MAHNOOMIN -- Wild Rice, Sacred Gift -- the Story
Nutritional value of wild rice as established by the University of Minnesota per a 100-gram (3.5 oz) serving of wild rice.
50 calories (approximately) 14.1 grams protein (about twice that of brown or white rice) 75 grams carbohydrates 340 miligrams phosphorus 45 miligrams Thiamin (vitamin B-1) 0.75 miligrams fat 4.2 miligrams iron 63 miligrams riboflavin 7 miligrams sodium 6.2 miligrams niacin (B-vitamin) 18 miligrams calcium 220 miligrams potassium
Compare with UDSA Nutrients: WILD RICE, COOKED
Basic boiling (onzaan): Boil (covered) one part (cup, etc.) of wild rice (after rinsing it) in 4 parts (cups etc.) of water slowly, about 45 minutes. It should absorb all the water, as it is done. Don't salt it. Actually, cooking time varies according to the variety and how it was processed; if it's black it takes longer. Taste a few grains. If you're going to use it in a stuffing, stew, soup, casserole, or salad, don't boil it all mushy. Taste it before you stir in any salt afterwards, some kinds really don't need any. You can use wild rice in any recipes you usually use regular rice for, especially if the recipe calls for the rice cooked separately first. You can serve it plain with butter, and stir or fluff it up when done, because once it's cooked or cooking it doesn't matter if the long grains get broken. (It's still a big thing with elder ladies that some rice with perfect grains be prepared for First Rice offering.)
Two of my secret recipes:
Spinach-rice casserole (about 2 1/2 quarts):
4 cups cooked wild rice 2 lbs washed fresh spinach 4 eggs 2 big bunches green onions 1 tsp salt 1 Cup sunflower seeds 1/2 tsp pepper 4 Tbs chopped parseley 1/2 lb cheese grated fine 2 Tbs sesame seeds 4 Tbs butter
Beat 4 eggs with salt, pepper, stir into rice. Stir in cheese and parsley. Tear stems .from spinach and chop these tough stems very fine. Fry them lightly with 2 big bunches of green onions chopped fine (including most of the green part). Tear up or chop coarsely the spinach leaves and stir them into the frying pan to wilt a little. Then stir it all into the rice mix. Stir in some sunflower seeds. Taste for seasoning. Pack into 1 or 2 greased heavy casseroles. Top with toasted sesame seeds and 2 Tbsp melted butter sprinkled around on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, uncovered. Goes well with sweet-baked squash, pumpkin or candied sweet potatoes.
Wild Rice and grape salad: (about a quart and a half)
3 cups cooked rice 1 cup seedless green grapes, halved 1 small can water chestnuts, sliced 1/2 cup celery chopped medium-fine 1 big bunch green onions choppeed medium fine 1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds 1 cup Hellmans mayo, do not use substitutes
Stir vegetables and mayo into rice, stir grapes in gently. If too thick, thin with a little milk. Taste for seasoning. Refrigerated, this will keep several days. Improves it to make it the day before, so the mayo sinks in and blends a little. If you do make it in advance, don't add any more seasoning until you taste it the next day. You can also put leftover chopped up chicken or turkey in this salad, If you're going to take this somewhere, be sure to keep it chilled in a cooler until time to eat.
Pancakes: Form cooked wild rice into thick pancakes or thin patties. Fry in butter. Serve with maple syrup. If you don't have any, heating brown sugar, butter and a little water (1 part water to 4 parts brown sugar) makes a better syrup than the kind you buy. Ricecakes are also good with berry syrups or honey, or at a main meal with butter or gravy..
Breakfast cereal: Serve cold or warm cooked rice with sugar or honey and cream. Stir ins: sunflower seeds, chopped apple, peach, pear; choppeed dried fruits.
Bird Stuffing: Fry green onions, celery, add chopped nuts, chopped unpeeled apples, chopped dried fruit or berries, sunflower seeds. Rice stuffing won't absorb fat the way bread stuffing does, but wild birds usually aren't very fat anyway, and neither are small chickens and most turkeys. Taste stuffing, add whatever seasonings you like with it. Use no conventional poultry seasonings, and remember too it doesn't need so much salt as regular rice, maybe none. Remember that one cup of raw rice cooks up to 4, and make an amount somewhat larger than needed to stuff your birds, because people like it a lot, so put some in a (covered) casserole too. Before you stuff wild birds wash inside and out very well with water that has baking soda and salt in it, then rinse. Then rub the cavity with butter.
Stuffing for a big fish: Use quite a bit of coarsely chopped celery, green onions, tarragon, parsley, chervil and fry it lightly before mixing into the rice. Almonds is the best kind of nuts to put in a stuffing for fish. Put some little lumps of butter all through it. Rub the inside of the fish with lemon juice mixed with a little butter, sprinkle with dried tarragon. Stuff the cavity with rice and skewer or sew it shut. Put the fish whole in a buttered covered baking dish, pour in a mixture of lemon juice. bouquet garni, chopped shallot, olive oil, fish stock, and a mixture of lemon juice and water if you don't keep wine around your house, otherwise use white wine. The mixture should have the fishes resting in at least 1/2 inch deep liquid but not covered by it. For several 4-lb pike (gaawag), bake in a 400 oven for 15 minutes, remove the cover and bake 15 minutes longer. Make add a cup of cream sauce from the juices, pressing them through a sieve. If it's a really big pike or muskie, cut a board with slanted ends to fit diagonally into your oven, cover it with tinfoil while it bakes, guesstimate the time based on lies about its weight, don't cook any fish too done,
With deer-meat: ground deer meat partly-fried can be mixed into cooked rice with chopped fried onions and simmered as a kind of stove-top casserole. You can also make the ground deer meat into little meat balls and serve with a gravy over the rice. Of course you can do this with hamburger too, but fry off some of its fat, first.
1 lb ground venison or ftaless round steak 1/3 cup uncooked light brown wild rice 1 small onion minced very fine 1 seeded green pepper minced very fine 1 tsp salt 1/4 tsp pepper 1 can tomatoes 1 can tomato soup
Combine meat, uncoooked rice, onion, green pepper, salt, pepper, mix thoroughly. Shape into 1& firm meat balls. Bring soup and tomatoes in their liquid to a boil in frypan with tight cover, put in meat balls, reduce to very slow simmer. Simmer tightly until done with rice popping out of balls like porky quills -- about 40-45 minutes. -- Olga Masica, Minneapolis
Not exactly a recipe -- a pie for leftover meat or cooked veggies: About 2 cups of cooked rice. Pat a rice shell into a pie pan -- you can add nuts, sunflower seeds (chopped), and even an egg to hold it together better, if you have eggs. Toast lightly for 10 minutes in preheated 350-degree oven. Fill this pie shell with leftover chopped meat (just about any kind) in a sauce or gravy, or cooked vegetables in a light white sauce. (Broccoli in cheese sauce, very light on the cheese, cauliflower, lima beans, corn). Heat in oven until sauce is bubbling and meat or veggies are heated through. One "pie" serves 4 not-too-hungry people; if they're hungry better make 2 or have a lot of other food such as soup, salad, big dessert, depending on what you have. For a fancy dinner, especially one where you are basically serving disguised leftovers because you are broke, put cut-out vegetable shapes brushed with melted butter on top of the sauce; tell non-Indian guests (especially French) it's an authentic traditional Native American Indian quiche. Make up some name for it with a lot of vowels.
In soups and stews: usually better to cook iwild rice separately first, not completely done, then stir it in for the last 15 minutes of cooking
Habitant pea soup with wild rice -- Naboob: Make this the usual way (3 quarts of water to one lb dried peas soaked overnight if whole, 1/2 lb salt pork, chopped carrots, onions, turnips, rutabagas). Add vegetables after bringing peas and pork to a boil and skimming. Simmer covered 4 hours, stir in cooked wild rice the last 15 minutes. The combo of peas and rice actually contains more biologically-usable protein than either the same amount of peas plus the same amount of rice, eaten separately, because of amino acid (components of protein) complementarities.
Popped wild rice: I've only been able to make this work with reasonably fresh real Indian rice. I don't think you can pop commercial black rice. If it's too dried out (from being broken, then heated) it can't pop. Test your rice before doing a lot. Put some fat in a frying pan, sprinkle in a little rice and stir it carefully so it doesn't burn. Maybe it will pop. (It won't fly around like popcorn, it slowly puffs itself into a long fat pillow.) If it doesn't (and you didn't burn it) throw it in with the other rice and boil it. If it does, you can eat it like popcorn for more healthful snacks, and for breakfast cereal.
Pop-rice (in deer tallow or bear fat) was traditional. They usually make it at First Rice feasts at ricing camp if anyone is there who knows how. Somebody told me the name for it, but I forgot. They poured maple syrup over pop-rice (from the tied sheaves) at sugar camp. Also in winter they melted hardened sap-candy over it and made it into balls. For winter travel, pop-rice was crushed and shaped into cakes with some deer fat and quite a lot of melted sugar and dried berries. It was lightweight, filling, nutritious, and could be eaten without a fire if enemies were around. It didn't have to be packed into pieces of clean gut, like pemmican.
If preparing wild rice soups or casseroles to sell at powwows, do not skimp on the rice and serve some kind of tasteless, watery mush. Put some onions and meat into it, too! Cook the rice in meat broth. Put onions in it, wild onions was traditional, but onions are usually left out for cheap, selling it at powwow booths. I've had some really awful wild rice glop from vendor booths at powwows. They start running out, they just put more water in the pot. Indian tacos is just hamburger in sauce on fry bread, it's OK to pad or stretch that out, but wild rice is a sacred gift. Do it right or don't do it. When you run low, serve the last of it and close up, don't put a lot of water in to stretch it so you can sell more.
If you are a city person, you can buy "tame" rice farmed in paddies. Chances are this will look very dark, which most likely means the rice laid around quite a while, drying, before it was parched (in a commercial oven) and husked (by a machine). It will always be completely broken up. Such rice may take a long time to cook. If you belong to an alternative foods co-op, you may be able to get them to contact an actual tribal or native supplier of wild rice. Most tribes who live in rice areas do have a tribal rice enterprise, and for many large families who go ricing every year, it's a cash crop, as well as a personal food supply and a pleasant excursion. Many tribes now process commercial rice in mechanical plants, though. It isn't paddy rice, but there's not that much difference. And sometimes it is paddy rice, too. Hybrids seeded in artificial or real lakes, by tribal contractors. This is economically helpful, but I still don't like it.
If you have a chance to try different varieties of truly wild rice from many different lakes, you will see that it can have quite different flavors. People still trade their local wild rice for another tribe's from elsewhere. Unfortunately, elders from Northern Minnesota ricing areas report that nearby off-reservation commercial paddies are experimenting with different laboratory-breeds of zinzania aquatica which are cross-breeding with the natural tribal wild rice, and the natural types are being replaced by undesired new hybrids on many lakes. Nobody likes this, but there doesn't seem to be anything we can do to stop it. Tame, paddy rice is big business for large food corporations, today, so the Jolly Green Giant is taking over from the Manidos who gave the rice to the people.
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Last Updated: 6/6/97