Regular rice flour is a fine, powdery flour made from regular white rice. It's used mainly for baked goods. Glutinous or sweet rice flour (such as the Japanese MOCHI) is made from high-starch short-grain rice. It's widely used in Asian cooking to thicken sauces and for some desserts. To Americans, rice is the most familiar food eaten in grain form. It is commonly served as a side dish in American households, but elsewhere it forms the basis for most meals. In fact, half the world's peoples eat rice as their staple food. In some languages, the word for eat means "eat rice." In China, Japan, and Southeast Asia, for instance, the annual per capita consumption of rice is 200 to 400 pounds; in the United States, the per capita consumption is about 17 pounds. Though rice is grown on every continent except Antarctica, China produces more than 90% of the world's rice crop. The United States, because the domestic demand for rice is relatively low, is a major exporter of this grain (although it accounts for only 2% of the world's rice). Rice can be classified according to size: long-grain, medium-grain, and short-grain. Long-grain rice accounts for about 75% of the domestic crop. The slender grains are four to five times longer than they are wide. If properly cooked, they will be fluffy and dry, with separate grains. Medium-grain rice is about twice as long as it is wide and cooks up moister and more tender than long-grain. It is popular in some Asian and Latin American cultures, and is the type of rice most commonly processed to make cold cereals. Short-grain rice may be almost oval or round in shape. Of the three types of rice, it has the highest percentage of amylopectin, the starch that makes rice sticky, or clump together, when cooked. Easy to eat with chopsticks, it is ideal for dishes like sushi. In addition to the size classification, white rices are labeled according to how they've been processed: Enriched rice: Enriched rice has thiamin, niacin, and iron added after milling to replace some of the nutrients lost when the bran layer is removed. As a result, it is higher in these nutrients than brown rice. Converted rice: Converted rice has been soaked and steamed under pressure before milling, which forces some of the nutrients into the remaining portion of the grain so that they are not completely lost in the processing. Enriched parboiled rice is similar to regular enriched rice in terms of thiamin, niacin, and iron, but it has more potassium, folate (folic acid), riboflavin, and phosphorous, though not as much as brown rice. Converted rice takes a little longer to cook than regular rice, but the grains will be very fluffy and separate after they have been cooked. Instant white rice: Instant rice, which actually takes about five minutes to prepare, has been milled and polished, fully cooked, and then dehydrated. It is usually enriched and only slightly less nutritious than regular enriched white rice, but it lacks the satisfying texture of regular rice. Rices are also labeled according to variety: Arborio: Arborio is a starchy white rice, with an almost round grain, grown mainly in the Po Valley of Italy. Traditionally used for cooking the Italian dish risotto, it also works well for paella and rice pudding. Arborio absorbs up to five times its weight in liquid as it cooks, which results in grains of a creamy consistency. Aromatic rices: These are primarily long-grain varieties that have a toasty, nutty fragrance and a flavor reminiscent of popcorn or roasted nuts. Most of these can be found in grocery stores, but a few may be available only at gourmet shops. Basmati: Basmati, the most famous aromatic rice, is grown in India and Pakistan. It has a nutlike fragrance while cooking and a delicate, almost buttery flavor. Unlike other types of rice, the grains elongate much more than they plump as they cook. Lower in starch than other long-grain types, basmati turns out flaky and separate. Although it is most commonly used in Indian cooking, basmati can also be substituted for regular rice in any favorite recipe. It is fairly expensive compared to domestic rice. Glutinous rice (sweet rice): Popular in Japan and other Asian countries, this type of short-grain rice is not related to other short-grain rices. Unlike regular table rice, this starchy grain is very sticky and resilient, and turns translucent when cooked. Its cohesive quality makes it suitable for rice dumplings and cakes, such as the Japanese mochi, which is molded into a shape. Jasmine: Jasmine is a traditional long-grain white rice grown in Thailand. It has a soft texture and is similar in flavor to basmati rice. Jasmine rice is also grown in the United States, and is available in both white or brown forms. Texmati: Certain types of rice--some sold only under a trade name--have been developed in the United States to approximate the flavor and texture of basmati rice. Texmati is one of these; it was developed to withstand the hot Texas climate (there is also a brown rice version). Wehani: An American-grown aromatic rice, Wehani has an unusual rust-colored bran that makes it turn mahogany when cooked. Wild pecan (popcorn rice): Another basmati hybrid, this aromatic rice is tan in color (because not all of the bran has been removed, with a pecan like flavor and firm texture.