I’m delighted with. Goodbye baked breadcrumbs. From now on I’m using these gluten-free crisp and nutty rice crumbs for coating schnitzels, chicken, croquettes and fish. They can also be used in stuffings. 

If you can’t find these crumbs, purchase crisp rice cakes and whizz them in the food processor.


This sushi recipe uses half sheets of nori so the rolls are half the size of normal sushi — much easier to nibble with drinks.

1/2 cup short-grained rice
1 cup water
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons sushi vinegar, warmed 
2 sheets black nori
Filling: 8 thin slices red capsicum
8 thin slices blanched asparagus or raw cucumber
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1-2 teaspoons wasabi paste 
Wash the rice well in a sieve. Place in a saucepan, add the water and bring to the boil.Cover, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stand for 10 minutes, until the water is absorbed by the rice. Dissolve the sugar in the warm vinegar. Fork it through the rice. Cool.
Cut each sheet of nori in half. Spread about 2 tablespoons of rice over one half sheet leaving about 5mm at each edge. Place a line of red capsicum and asparagus across the rice. Dot with a little of the combined mayo and wasabi. Roll up and seal firmly. Cut into 2cm rounds. Makes about 20.


500g pumpkin, peeled and seeded
1 small egg, beaten
2 tablespoons each: cornflour, rice crumbs
1 teaspoon each: grated root ginger, ground cumin, diced chilli
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup rice crumbs
spray oil for baking

Steam or microwave the pumpkin until tender. Drain well. The pumpkin should be very dry.

Mash well then add the egg, cornflour and rice crumbs and seasonings. Roll into walnut-sized balls and coat with the rice crumbs. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Spray a roasting pan with oil. Add the pumpkin balls. Spray with oil. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and firm. 

Excellent served with a fruit sauce such as plum. Makes about 12. 


A great recipe for using leftover cooked rice.

1 1/2 cups cooked long or short grain rice at room temperature
1 tablespoon coconut oil
pinch of salt

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until a dough is formed.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Roll tablespoons of the mixture into balls and place on the baking paper-lined tray. Place another sheet of baking paper over the top and flatten each ball with your fingers or rolling pin. The crackers should be very thin.

Remove the top layer of baking paper. Bake the crackers for 15 minutes then flip over and bake for a further 10 minutes or until crisp.

Cool on the tray. Store in an airtight container in a cool place. Best eaten within 2 days. 

Great topped with cheese and chutney or savoury spreads. Makes about 20.


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