Saturday, 10 May 2014

Ingredient of the Month 31: Camargue red rice

This rice keeps its lovely reddish-brown colour when cooked.
Better late than never, I say! And this month's ingredient was worth waiting for, I promise. We've all heard of brown rice, basmati rice, risotto rice, fragrant rice, sushi rice and even wild rice (which is not actually rice), but there's another kind; Camargue red rice, which is both delicious and attractive, and well worth discussing here. It's also sometimes called Provencal wild rice, as the Camargue borders on Provence.
Camargue red rice is a fairly recent development, and is grown in the wetlands of the Camargue region of southern France. (South of Arles, and bordering the Mediterranean coast between Marseilles and Montpelier.) Although it looks somewhat hard and woody, (it is an unrefined,medium-short grain rice) once cooked it has quite a soft texture, and a lovely, almost nutty flavour.
Nutritionally, red rice is quite similar to regular basmati rice and brown rice except that it is slightly higher in fat. In terms of percentages, it is mainly a carb. food which also contains a useful amount of protein to add to your daily total (ie: 7-9g protein in 100g uncooked rice, or 7-9%). Like some other rice, however, red rice is a source of vitamins B1, B2 and B3, calcium and iron. Being wholegrain, it also contains fibre.
Cooking with red rice: When cooked, red rice holds its shape yet becomes lovely and soft, with a noticeably nutty flavour. Try subbing red rice for your usual kind to make delicately delicious and nutritious risottos and paellas. I like to replace 1/4 of our regular long grain brown rice with red rice to make an attractive, speckled side that's flavourful and an interesting texture. (It goes really well with roasted Mediterranean-style veggies like courgettes, fennel, aubergines, tomatoes and peppers.) I'm going to try out red rice in salads soon; there are some great pictures and blog posts of red rice salads for inspiration...

What's your favourite rice? Do you use Camargue red rice? If so, how?






1 comment:

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