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Raw white rice in wooden dishes

Rice. Today it goes into a hundred different Greek dishes, from soups to stuffed vegetables to rizogalo and a wide array of piláfi, but until the 1960s, rice was very expensive, and many of these same recipes called for pligouri or trachanás; in poor places people even used dried corn.

Although it was rare, rice has been known in Greece ever since Alexander the Great's army brought back the first grains from India.

After the Second World War, thanks to the Marshall Plan, rice growing was introduced in the Sperchiós Delta in Central Greece, although nowadays much of the 290,000 tonnes of short, medium and long grain rice produced in Greece comes from the enormous wetlands around Thessaloníki.

Because it's a relatively recent crop and grows close to the sea, Greek rice has little of the residual pesticides (like arsenic) of older established rices.

καστανό ρύζι (kastanó rýzi): brown rice

ρύζι άγριο (rýzi agrio): wild rice

ρύζι γλασέ (rýzi glase) or κολλώδες ρύζι (kollodes rýzi): glutinous short grain rice, used in soups and yemista.

ρύζι καρολίνα (rýzi karolina): medium grain rice

Pasta, grains and rice

Text © Dana Facaros

Image by Marco Verch Professional Photographer and Speaker