Red Rice Pilaf


From the City Cook by Kate Mcdonough

 Pilaf with Bhutanese red rice is a nutty and beautiful alternative to traditional white rice pilaf. You can usually find Bhutanese red rice in city markets, gourmet shops, and specialty markets. The most common brand is Lotus Foods, a company that sells other imported and heirloom rices, including the exotic black Forbidden Rice.

This nutty pilaf is a perfect companion to any dish with which you might normally serve pilaf or a flavored rice, including fish, duck, and chicken. It’s also great as part of a vegetarian menu that features vegetable gratin, curried vegetables, or ratatouille.


1 cup Bhutanese red rice

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1?4 cup finely minced yellow onion or shallots

11?2 cups chicken stock (homemade or boxed, not from a bouillon cube), at room temperature or warmed

2 small or 1 large sprig fresh thyme

1 bay leaf


Freshly ground black pepper


Rinse the rice with cold water. Drain completely, shaking off any excess water.

In a large (about 3quart) saucepan or a sauté pan with a cover, melt the butter over medium heat until the foam subsides. Add the onion and cook until soft and trans? parent, 1 to 2 minutes, keeping the heat low so that it won’t brown.

Add the rice and stir to coat with the melted butter. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, over medium heat. Your goal is to cook the rice for 1 to 2 minutes, not to toast it, but to have the hot butter adhere to the surface of the grains. It’s at this point when the rice begins to sound dry and scratchy as you stir it.

Add the warm stock, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf. If you’ve not used a salted stock, add 1?2 teaspoon salt.

Thanks, Sala Kannan for a great photo

Cover and gently simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes. It’s done when all the stock is absorbed and the grains of rice are tender but still chewy. If you want the grains to be softer, add 1?3 cup more stock and cook for a few minutes longer.

Fluff the rice with a fork and remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Taste for sea? soning, adding salt and pepper as needed.

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  1. Sounds delicious, and the photo is beautiful!

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