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Rice is one of those foods that can be called a staple food in the diet of many people. Originating in the Orient, rice, in its many forms, has been a popular dish for centuries.
The Chinese and the Japanese both have their traditional methods of cooking rice, and some of these may be considered quite complicated.
Today, we have many new, modern appliances in our kitchens, and some of these are ideal for cooking rice. In fact, the world of modern technology has brought us a brilliant little device designed specifically for this purpose. And, of course, it is known as a Rice Cooker.
Using a rice cooker is really simple, and it can even be used for cooking wild rice. Once you know how to cook wild rice in a rice cooker, you will probably never want to cook it any other way, because it is just so simple and convenient.
You only need to take a walk through the rice and grains aisle of your local supermarket to see that there are so many different types of rice available. It can even be a little overwhelming and somewhat daunting, and you may not know which one to choose.
Where do you start? White rice, brown rice, long-grain rice, Basmati rice, Jasmine rice, par-boiled rice, Japanese rice, Risotto rice, wild rice…. And the list goes on. If you are not familiar with all of these types of rice, do not stress. Many people aren’t.
Is Wild Rice Really Rice?
Even though we call it rice, and we combine it with other foods in the same way that we would eat regular rice as an accompanying side-dish with other dishes, in truth, wild rice is not actually true rice as we know it.
Wild rice is in fact a grain that is harvested from four different species of grass. Unlike traditional rice that originates from China, wild rice is native to North America. It is different from traditional rice in both color and texture.
Wild rice is a pale light brown color and has a distinctly grainy texture. The individual grains are longer than the traditional rice and slightly curved. The taste is quite unusual, with a flavor that is more woody and nutty than other rice.
How Do You Cook Wild Rice?
There are numerous ways that one can cook wild rice, such as in a pot on the stovetop, in the microwave, or in a dish in the oven. But the easiest method by far is in a rice cooker.
Once I had learned how to cook wild rice in a rice cooker, I started making it and serving it to my family more often, because it is a healthy and nutritious food that is so simple to prepare.
What Kind Of Rice Cooker Do You Need To Cook Wild Rice?
There are many different types and brands of rice cookers on the market. The rice cooker is a nifty little appliance that makes cooking rice absolutely fool-proof. No more burnt pots with blackened goo stuck to the bottom.
If you want to cook wild rice in a rice cooker, it does not make any difference what type of rice cooker you use. Any of the popular ones available in stores or even online will do the job just as well.
I have experimented with quite a few different methods, and I have discovered that there are three important aspects that you need to get just right when cooking wild rice in a rice cooker.
I am happy to share my three secrets to success when cooking wild rice in a rice cooker. All of these factors are essential if you want your wild rice to come out perfectly every time.
Tip number one is to ensure that you have the correct rice to water ratio. If you do not have enough water, your rice will be undercooked, and it will be hard and grainy.
Conversely, if you use too much water, the rice will be soggy and stodgy, and it will come out with the consistency of soft porridge. Not what you want for your wild rice, I know!
Tip number two is to get the timing just right. Cook for too long and your wild rice will be burnt and dry, with the texture of old wood. If the cooking time is too short, your wild rice will be hard and crunchy, instead of light and soft.
The cooking time may vary, depending on the power and size of your rice cooker. The best advice I can give you is to read the instruction manual carefully for cooking times of that particular model, and then play around and experiment with it until you are satisfied that you have achieved the perfect result.
Tip number three will help you to avoid that scenario where your wild rice sticks to the pan of the rice cooker, especially at the bottom.
For the best results, I always advise spraying the pan of your rice cooker very lightly with some non-stick cooking spray. This will prevent the wild rice from sticking to the pan.
It is also possible to grease the pan of the rice cooker very lightly by wiping it with a piece of paper towel dipped in melted butter.
How To Cook Wild Rice In A Rice Cooker
Now that you know my three secrets, here is my fail-safe method for soft, fluffy wild rice cooked in a rice cooker.
- Grease the pan of the rice cooker, either with non-stick spray or with melted butter.
- Place 1 cup of wild rice in the rice cooker.
- Pour 2 cups of cold water over the wild rice, ensuring that it is completely covered.
- Close the rice cooker, and cook for 50 minutes.
- Leave the wild rice to stand for 10 minutes before opening the rice cooker.
- Remove the wild rice from the rice cooker and serve.
Is Wild Rice Good For You?
Wild rice is considered by most nutritionists and health experts to be very good for you. It is filled with nutrients such as fiber, minerals, and magnesium.
Wild rice is also a very healthy source of protein that is plant-based, so it is highly suitable for those who choose to follow a vegan or vegetarian diet but still need to get in their daily quota of protein intake.
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Does Wild Rice Have A High Carbohydrate Content?
If you are trying to keep track of your carbs and reduce your carb intake, wild rice is the perfect accompaniment to any main dish.
One cup of cooked long-grain brown rice contains 52 grams of carbohydrates, while one cup of cooked white rice contains 53 grams of carbs (not much difference between the brown and white rice).
Wild rice, on the other hand, contains only 35 grams of carbohydrates in one cup of cooked wild rice. This makes it highly suitable for those who are trying to lose weight or keep their carb intake down.
Wild rice has a high fiber content. Fiber is known for helping you to feel full for longer. If you include wild rice in your daily meal plans and eat a moderate portion of wild rice with your meal, it may help you to resist the urge to snack between meals.
Does Wild Rice Have Other Health Benefits?
Eating a regular portion of wild rice is known to have numerous other advantages. By including it in your daily food intake, you will be able to enjoy the following health benefits
- Wild rice has a high phosphorus content. Phosphorus is one of the elements that contribute to bone health. By including wild rice in your diet, you can help to raise your phosphorus levels. This can help to protect you against suffering from stress fractures. It also helps to prevent the loss of bone density.
- Wild rice is rich in antioxidants. These antioxidants help to protect us from the effects of aging, as well as preventing cell damage.
- The high fiber content in wild rice helps to keep your digestive system running efficiently. If you incorporate wild rice into your daily diet, it will help to avoid constipation and keep your digestive system regular.
- Eating wild rice on a regular basis is known to be good for heart health. The fiber content prevents a build-up of ‘bad’ cholesterol. There is no sodium in wild rice, which is good for maintaining your blood pressure at a healthy level. Excessive sodium in the diet is known to contribute to high blood pressure.
- Wild rice is rich in vitamins that contribute to a strong immune system. The human body needs a constant supply of white blood cells to help to fight off infection. The production of these blood cells is stimulated by the presence of certain vitamins in the bloodstream
Now that you know how to cook wild rice in a rice cooker, you, too, can enjoy this tasty, healthy food, with minimal effort.