Rice; or Oryxa, a genus of plants consisting, according to LinnAEUS, of only one species, viz. the sativa, or Common Rice though later botanists enumerate three or four species each of which is divided into two varieties. It is a native of Ethiopia, and the East Indies, where it is cultivated to a considerable extent ; as it constitutes the chief food of the inhabi-tants. They divide it into six kinds, which, however, may be reduced to the following two varieties namely, 1. Mountain - rice, that grows on dry, elevated soils, manured with ashes ; but, as the crops often fail, it is of a higher price than the next sort, and little; known in Europe; tho its grains are liner, whiter, more palatable, and may be longer preserved. Lately, this variety has with success been cultivated in Tuscany. 2. Marsh-rice, which is the usual kind sown in low, swampy districts, that may be easily inundated by means of sluices. Of this productive grain, large quantities are annually im-ported into Britain, and other parts of Europe; where it is highly esteemed for puddings and other culinary preparations. Being, however, too tender to be raised without the aid of artificial heat, in our climate, it can only be cultivated in hot-beds.—Some seeds of rice having, several years since, been sent to Carolina, its culture ha far succeeded, that it is now raised in that country in very considerable quantities.
Rice is, in the opinion of Dr. CuLleN , preferable to all other grain, both for its abundant produce, and the large portion of nutriment it affords. On account of its cheapness, it deservedly forms a principal article of food, for the poorer classes' of society. Hence, different methods have been vised, of cooking or dressing it in the most economical manner Thus, if a quarter of a pound of rice be tied loosely in a cloth capable of holding five times that quantity, and then slowly boiled, it will produce above a pound of solid food ; which, eaten with sugar, or boiled milk, forms a very palatable dish. And, if an egg, together with a quarter of a pint of milk, a small quantity of sugar, and grated nutmeg, be added, it will afford a more agreeable pudding than those prepared either of wheaten flour, or bread. One of the best preparations of this grain, however, especially for invalids, is its mucil or jelly; which may be obtained by boiling two ounces of fins rice-: flour with a quarter of a pound of lump sugar, in a pint of water, till it become an uniform gelatinous mass on being strained through a cloth, and suffered to cool, it constitutes a salubrious and nourishing food.
Rice also forms an excellent ingredient in preparing Bread; and, as we have already given a concise account (vol. i. p. 331) of one method in which it may be advantageously used, we shall now sub-join two receipts, by way of supplement. For this purpose, it is directed in the first vol. of the Reports of the Society for increasing the Comforts of the door, to boil a quarter of a pound of rice till it become perfectly .soil ; when it should be drained on the back of a sieve. In a cold stale, it. is to be mixed with three quarters of a pound of flour, a tea-cupful of yeast, a similar portion a small table-spoonful of sail. This composition should be suffered to stand for three hours, at the expiration of which, it must, be kneaded, and rolled in a little floor,.so as to render the outside sufficiently dry to be put into the oven. In an hour and a quarter it wiil be baked, produce llb. 14 oz. of good white bread; which, however, ought not to be eaten till it have been kept 45 hours.
in a late volume of the Journal des Sciences, des Lettres, et des Arts, we meet with an essay on making bread from rice alone.-Tiie first step directed to be taken, is the reduction of the rice into flour, by grinding it in a mill ; though, if such machine cannot be procured, it may be effected in the following manner: Let a certain quantity of water be heated in a saucepan, or other vessel; when it nearly boils, the rice must be thrown into it, and the whole taken off the fire, closely covered, and the grain suffered to macerate for twelve hours. The water is then to be poured off; and, when the rice is drained, and completely dried, it must be pulverized (it is not stated by what means) and passed through a very fine sieve.
The grain being thus converted into dour, a sufficient quantify is to be put into the kneading-trough : at the same time, a little rice should be separately boiled in water, till a thick and glutinous decoction be. obtained. While this liquor is still lukewarm, it ought to be poured on the rice-flour, and both should be well kneaded together, with a proper quantity of leaven, or of yeast, and also with a small portion of flour; in order to impart to the whole a greater degree of consistence. Next, the dough is to be covered with warm cloths; and, a it is sufficiently risen (the oven having been heated during that interval), it should be poured into a sin stewspap, furnished with a long handle, and covered with a sheet of paper, or with a cabbage leaf. The pan is then pushed for-ward into that part of the oven where it is intended to be baked, and expeditiously inverted. A proper degree of heat will prevent the paste from spreading, and cause it to retain the form of the vessel. In this manner, pure rice-bread may be made ; which, when drawn out of the oven, is said to acquire a fine yellow colour, similar to that of pastry glazed with the yolks of eggs. It is very wholesome and agreeable, but loses its good taste, if it be suffered to become stale.
With respect to the properties of rice, we shall only observe, that it is uncommonly nutritive, and may with great benefit be taken in diarrhoeas, dysenteries, and similar disorders. But it should not be eaten too frequently, or in too large quantities, by languid or debilitated persons; as it is apt to produce in them flatulency and costiveness. Hence it will, in general, be advisable to eat this grain with the addition of a little cinnamon, caraway, or similar spices, to prevent these disagreeable effects ; es-pecially in those whose digestion is slow, or who are naturally of phlegmatic habits.