Choosing the right rice can be crucial to the success of your meal. If your supermarket doesn't carry the variety you're looking for, try an ethnic market or health-food store. The main differences between the following types of rice are their characteristics after cooking, the grains' shape and size and, in some cases, a subtle difference in flavour: Aromatic rice: The name given to numerous varieties that have a strong, nutty aroma. Basmati rice: An aromatic variety grown mostly in India and Pakistan and renowned for its long shape that elongates rather than expands in width when cooked. Jasmine rice: A naturally fragrant strain of long-grain white rice, its scent is subtle, somewhere between toasty and nutty, and it's used extensively in Thai cooking and other Asian cuisines. Brown rice: All white rice was once brown. Brown rice is unpolished rice and has only the inedible outer hull or husk removed. The colour is tan, the flavour nutty, the texture chewy. It's more nutritious than enriched white rice, with twice as much fibre, five times the vitamin E, and three times the magnesium. Black rice: According to Chinese legend, this ebony-coloured rice was once reserved exclusively for the emperor. Like brown rice, black rice is a wholegrain with high amounts of iron and other nutrients and turns a fabulous deep purple when cooked. Black rice is said to boost circulation. Glutinous rice: Also known as sticky, waxy or sweet rice. The grains are round or long and have a high percentage of starch that makes them stick together when cooked. Used for sushi, desserts and sweets throughout Asia. Italian rice: Arborio, Vialone Nano, Carnaroli and Padano are the most popular varieties grown in the Piedmont and Lombardy regions of Italy. They're medium-grain and have a high level of starch and a large central core that has a firm bite when cooked. Used in risotto. Valencia rice: A medium-grain rice grown in the province of Valencia, Spain, it's a soft rice, similar to Italian varieties, that soaks up flavours, but retains a firm core when cooked. Mostly used to make paella. Wehani rice: A brown rice with a rust-brown bran layer that splits when cooked. It resembles cooked wild rice, but has an earth-red colour. Considered to be an aromatic rice and related to basmati. Wild rice: The seed of an aquatic grass, rather than a variety of rice. It expands three to four times its raw size when cooked. Ideally, rice should be stored off the floor in a clean, dry place. Once the package is opened, rice should be placed in airtight containers. Brown rice should be refrigerated to preserve freshness. Cooked rice can be refrigerated for up to seven days or stored in the freezer for six months.