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from: all over Africa | cooking method: boiling-simmering

Rice

Asian Rice (Oryza sativa) is truly an ancient food crop, known to have been cultivated and consumed over 7,000 years ago. Both Malayo-Polynesian colonizers from the Pacific Ocean islands, and Arab-Persian colonizers and traders from the Middle East brought Asian Rice to Africa's eastern coast in ancient times. It is not widely known that there are species of rice native to Africa that were cultivated in ancient times in the Western and Central interior parts of the continent before the arrival of Asian Rice. This indigenous variety, African Rice (Oryza glaberrima), sometimes called African Red Rice, has been mostly abandoned by farmers and consumers in favor of the Asian varieties, much of it imported.

farm in guinea bissau

What you need

What you do

The typical method of cooking white rice calls for one part rice to two parts water. In Africa it seems that women usually cook rice without measuring. If you use the same pot to cook rice every day you too will soon develop this talent.


Richard Francis Burton

Rice of the red quality

Richard F. Burton describes red rice being cultivated in Eastern Africa in The Lake Regions of Central Africa: A Picture of Exploration (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1860; reprinted by Dover Publications, and by Scholarly Press):

[In Western Unyamwezi] Rice of the red quality--the white is rare and dear--grows with a density and a rapidity unknown in Eastern Unyamwezi. [Chapter XI - We Conclude the Transit of Unyamwezi]


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