Tuesday, 23 August 2011 | 6 comments

Mahogany rice salad

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

    For vinaigrette:
    1/4 cup olive oil
    Juice of 1 lemon
    2-3 scallions, chopped
    Kosher salt
    Freshly ground pepper


  1. 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.

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§ 6 responses to Mahogany rice salad

  • I also love the bulk section! I’ve never heard of Mahogany rice but it looks just beautiful and sounds so tasty I’ll have to seek it out.

    • Definitely do, Katherine…I feel like I didn’t do a good job explaining how it tastes. It’s striking on the plate too; yet another way I didn’t do justice to the rice…sort of a deep purply-brown. Intense. Look for it! And yes, bulk, forever. (Except at my little local grocery, sad day.)

  • You made me curious about this rice… so I had to research it. (I used to work in science and I cannot turn it off when presented with a question.) What I found out is that Japonica Rice is actually a blend of the two varieties, black forbidden rice and mahogany rice. They are grown side by side in the same field. The black is short grain, mahogany is medium grain. I am assuming you were able to get a rice that is grown in a separate field, so it is not mixed with the black. Other than that, it is a variety of a medium grain brown rice. (http://www.thenibble.com/reviews/main/rice/rice-glossary.asp).

    The salad looks really wonderful. Can’t wait to try it!

    • Interesting! Thanks, Shelley. Maybe mine was actually the blend, then? If you look at the picture, it looks like it could potentially be the mixture of short- and long-grain…

  • Tiffany

    I made a mushroom risotto with this type of rice a little while ago and even though it wasn’t a soft and gooey risotto as they are with arborio rice, it was still really delicious! Definitely worth a try if you’re into that type of thing.

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