Hot wet rice*

With thanks to The Kates here in Australia for one of the funniest, satirical comedies, and an entire episode featuring “hot, wet rice” * aka The Thermomix episode.

Anyway, this post isn’t about kitchen appliances or comedy, it’s about rice, in particular the unpolished red rice – mottakkaruppan rice – traditionally from Kerala.

I found it at my local Indian supermarket where thankfully pandemic panic-buying hadn’t emptied the shelves.

I asked around in a few groups and learned that this rice needs time and a few steps to prepare: mainly a lot of rinsing, pre-soaking and cooking in a pressure cooker or stove-top saucepan. Rice-cookers weren’t mentioned.

Prepared properly, this rice has a chewy texture, seperate grains, a lovely pale rosy colour, plenty of flavour and many nutrients. The water it’s cooked in can be saved for another purpose.

Bonus: this rice has almost twice the protein content of most other types of rice, making it an ideal choice for vegan and vegetarian meals.

So what did I do with my first cupful? I rinsed it thoroughly, decided to skip the pre-soaking and put it straight into my slow-cooker with half the quantity of water you’d use if doing it on the stove: 6 cups instead of 12.

To this I added a sachet of coconut milk powder, some very roughly grated turmeric root and ginger root, a cinnamon quill and a couple of star anise (my go-to spices for any type of porridge).

I can’t remember how long it took to reach the porridge or congee-type stage; maybe an hour or two? I cooked it on HIGH and eventually took the lid off to evaporate some of the liquid as it was too wet for me. This really is slow, mindful cooking, ideal for long days at home.

If you know your slow-cooker and its habits, I’m sure you could do this overnight on LOW, but with 12 cups of water to 1 cup of rice just to be sure.

I finished it with zested mandarin peel, and served it with honey, slivered almonds, mandarin segments, shredded coconut and a little plain yoghurt.

I have friends who’ll be laughing at me as they read this, as they know I’m not fond of savoury wet rice – congee – for breakfast. Seems like my Earth element really, really favours the sweet taste in the mornings.

Next time we have this rice, I’ll make it in the more traditional way and serve it in little mounds with curry.

Did you know that in Traditional Chinese Medicine – and Ayurveda too – we’re interested to know which of the flavours you crave or avoid? And that a well-balanced meal includes each of the flavours: sweet, bitter, salty, sour, pungent (spicy)?

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