Red Rice Pilaf

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"This Bhutanese red rice is is crunchy, nutty and one of the few rices that will grow in Bhutanese highlands and is thus commonly eaten. Other rices are also imported from the southern low countries, but red rice is Bhutan’s own rice – and the mother of many other red rice varieties. From the Author (Laura Kelley; The Silk Road Gourmet cookbook): One of the things that is bothersome about enjoying red rice is that the recipes on the packages usually don’t yield an edible product. I have found that this is because the prescribed amount of water is too low and the cooking time is also underestimated. I think that this is because the common Aisan cultural practice of soaking rice before and after cleaning it reduces the amount of cooking and water listed on the package by hydrating the rice during soaking. The is an authentic pilaf, the zest balances all the allium (leeks, onions and garlic) to produce a crunchy, delicious rice. There is no thyme or oregano or other western ingredients to alter the original recipe."

Original recipe yields 4 servings


  • Serving Size: 1 (462.7 g)
  • Calories 309.2
  • Total Fat - 6.7 g
  • Saturated Fat - 3.8 g
  • Cholesterol - 15.3 mg
  • Sodium - 1456.1 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate - 59.1 g
  • Dietary Fiber - 3 g
  • Sugars - 6 g
  • Protein - 4.2 g
  • Calcium - 86.5 mg
  • Iron - 1.3 mg
  • Vitamin C - 35.4 mg
  • Thiamin - 0.2 mg

Step 1

Melt the butter in a medium sauté pan.

Step 2

Add onion and sauté 5 minutes or until tender.

Step 3

Add chilies, ginger, garlic, orange zest, salt, pepper and perilla, and stir well. If necessary add a tablespoon or two of water or orange juice to moisten.

Step 4

Add water and rice and stir well. Heat to a boil and then reduce heat to a high simmer and cook covered for about 30-40 minutes until rice is tender and water is absorbed. Check the rice occasionally, but don’t stir too much. When rice is done let sit covered off the heat for at least 10 minutes before serving while preparing the other ingredients.

NOTE: Red Rice is a partially-milled short grain rice grown in the Himalayan mountains. Because it is partially milled it still retains most of the bran. The rice has a chewy texture and a nutty flavor. Use steamed as a side dish or combine with other foods to make a pilaf, risotto, or as an addition to a salad

Tips & Variations

No special items needed.



So flavorful! I knew before making the recipe that it would be something I like, because all of my favorite flavors are here! Plus, I have two boxes of red rice in the pantry. Suffice to say, I love this rice dish! The red rice is a lot like wild rice, so very hearty. I can't wait to try this with jasmine or basmati rice, for a change-up. Thanks for sharing this unusual and delicious recipe!

review by:
(20 Mar 2021)