Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fried Wild Rice (Arroz Salvaje Frito)

We have visited Minnesota for many, many summers due to our involvement with Concordia Language Villages (a fantastic language and culture immersion program). First, my husband was a villager (camper), then a counselor, and now he is a professor. I was a counselor as well and our kids are now villagers in Bemidji. You cannot leave Minnesota without a bag of wild rice. After you buy the rice, you wonder how to cook it. Don't worry, there are thousands of recipes that you can make. The interesting irony is that I learned the most unorthodox way to cook wild rice through a Spanish cooking program with the famous Chef, José Andrés. One day my son, Alex, asked me to cook something extraordinary and different for his 4th grade class. Quickly, I remembered this crazy recipe where you deep fry the wild rice. Once the rice pops it looks like maggots. I thought either those 4th graders would think  it's cool or else.....; Well, it turned out they thought it was the coolest thing and they finished it all.

The wild rice pops up looking like maggots!!!

I must say that wild rice, even though it's called rice, is not rice but rather the seed of a grass found on the river banks and lake shores of Northern Minnesota. The rice from Lake Itasca, the headwaters of the Mississippi River, is especially famous. The collection of the rice is a Native American tradition of the Leech Lake Tribal Reservation. The Ojibwe get into their  canoes, paddle to the river banks and shores of the lakes, shake the grass and the grain falls into their canoes. It is black and brown in color and long.

Roasted wild rice

Truthfully, it makes a great snack and a conversation piece for those Viking and Green Bay Packer games. Don't forget to wear your Norse helmets and cheese heads while you are enjoying fried wild rice.

Deep Fried goes well with grapes


1/2 Cup Wild Rice


2 pans

Before you start, you need two deep pans. We add oil just to cover 1/3 the height of the pan and heat it. When it gets really hot, add the wild rice. When the rice starts popping and opening, remove it very quickly by pouring everything into a strainer covering the second pan. Remove the rice from the strainer, and lay it on a paper towel. Now we can cook a second batch in the second pan, the oil will be hot already. We can do this as many times as we need.

The wild rice cooked this way can also be used to top other dishes.


  1. I made this to go with our dinner Sunday night! It was so easy and fun to watch the rice pop! It was a hit with my husband and kids!

  2. Thank you Sra. Anderson! It was also a hit with my son's class. It is also great to top dishes that need something crunchy, like I use it with the "bacalao al pilpil."