Cooking Manoomin "Wild Rice"

Posted by Dave Allee on

Manoomin is not technically a "wild rice".

It's a grain native to northern Minnesota and it has great cultural significance to the indigenous tribes of the Great Lakes region, specifically the Ojibwe.  The name Manoomin means "food that grows on water".

The seeds, or grains, from atop the aquatic plant are harvested by canoe—as not to disturb the ecosystem and damage future harvests. 

Despite not being a true rice, this wild-harvested grain functions like a wild rice would when you are planning a menu for a special feast. You will find, as I did recently, that this grain makes an exciting and delicious addition in place of rice.  It has more flavor and more protein than rice does.

Once cooked, it becomes soft and fluffy, a texture that is hard to predict when you hold the raw grain in your palm.

Ingredients for Cooking Manoomin:

  • 1 Cup Manoomin "Wild Rice"
  • 2 Cups Filtered Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter

6 Simple Steps:

  1. Pour the Manoomin in a saucepan and add the water and butter. 
  2. Bring the whole mixture to a boil (making sure the butter gets well incorporated)
  3. Once the water is boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and put the lid on.
  4. Allow it to simmer for 30 mins, gently stirring periodically.
  5. The Manoomin is ready when the water is absorbed and the grains are fluffy and soft.  Cook until all water is absorbed or evaporated.
  6. Serve hot—next to the grilled protein and roasted veggie of your choice.

Lastly, this goes without saying, but if you are going to go to the effort of incorporating wild harvested foods on to your dinner table, share what you've learned with those who you are sharing your meal with. 

Adding wild food to your meals enlivens the dishes themselves as well as those who eat them. As the great forager Euell Gibbons once said, how can the talk at the table be dull when everything on the plate is a conversation piece?” -Hank Shaw

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