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RED RICE: TYPES, BENEFITS, HOW TO COOK, RECIPES

The term red rice can mean different things, and for this reason it is easy to find a little confusion.
The rice normally grown in Italy is of the genus Oryza, species Sativa. There are many varieties, and some, such as Ermes wholemeal rice or Risrus, are red on the outer part of the grain. Then, again within the genus Oryza, there are species known as wild (to date more than 20 are known, perhaps 24), and here too we find red varieties.
Moreover, with the term wild rice, in addition to the wild species belonging to the genus Oryza, we also indicate the species belonging to the genus Zizania.
Furthermore, when we talk about red rice, we can understand red yeast rice.
Let’s try to see the different types a little more closely.

RED YEAST RICE

Red yeast rice (also called red mold rice) is made by fermentation of rice with Monascus purpureus yeast.
Red fermented rice is also referred to by the names Red Koji, Hong Qu, Ang-kak and Beni-Koji, and is a traditional Chinese food. The traditional method of producing red rice is that yeast Monascus purpureus is left to ferment naturally on non-glutinous brown rice.
Monascus purpureus feeds, and among the elements it releases is the monacolin K.
Monacolin K has chemical composition similar to that of lovastatin, a molecule used as an active ingredient in medicines aimed at decreasing the risk of heart attack and stroke and reducing blood cholesterol levels.
Red yeast rice is particularly known for studies that indicate its hypocholesterolizing action. However, as we shall see, the theme is still perhaps partly open

Red yeast rice cholesterol

Fermented red rice is often considered an ally that helps keep LDL cholesterol in check. As we will see later, even EFSA, i.e. the European Food Safety Authority, in 2011 considered that the overall scientific evidence allowed to state that fermented red rice contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol concentrations. However, EFSA itself has raised some questions about health.
The dispute over integration with monacolin K is perhaps still open.

Red yeast rice side effects

Regarding side effects, a 2017 study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (1) states, in the conclusions, that there are two potential food safety problems, namely muscle and liver injuries.
The study states that the results pose the question, to be studied through further investigations, that the safety profile of fermented red rice is very similar to that of synthetic statins.

EFSA scientific opinions on red yeast rice

EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) expressed two opinions, one in 2011 and one in 2018. Let’s see them.

EFSA scientific opinion of 2011

In 2011, EFSA published a scientific opinion on the validity of health claims related to monacolin K from red yeast rice, with reference to maintaining normal concentrations of LDL cholesterol in the blood.
In the conclusions, the opinion states that the monacolin K of fermented red rice contributes to the maintenance of normal concentrations of cholesterol in the blood.

EFSA scientific opinion of 2018

In 2018, however, the same EFSA published another opinion, in which concerns were raised about the profile of safety of supplements based on monacolin K.
In the conclusions of the opinion, EFSA states that based on the available information and the many uncertainties highlighted in the opinion, the EFSA panel was not able to identify a dietary intake of monacoline from red yeast rice that does not give rise to concerns about adverse health effects for the general population or for vulnerable subgroups of the population.

The European parliamentary question of 2018

A European parliamentary question with request for a written reply to the European Commission, of November 16th 2018 asks for some clarifications regarding supplements containing monacolin K from red yeast rice.

SATIVA RED RICE SPECIES GROWN IN ITALY

Wholemeal red rice of genus Oryza and Sativa species is a rice that has a red outer layer. Red colour is due to the presence of proanthocyanidins.
Among the varieties grown in Italy we find Ermesand Risrus.

Wholemeal red rice properties and contraindications

Whole grain rice is obtained by removing from paddy rice the husk but not the bran. Numerous scientific studies have shown that the consumption of whole grains contributes to the prevention of chronic degenerative diseases. Most whole foods compared to refined versions, such as brown rice, contain more healthy components such as fiber, vitamins, minerals and phenolic compounds. According to some studies, the consumption of whole foods offers greater benefits than the intake of single supplements for each substance.
Inside the rice bran there are also so-called anti-nutritional compounds, such as phytic acid. However, the anti-nutritional effects are partly deactivated by the heat to which these compounds are subjected during cooking, or by soaking the rice about half an hour in cold water before cooking. In addition, the same compounds have also proved to be nutraceutical elements, i.e. nutritional compounds with therapeutic or preventive properties.

Ermes red rice

Ermes red rice is a variety of rice of the genus Oryza, Sativa species, obtained by the agricultural cooperative Sardo Piemontese Sementi(SA. PI. SE.), and registered in 2013 within the varietal register established by the Rice National Agency.
It is an aromatic rice with a long and elongated grain. It is classified, according to the legislative decree August 4th, 2017, n. 131, as B long rice, that is as rice whose grains have a length greater than 6 millimeters and a ratio between length and width equal to or greater than 3.
It is possible to cook the Ermes red rice in boiling water, in a pressure cooker, pilaf.
After cooking in boiling water or in a pressure cooker, it is excellent sautéed, for example with spices and vegetables. Try it also together with fresh or cooked vegetables, in cereal soups or in rice salads.

Risrus

In dialect, ris rus means red rice. Risrus is a non-aromatic rice.
It is classified by the legislation as long A rice, i.e. rice whose grains have a length greater than 6 millimeters, with a ratio between length and width greater than 2 and less than 3.

WILD RED RICE

The name wild red rice refers to some species of rice (genus Oryza) different from the Sativa species. Wild rice can grow in wild in clay soils, but it can also be grown. The garnet red color of the wild red rice is due to the presence of anthocyanins, water-soluble vegetable pigments that chemically belong to the class of flavonoids.
Wholemeal wild red rice has a cooking time of about 40 minutes, and is suitable for example for preparing recipes as particular rice in salads.

CAMARGUE RED RICE

Camargue red rice (in French: riz rouge de Camargue) is a rice protected by the PGI mark like all the Camargue rice.
Production can take place only within 15 municipalities, 5 of which are part of the department of Bouches-du-Rhône, and 10 belonging to the department of Gard. The area has a triangular shape, with vertices Aigues-Mortes, Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône and Tarascon.

SHOP ONLINE THE BEST RICE FROM ITALY

On Gustorotondo you find the best rice and other high-quality authentic Italian foods.
We look for producers who have high-quality standards, and we offer artisan Italian good products that enhance the tradition and authentic flavours of Italian cuisine.
Gustorotondo was born as a traditional Italian food store in the center of Milan, and then started the e-commerce business. Now you can buy traditional Italian food online on Gustorotondo from all over Italy, from England, from Germany, from the Netherlands, from the Czech Republic, and from all the other European countries.
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WHOLEMEAL RED RICE HOW TO COOK

Let us now look at some ways in which wholemeal rice can be cooked. Normally it is prepared in one of the following ways:

  • Boiled
  • In a pressure cooker
  • Pilaf
  • Sautéed

Boiled whole red rice

To prepare boiled wholemeal rice, put it in a pot and add cold water. Cover the pot with the lid, and bring the water to a boil. When the water reaches the boiling temperature, lower the heat and proceed with cooking. The cooking time is, approximately, 35 minutes. If you plan to sauté the rice in a pan, keep a little of the cooking water taken just before draining the rice. When cooked, drain the rice.

Whole red rice how to cook in pressure cooker

To cook the whole red rice in a pressure cooker, pour it into the pressure cooker and cover it with cold water (about twice the weight of the rice). Close the pressure cooker, and set it on high heat. Bring the water to a boil, then turn down the heat. The cooking time is about 10 minutes from when working pressure is reached. After cooking, vent the steam and open the pot. Drain any excess liquid.

Whole red rice how to cook pilaf

To prepare whole red rice with pilaf cooking method, take a shallow pot suitable for baking. Put some oil in the pot, heat it and add the wholemeal red rice. Toast the rice, and during toasting add a pinch of salt. At this point, cover the rice with hot water or hot broth (about twice the weight of rice). When the liquid boils, cover the pot with the lid and cook without stirring or lifting the lid; you can cook the rice on the stove, keeping the heat low, or put the pot in preheated oven at 180 – 200 °C

Sautéed whole red rice

To prepare whole red rice with pilaf cooking method, take a shallow pot suitable for baking. Put some oil in the pot, heat it and add the wholemeal red rice. Toast the rice, and during toasting add a pinch of salt. At this point, cover the rice with hot water or hot broth (about twice the weight of rice). When the liquid boils, cover the pot with the lid and cook without stirring or lifting the lid; you can cook the rice on the stove, keeping the heat low, or put the pot in preheated oven at 180 – 200 °C

RED RICE RECIPES

Wholemeal red rice can be used to prepare different recipes.
It is excellent for preparing rice salads, with raw or sautéed vegetables, along with legumes (e.g. red rice and beans) or chicken; it can also be used for desserts.
Try it for example (but there may be many more recipes!) with:

  • Tuna and vegetables
  • Shrimps and courgettes
  • Avocado and shrimp
  • Lentils and sautéed vegetables

SOME REFERENCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY

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