We Puerto Ricans are inveterate rice eaters. It has been with us since anyone can remember. Mainly because rice was (and is still) relatively inexpensive; easy to cook; and we prepare it in infinite ways: rice with beans, rice with fish, rice with chicken, rice with squid, yellow rice, pilaf rice, ext. My Father, of late memory, ate rice everyday. It made no difference what the entrée was, a bowl or rice had to be there. In our culture it was, and still is, mainly white rice. In recent years some of us have become more health conscious, and some homes may serve brown rice. But, from what I’ve seen, this is more the exception than the rule.
Since my journey from the block, I’ve discovered that there are multiple varieties of rice out there. There is Jasmine rice, and Indian Basmati, Japanese Nishiki rice, aromatic Bengali Kalizira rice, red rice, wild rice, Italian Arborio rice, and the list goes on. According to the UK Rice Association, there are over 40,000 different varieties of rice. Go figure that one out.
Glutinous black rice is the unpolished whole grain of regular sticky white rice. It’s not actually black in color, it’s more of a dark purple. And it’s very healthy for you. It contains no fat, and a 1-cup serving has only one gram of sugar. It’s rich in protein, a good source of iron (which your body needs to make blood cells); and it contains no sugar or cholesterol. It’s a very popular and common dish in Southeast Asia, India, Bangladesh, and the Philippines.
In the recipe given below, I’ve combine glutinous black rice with sausages, specifically chorizo, the spicy Spanish sausage so unique to our cuisine. The nutty, chewy flavor of the black rice goes great with the chorizo. A criollo dish by way of Asia.
2 cups milled glutinous black rice
4 1/2 cups water or broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced into thin rings
3 tablespoons sofrito (or 2 cloves minced garlic mixed with 2 teaspoons turmeric and 2 tablespoons
fresh chopped parsley)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
3 chorizo sausages, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1. Wash rice and drain.
2. Heat oil in a heavy kettle or pot. Add onion and cook until soft and translucent. Add sofrito and tomato sauce. Sauté for about 3 minutes.
3. Add chorizo and cook for 5 minutes.
4. Stir in the rice. Add water or broth, salt and pepper.
5. Bring to a boil. Cover tightly and simmer on low heat for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
Yield: 6 servings.