There are so many recipes that I can make with my eyes closed, but then there are some others that I just can’t remember how to make to save my life. How much time it takes to cook grains in general, seems to be an ongoing issue for me.
For some reason, every time I want cook wild rice, brown rice, wheat berries or barley, I find myself having to Google for instructions. If you consider the fact that I cook these quite often and write a food blog, I think it is embarrassing to have to rely on other websites to provide me with the information I need. So today, I am starting a new series about How-To Cook Grains.
The first post of the series is How To Cook Wild Rice. Below, in addition to providing you step by step instructions, I will answer some of the questions that I had when I first started cooking wild rice.
What is Wild Rice? What is the difference between True Versus Cultivated Wild Rice?
Despite its name, wild rice is not always wild and it is not actually rice. Rather, it is the seed of a wild aquatic grass indigenous to North America.
According to Cook’s Illustrated Magazine, cultivated wild rice is grown under regulated conditions and it is what you can find in many supermarkets. On the other hand, the true wild rice is hand harvested from lakes and rivers in Minnesota and Canada.
Why is Wild Rice So Expensive?
According to Deborah Maddison’s Cookbook, Vegetable Literacy, the true “wild” wild rice is gathered by hand. To get the seeds out farmers bent the seed heads into a canoe and beat it with paddles to loosen them quickly. Since there is so much labor involved it is more expensive than most other types of grains.
Is Wild Rice Good For you?
Yes. It is high in fiber, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, Vitamin B6 and considered as a high-antioxidant food (source).
It is naturally gluten-free and 1 cup of cooked wild rice is 165 calories.
How does wild rice taste?
Wild rice has an earthy, nutty and toasty flavor with a smell similar to black tea.
Should I soak wild rice?
In general, soaking grains overnight cuts down the cooking time. Additionally, according to Sarah Britton’s Cookbook My New Roots, soaking grains before cooking helps remove some of the naturally occurring phytic acid, that prevents mineral absorption, and break down some of the hard-to-digest properties.
In general, soaked wild rice cooks 50% faster. However, you can make wild rice without soaking as well. It will just take longer to cook. Either way, I highly recommend giving it a good wash before cooking.
What is the water to wild rice ratio for the best wild rice?
The ratio to liquid to wild rice is to 3 to 1. 1 cup (6 ounces) of uncooked wild rice yields 3 ½ cups of cooked wild rice.
What is the best way to flavor wild rice?
While you can certainly cook wild rice in water, I highly recommend trying it with vegetable or chicken stock. I usually make vegetable stock using the scraps of all the vegetables I use throughout the week and keep them in jars. This is such an easy way to add great flavor to wild rice.
How to freeze cooked wild rice?
If you decide to freeze cooked wild rice, be sure to drain it first and then place it in airtight jars. It will keep fresh up to 6 months. I freeze mine in small (1-cup) quantities so that I can grab the exact amount when I need it. Be sure to let it thaw in the fridge overnight a day before you need to use it.
What dishes can I use wild rice in? Recipes Featuring Wild Rice
You can use wild rice in so many dishes. I personally love using wild rice in salads, soups, and casseroles.
Wild Rice Salad (an old Ina Garten recipe), Wild Rice Pilaf (with mushrooms), Wild Rice Stuffing with cranberries and pecans are some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes that I make every year. This Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup recipe is another great one to use cooked wild rice.
Additionally, you can serve wild rice just by itself as a side dish.
Can I cook Wild Rice In a Pressure Cooker?
I am glad you asked because cooking wild rice and wild rice blend is so much faster in a pressure cooker. If you want to find out how I use my pressure cooker to cook wild rice, be sure to check out my Instant Pot Wild Rice recipe.
How to Cook Wild Rice
- 1 cup wild rice rinsed well - Not soaked*
- 3 cups of water * or vegetable, chicken or beef stock
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Place wild rice, water (or stock), and salt in a saucepan with a lid over medium-high heat.
- Put the lid on and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and let is simmer for 40-45 minutes. You will know that it is cooked when some of the kernels are burst open.
- Drain excess liquid and serve.
- If you plan ahead and soak it, it will cook much faster. Please refer to the post for more information on this.
- If you prefer, you can use a combination of water and stock.
- I have tried this recipe both with cultivated and true wild rice varieties and the 3 cups of liquid worked perfectly for both of them. However, I read on a few other sites that some commercial wild rice sold in the supermarkets sometimes require more liquid. Therefore, I suggest keeping an eye on it during the cooking process and adding more boiling water, if necessary.