Red Rice
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Red Rice is not a distinct variety of Rice but a grouping of Rice types that have a distinctive red color. The red color comes from trace minerals from the soil retained by the growing Rice grains.

Red Rice can also belong to the Long Grain Rice, Medium Grain Rice, and Short Grain Rice categories. The length of the Rice is more broadly informative about how to use and cook with the Red Rice than its color.

The color Red symbolizes “good luck” in Asia Minor, so Red Rice is considered “lucky” there.

Season

Red Rice is sown in the spring and harvested in the fall. See Smart Kitchen’s General Rice Resource for more information on the seasonality of Rice.

Cultivation

Red Rice is grown in Europe, the U.S. South and Southeast Asia.

Varieties

There are a few varieties of Red Rice, including Bhutanese Red Rice, Wehani™ Rice, Kerala Red Rice, Colusari Red Rice, Khao Deng Red Rice, Red Camargue Rice, etc.

Bhutanese Red Rice comes from the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan where it is grown above 8,000 feet of elevation. It has an attractive russet color and a slightly nutty flavor. Bhutanese Red Rice is a Medium Grain Rice. Typically it is semi-milled so that some of the red Rice Bran layer is retained in patches. With some of the Bran removed, Bhutanese Red Rice cooks in about 20 minutes by Simmering and turns a pale pink with a soft, clingy texture when cooked.

Wehani Rice was bred from Indian Basmati Rice and is a Long Grain Rice creation of the Lundberg Family Farms in California. It has a honey-red bran layer and an aroma that is reminiscent of hot buttered popcorn. When cooked it is chewy, sweet, and similar to Brown Basmati Rice.

Kerala Red Rice, also known as Himalayan Red Rice, is a red Long Grain Rice from India. It has a reddish Bran layer and it needle-thin and long like Basmati Rice. It has a nutty, complex flavor.

Colusari Red Rice is grown in the Sacramento River Valley in California in the U.S. It was developed in a Maryland seedbank by natural breeding for Indian Harvest Specialty Foods.

Khao Deng Red Rice comes from Thailand and is reportedly lighter and easier to digest.

Red Camargue Rice is, surprisingly, a Red Rice from the Camargue region of southern France. Red Camargue Rice has an earthy, nutty flavor. It gets slightly sticky when cooked. Most chefs Boil it as you would boil Pasta until it is Al Dente. It is often served dressed with Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, and Chopped fresh Herbs. 

Purchasing

Red Rice is generally available as an un-milled, or semi-milled Rice product. Most of the red color comes from the Rice Bran in these red-colored Rice varieties. Removing the Rice Bran would remove most of the desirable color. If Red Rice is available at your local store it will most likely be Brown Rice (Red Rice) and sold prepackaged. If you can’t find Red Rice locally, check the Internet.

When purchasing Red Rice, always check the expiration date as Red Rice, with the Rice Bran intact, can go bad (Rancid) if stored too long.

While selecting your Rice, keep an eye out for any signs of moisture which can ruin Rice. Also, try and buy as few broken grains of Rice as possible. Broken grains are smaller than whole grains and the two sizes won’t cook uniformly together, making your final dish a mess of overdone and underdone Rice.

Finally, if you are conflicted, for budgetary or philosophical reasons, about buying Organic, you may want to give in here and buy Organic Rice. The reason is that research indicates that domestic non-organic Medium Grain White Rice contains 1.4 to 5 times more arsenic than organic Medium Grain White Rice from Europe, India or Bangladesh.

Storage

Because most Red Rice is essentially a Brown Rice (with the red Rice Bran and its Rice Bran Oil that can go Rancid) it will have a shorter shelf life than a comparable White Rice and it requires a little different handling and philosophy to maximize your yield and value.

With Red Rice, how you store it revolves around how quickly you plan to use it. If you plan to use it all in a few weeks, store the Red Rice in an airtight container in a cool dark place like your pantry. Sealed, it may last 3-6 months but will be best for only a few weeks. If you open your package from the pantry, store the unused portion in the refrigerator or freezer for a better shelf life.

In the refrigerator, your Red Rice will last for 6-12 months in an airtight container. Frozen, you should get 12-18 months (for best quality).

Let cooked Red Rice cool to room temperature before storing it in the refrigerator. Cooked Red Rice will last about 4-7 days in the refrigerator but it is best to use it within 2 days. 

Culinary Uses

Because there are a mixture of Long Grain Rice types and Medium Grain Rice types in this group, refer to their length when determining how to handle them in the kitchen. Longer Rice Grains tend to be Starchy Rice types and Medium Grain Rice tends to be more of a Sticky Rice type.

Nutrition

Red Rice also sometimes refers to Red Yeast Rice, which is a specialized product made in China and Japan by hulling and polishing the rice grains and then encouraging the growth of a mold that creates a crusty red coating. This molded Red Rice can be eaten like traditional Rice, but is also highly valued in traditional Chinese medicine. Some studies have shown that the molded Red Rice is potentially useful in fighting bad cholesterol.

Red Rice is high in Dietary Fiber.

Gluten Free

Yes

Low Fat

Yes

Low Calorie

Yes