Short grain. Medium grain. Long grain. And what rice grains are used in different foods.
All types of rice grains, regardless of long grain, medium grain or short grain, contain starch. When starch is heated in water, water penetrates the starch molecules, which start to swell with water. Some will break down, releasing starch and forming a sticky goo.
Amylose (one of the two starch molecules) reduces the ability of water to penetrate the starch. Hence, how sticky particular types of rice grains are depends on the amount of amylose inside. (You can read more about this sticky science in this 1-Minute NomNom.) You can use this difference in stickiness to cook all kinds of yummy foods.
Long grain rice, which has a higher amylose level, is fluffy and separate. It is usually used in food such as biryani (see below).
Short grain rice, which has the lowest amylose content, is soft and moist, and the stickiest of all. It is great for making sushi (see below). Glutinous rice is also short grain and is used in Asian dishes such as rice dumplings (see below) and desserts.
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