Rice is the seed of a grass species called “oryza”, which has many varieties. It is a staple food for half of the global human population, especially in Asia and Africa. Rice was initially cultivated in China and India, and later spread to the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

Rice is mentioned by Chazal in the Mishnah and Gemara under the name “אורז ” and is halachically similar to bread since it is a “satisfying” food. Therefore, the brocha on cooked rice should be borei minei mezonos. The brocha of mezonos even applies to foods baked with rice flour.1 If the rice is not fully cooked, it is best to say shehakol.2

The Shulchan Oruch HaRav brings down3 an argument regarding the exact definition of rice and millet. He explains that some are of the opinion4 that the “אורז ” mentioned by Chazal refers to millet and not what we know today to be rice. Though the common halachic position is that אורז is rice, the Shulchan Oruch HaRav’s solution is to eat fully cooked or baked rice only during a meal where one eats bread, so that one can avoid saying a blessing on the rice altogether, or to say shehakol. A significant portion of the Chassidic world abides by the ruling of the Shulchan Oruch HaRav.5

Other poskim (like the Oruch HaShulchon6) disagree and say that today we know that “אורז” means rice, not millet, and therefore the brocha should be mezonos.

According to all opinions, the brocha acharonah should be borei nefashos.

1 See סדר ברכות הנהנין לשולחן ארוך הרב פ”א הלכה
שם 2
שם ס’ י”א 3
4 For example .רש”י
5 A מנהג חסידים is to say a brocha on three other items. One for each of the brochos of מזונות, האדמה and שהכל and only then to eat the rice product.
6 סימן רח סעיף כא