I had a nice little anecdote to go with this post, but then an earthquake hit (?!). Now, I think I can distill the message down to a few simple statements: Make this, don’t stick to the recipe too much if it stresses you out, and drink a glass of wine with it, because wine is a beautiful thing and, um, earthquake. I’m grateful the situation was mild enough that I can make light of it, but I would be lying if I said that it didn’t unnerve me just a little bit. I had never heard of mahogany rice until very recently. The little natural foods grocery near me is going through a remodeling which will downsize available space, and in saying hello to one of the managers last week, he looked at me, sighing, and said, “You’re not going to be very happy.” He was in the process of sticking angry yellow “Discontinued” stickers on each and every bin of bulk grains and spices.Anyone who knows me realizes the extent of my love for bulk grains/pulses/spices just by looking at my pantry. I’m with Heidi—”getting to know the bin section” at my market has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done as a consumer and a cook. Evidently, this is known to my grocery store friends, too, and they recognized I’d be more than a little sad to be losing this section. I (slightly desperately) stocked up, making a special effort to grab some of those items I’d never tried before. To be honest, I’m not really sure that it’s clear to me what mahogany rice is, even though I’m now able to cook it. I’m pretty sure it’s a cultivar in the japonica rice family—other than that, it’s a bit difficult to find much information on it (at least in casual internet research). If you can shed any light, I’d love if you would leave it in the comments. I’m curious to know more.The rice is nuttier and earthier than other types of short-grained rice, with a chewiness reminiscent of brown rice, but even more substantive. I sort of blindly tossed it with a lemony vinaigrette, veggies I had around the house, and tiny tomatoes from the garden, with pretty wonderful results. It’s enough to take the edge off of any earthquake—that, and the fact that today, all you east coast-ers have a fantastic excuse to listen to good ’70s music.
Mahogany rice salad
You will need
- 1 1/2 cups mahogany (or black japonica) rice
3 cups water
3/4 cups chopped red onion
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup green beans, stringy ends removed and chopped into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2-3 scallions, chopped
Freshly ground pepper
- If you have just experienced your first earthquake, first pour yourself a glass of your favorite wine.
In a large pot, cover rice with 3 cups water and bring to a boil, stirring once or twice. After it reaches a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 40-50 minutes, until rice is tender and water is absorbed. Set aside to cool.
Whisk vinaigrette ingredients together, salting and peppering to taste. If you want the vinaigrette to be smooth, you can whirl it in a blender or food processor, but if you don’t mind the scallion pieces being separate, whisking is just fine.
Toss cooled rice, veggies, and vinaigrette together in a large bowl. Top generously with fresh chopped parsley before serving.
This makes about 4 cups of cooked rice, plus the volume of the veggies, so it’s a lot. It chills beautifully, and you can eat it for lunch throughout the week.