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Wild rice is a protein and fiber rich wild grain, grown and harvested throughout North America as well as China, and India. It’s flavor when cooked is slightly nutty, and with a bit of a chew similar to brown rice. Ideal as a side dish, or used in other recipes, wild rice is healthy and best of all learning how to cook wild rice couldn’t be easier!
Traditionally harvested in North America by Indigenous tribes, wild rice played in important role as a staple food, as well as in religious and medicinal uses. This wild grain makes an excellent addition to any healthy diet and is gluten free.
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Is Wild Rice Healthy?
Yes! Not a true rice but closely related, wild rice is full of important B vitamins (niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, folate) and minerals (Manganese, phosphorus, iron, magnesium) and stores extremely well with very little nutritional loss making it an ideal food source.
Studies show that wild rice is beneficial to digestion, helps reduce cholesterol, and can reduce heart disease. With more protein per gram then white rice, wild rice is a great natural source of fiber, and is naturally gluten free. While wild rice is not a true ‘rice’ it is still considered a grain, and as such is usually avoided in diets such as the paleo or whole 30 diet. That being said, if you are looking for a healthy way to add a little carb to your diet, wild rice is probably one of the healthiest ways to do it!
What Does Wild Rice Taste Like?
Wild rice has a slight nutty flavor, with some describing the flavor as tea like. It’s chewy texture makes wild rice ideal for use in soups, stews, and stuffings, where the earthy flavor adds a delicious and hearty element to the dish. Depending on how long the wild rice is cooked for, it can have a bit of a chew when it is just starting to burst open, or become quite soft when cooked longer.
I prefer my wild rice when it is just burst open, has a bit of a chew, but isn’t mushy. Of course the longer you cook wild rice, the more available it’s nutrients become but I find the texture more appealing when the wild rice is not cooked to mush.
You can even pop wild rice in a pot on the stove much like you would popcorn! It makes a delicious snack!
Do You Have To Soak Or Rinse Wild Rice Before Cooking?
Do you need to soak or pre-rinse prior to cooking wild rice? Yes and no. While rinsing the wild rice before cooking is always a good idea, soaking it is not required. Soaking the wild rice for 15 minutes can cut the cooking time in half, but it will also result in a softer, less textured end product.
If cooking wild rice in the Instant Pot I recommend not soaking the rice to avoid over cooking it.
How To Cook Wild Rice On The Stove
The easiest way of cooking wild rice at home is on the stove top. While it does take quite a while to simmer, (about 40 minutes), the longer cooking time as compared to Basmati rice for example, allows you to multitask and prepare or cook something else (such as these oven baked chicken breasts ) as the wild rice cooks.
- 1 cup unbroken, whole wild rice
- 4 cups water
- pinch of salt
Start by bringing a pot with the four cups of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the rinsed wild rice, and quickly bring the pot back to a boil.
Cover the pot with a lid, and turn the heat down to medium or medium low, to allow the wild rice to simmer. Let the rice simmer for 40 to 45 minutes, before checking the rice for done-ness. Simply taste it with a spoon to check the texture. It should have a little bit of a chew, but not be hard in the middle.
Some people prefer their wild rice, quite chewy and barely broken open, while others insist it must be fully burst open. I prefer it somewhere in the middle with most of the grains burst open, yet not cooked to mush. Depending on your preference simply add or subtract 5 minutes of cooking time.
Depending on the size of the rice and how tight fitting a lid you used, all of the water may be absorbed or there may be a little liquid remaining. Simply strain any liquid that may remain out.
Serve the wild rice immediately, or cool it down to be used in other recipes such as grain salads, or stuffings. The wild rice can be seasoned with herbs, spices, or vegetables such as onion, garlic, and mushrooms to create a hearty side dish.
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How To Cook Wild Rice
- 1 cup Whole Unbroken, Wild Rice
- 4 cups Water chicken or vegetable stocks may also be used
- pinch Salt
- Bring a pot with the four cups of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the rinsed wild rice, and quickly bring the pot back to a boil.
- Cover the pot with a lid, and turn the heat down to medium or medium low. Let the rice simmer for 40 to 45 minutes.
- Checkthe rice for done-ness. Simply taste it with a spoon to check the texture. It should have a little bit of a chew, but not be hard in the middle.
- If there is a little liquid remaining in the pot, simply strain it out. This may happen depending on the variety, size of the wild rice etc.
- Serve the cooked wild rice immediately. It may also be cooled down to be used in other recipes such as grain salads, or stuffings.