You know about brown and white. Red and black, though, are two other options in the spectrum of rices. Wehani and Himalayan red rices, two long-grain types similar to brown rice but with a russet hue, are great by themselves or made into a pilaf or salad. There's also short-grain Bhutanese red rice, which you can use like any short-grain brown rice (in puddings and stir-fries, or added to soups and stews).

With its inky color, black rice makes quite a statement on the plate. There are several types, but all start out with a black husk, then cook up into something dark purple and delicious. Forbidden Rice is a medium-grain black rice from China that, according to legend, was once reserved exclusively for the emperors. It has an intense buttery flavor, not to mention an irresistible name, which makes it a conversation piece as much as anything else. Thai black rice is similar, though the grains are slightly stickier. Either kind is unexpected in risotto or rice pudding, or when served plain as a side dish.

Black and red rices are available from and specialty food markets. They range from $4.50 to $6.50 per pound.