What is red raw rice? Here is a guide to red rice, red rice health benefits & tasty recipes
What is red rice? Also known as wild rice, red rice is a cereal of oriental origin, now widely used in Italy and cultivated in the Po Valley. It has got medium to long dark red grains with a white inner core and is generally organically grown. Red raw rice is aromatic and its grains remain crunchy even after cooking.
Red rice maintains its nutrient content intact, including lipids, B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6) and trace elements. It is rich in iron, 20 times more than normal rice, due to its cultivation in the soil. Because of these elements, red raw rice is often recommended by nutritionists for those with iron deficiency and for women of childbearing age.
There are different types of red rice: in addition to the original red raw rice, there is the organic wholegrain rice from Camargue, red rice from Thailand, wholegrain Java red rice from Indonesia. Finally, there is Ermes rice, a cross between Venus rice (medium grain and black in colour) and a long, narrow grain, white rice.
Brown rice and red rice: which one to choose? If you are interested in red rice nutrition, keep reading to learn more about health benefits of red rice.
Red raw rice
Red raw rice is fat-free, a good source of carbohydrates and an excellent source of natural antioxidants. This cereal helps the body to fight free radicals, is good for the bones and reduces the risk of obesity (100 grams of rice correspond to 400 calories). But the benefits of eating red rice are many more! Being wholegrain, red raw rice is rich in fibre. It is recommended for the good functioning of the intestine and is able to absorb gastric juices – it is recommended for those suffering from colitis, for example. Red raw rice has got considerable satiating power despite not containing gluten. In fact, as well as being good for the diet, red rice is also ideal for coeliacs. It is rich in magnesium, which allows muscle relaxation especially at night, as well as in iron, zinc, potassium and sodium.
Fermented red rice
Fermented red rice is a type of rice that undergoes fermentation by the bacterium “Monascus pupureu”. It is a natural cholesterol-lowering supplement. To obtain it, red rice must undergo a fermentation process. With this process, rice is enriched with substances called monacolines, including monacolin K, which have cholesterol-lowering properties.
The only contraindication of fermented red rice is that the Italian Ministry of Health has set a maximum dose of monacolin K in food supplements, so you cannot get indigestion from this food. Which are red rice benefits in this case? Monacolin has got an effect comparable to statins, found in anti-cholesterol drugs. Therefore it has an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect. It is also perfect for preventing problems and diseases of the circulatory system.
There are, however, contraindications to the high consumption of fermented red rice. For example, it should be avoided if you have liver and kidney problems. It is also better to avoid it during pregnancy (on the contrary, red raw rice is recommended at these times).
Cooking red rice
After this short discussion on the benefits of red rice, let’s discover how to cook red rice!
– Cooking time for red rice
The cooking time for red raw rice is about 35-40 minutes, although the time depends on the variety. A very important step to take before cooking red rice is to rinse it under water to remove any impurities.
How to make red rice? It is usually brought to the boil, added the right amount of salt and left to boil for 10 minutes. When the time is up, turn off the flame and let it rest for a couple of hours. Red rice will continue to cook, absorbing all the liquid (this is a very simple way of retaining the micronutrients present in the grain of rice). Then it will need to be stir-fried for a few minutes in a pan with the sauce of your choice. Boiled red rice is one of the classic ways in which this cereal is cooked.
– Red rice cooking – It depends a lot on the cereal. In fact, the cooking time for red raw rice should be slightly longer than for fermented red rice.
There are other ways to cook red rice: steamed like any other type of rice or cooked in a pressure cooker. A perfect way to cook red rice is pilaf, i.e. cooking red rice in a covered pan with a small amount of stock added. Red raw rice is not as suitable for cooking as all other rice, but it is perfect for cold dishes. For red raw rice, popular recipes include red rice with vegetables, meat or fish. Cooked red rice pairs particularly well with fish and legumes.
A easy red rice recipe for everyone!
There are many recipes with red rice:
- Red raw rice with courgettes and curry: this is prepared by browning the courgettes in a pan with onion. The ideal way to cook red rice is to boil it in a pan and add it to the courgettes to complete cooking.
- Red wild rice recipe: Cut the leeks, wilt them and then add the red rice and let it toast. Leave to cook for 50 minutes.
- Red rice with mint: prepare red raw rice, courgettes and mint. Then, cook red rice in a pressure cooker; when cooked, add the rice to the vegetables.
- Red risotto recipe with chickpeas and courgettes: cook the vegetables and red raw rice in two different pots. After cooking, combine the ingredients and add salt.
- Red rice recipe with carrots and courgettes: cut the vegetables into rounds or chunks and cook in a pan with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. At the same time, cook your red raw rice in another pan. Once cooked, add the red rice to the vegetables and serve.
Popular red rice recipes combine rice with vegetables for a fresh-tasting dish.
Discovering rice with Italia Delight
If you are interested in the world of red raw rice, Italia Delight gives you the opportunity to get to know this type of cereal through many food and wine experiences:
Now that you know more about red raw rice and red rice health benefits, choose your favourite food and wine activities! Enjoy a different day out 😉