Wehani Rice

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Preparation info

  • Makes about

    3 cups

    rice
    • Difficulty

      Easy

Appears in

Seductions of Rice

By Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid

Published 1998

  • About

Wehani is a designer rice, developed by the Lundberg brothers in Northern California. The Lundbergs have become famous for their organically grown rice, for their rices are good-quality rices and free from chemical contamination.

Wehani is a beautiful red-colored rice with long grains. In the bin at the store, it looks very like red Thai rice, though not as fine. Wehani has bigger grains, both fatter and longer. When cooked, it loses a little redness and looks more like a red-tinted brown rice. It then resembles some of the good red rices we’ve seen in southern India. Because it is sold as whole-grain (unmilled) rice, like other brown rices it has a longer cooking time than white rices. It is also chewier and more filling than white rice, so that if served with side dishes, one cup of raw rice cooks up into enough rice for three or four people.

Because of its distinctive fresh grain taste, Wehani pairs well with strong and hearty flavors, such as those of grilled mushrooms, meat, and slow-simmered stews.

Although the cooking instructions given by the growers call for two and a half cups water per cup of raw rice, we have found that two and a quarter cups water produce more reliable results. Extra water just makes the rice at the bottom of the pot somewhat soupy, though it still tastes fine. Because the rice is unpolished, it holds its shape well during cooking; on the other hand, it also needs to stand, untouched, in its heavy rice pot, for about thirty minutes after cooking to give the starches time to firm up. This is rather like the cooling time needed after bread comes out of the oven, before it can be sliced successfully.

During cooking, Wehani rice fills the house with a wonderful aromatic smell, slightly buttery and very mouthwatering. The taste is nutty and slightly sweet, the texture chewy but moist and tender; our children love it. We cook it without salt, the same way we cook Asian rices. Side dishes usually supply enough salty flavor, or your guests can salt it when eating if they wish.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Wehani rice
  • cups water or light stock
  • ½ teaspoon salt (optional)

Method

Rinse the rice well under cold running water until the water runs clear. Place in a sieve to drain thoroughly.

Transfer the rice to a heavy medium pot with a tight-fitting lid. Add the water or stock, bring to a boil over high heat, then cover and lower the heat to a simmer. Let cook for 45 minutes, then remove from the heat and let stand, still covered, for 30 minutes before serving.

Wehani stuffing for birds

Wehani is very good when mixed with a plainer rice to stuff a turkey: We mix it with Thai jasmine rice about one to one. Sauté some chopped leeks and onions in olive oil, add some finely chopped mushrooms, and cook over medium-high heat until softened. Stir in the raw rice and cook over low heat for 2 minutes. Add water to not quite cover, bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Season with a dash of soy sauce and some salt and pepper. Let cool completely, then transfer this mixture to the cavity of the turkey, leaving plenty of room for the rice to expand.