Given that rice is a staple in Indonesian cuisine as well as most Asian dishes as well as dishes around the entire world, I just wanted to give a rundown about how rice is made. It’s obvious how vegetables and fruits are grown and we all know where meat comes from, but what about rice? This is just a brief lesson so you know what you are eating and how it got there. And Indonesia is the third-largest rice producer in the world. It is an essential part of their economy.
- Planting: Like any grain, rice has to be planted before it can be grown. Rice of all varieties is grown from a seed. The soil needs to be acidic enough to be able to produce the rice. The temperatures need to be moderately warm throughout the entire six-month growing period, which is why Indonesia is a great place to grow it. The seeds must be soaked before they can be planted. Often they are planted in rice fields in Indonesia. This is not the case everywhere in the world, but that is how they are planted there.
- Watering: The rice will need to be in a space that can be dammed to keep the water in. The area is usually flooded to ensure that the rice stays wet. Ideally there would be about 2 inches of water sitting on top of the rice seeds. Some places in Indonesia will flood the rice field in up to 8 inches of water to ensure that the crop does not dry out.
3. Thinning: They will then thin out the seedlings in order to ensure that there is not too much in the way of crowding happening. The seedlings can grow up to about half a foot within a month.
4. Harvesting: The rice is ready to harvest after it has matured. Maturing cane take about 4 months. The water in the rice field will be drained before harvesting. After being dry for a couple of weeks, the rice will brown and is ready to be harvested. They will cut the stalks just underneath the heads, where the rice grains are.
5. Drying: Once the rice has been cut, it will need to dry out for 3 weeks. They usually keep them in a dry and sunny place to ensure the moisture is completely out before you can get the grains out.
6. Baking: Once the rice has dried out, the grains can be removed to be baked. They cook the grains until they are brown on the outside. Once that is done, the brown hulls can be removed, revealing the rice underneath, which is the part that you would actually recognize. Then they are ready to be cooked and eaten.
Modern technology has made the cooking and hulling process a lot easier than it used to be, but the farming still exists as it ever was. There is no good machinery to handle the rice seeds in two or more inches or water. When you look at this process and how much rice that Indonesians eat, as well as everyone else, you should be more appreciative of all of the hard work that went into the rice that you get to eat. If you are not convinced of how challenging it is, then you should attempt to do it yourself and get a first-hand experience of what it’s like.
Regardless, Indonesian food would be lost without rice. Noodles can be great, but they are really their own thing that is separate from rice. Just remember the amount of effort it took to get you that amazing rice to accompany your Indonesian food.