Wild rice is a life saver for rice loving raw vegans. If you are like me, you probably were a little disappointed in the most common raw vegan rice options, like cauliflower rice or jicama rice. To be honest, the texture is not at all the same, and you can’t fool anybody. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still good, however for an Asian who grew up eating rice all her life, it’s a bit underwhelming. But then, I discovered wild rice being used in raw foods. It’s a superstar raw food ingredient that in my opinion, most closely resembles cooked rice when recreating rice dishes raw. Wild rice is a water-grass seed, and though it’s named “rice” it’s technically not a grain. It has twice as much protein than brown rice, and 30 times the amount of anti-oxidants of white rice. It’s also loaded with vitamin A, B, C, and E, and minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and zinc, to name a few. So I can fulfill my rice craving and nourish my body at the same time! Amazing!
Now, normally you have to cook it to eat it, but you can actually eat it raw by soaking it in water. This is called “blooming” since wild rice doesn’t sprout. Blooming softens and swells the rice as if it was cooked.
There is a traditional blooming technique shown in several raw food cookbooks, but the problem is, this “blooming” step never worked for me. The technique is to place the wild rice in a closed mason jar with water, and put it into the dehydrator for 12-24 hours at 110℉. Unfortunately, every time I tried it, the wild rice never softened much, even after 24 hours and more. It just never made much progress. Pretty disappointing after all the hours waiting and wild rice isn’t very cheap. I was almost ready to give up on it.
Then one of the raw food pioneers, Chef B Live showed me how he makes his own raw vegan Spanish Rice with wild rice, using a blooming technique that he learned from the legendary Chef Ito, the executive chef behind one of the best raw and vegan restaurant in the states, Au Lac in Fountain Valley, CA. Chef Ito’s techniques involves “scoring” the wild rice for a minute in a food processor in order to allow it to properly bloom when soaked in water. The scoring makes countless slices on the hard surface of the rice, which allows it to soak up the water fast and efficiently. Pure genius. This simple but yet vitally essential technique makes it fail-proof. If you ever choose to share this technique with others, please mention Chef Ito to give credit to him.
So the first thing you do with Chef Ito’s blooming technique is to score the wild rice for one full minute in the food processor. You have to continuously keep it running, so no pulsing here. FYI, it can be quite loud so I usually get out of the kitchen while it’s scoring. When it’s done, make sure the wild rice is completely covered with black powder. If it’s not, it’s a sign it’s not scored enough so keep it running a little longer.
Then rinse the wild rice well under water, until the water turns clear. Placed it into a large mason jar like the half gallon size, or a large bowl. Pour in water to soak and let it sit for 12-18 hours. Caution: Make sure the jar you use has enough room for the rice to expand 2.5 – 3 times. No kidding, 16oz of wild rice will literally fill a half gallon jar by the next day, it swells so much.
Once the wild rice is bloomed, drain and rinse well. Your wild rice is ready to be used and transformed into a tasty creation!
Are you using an s blade in the food processor? For a full minute, wouldn’t that turn it in to flour?
I am very sorry for the late response. Life took me away from my blog this year, and I wasn’t able to be on top of checking the comments I receive.
You probably don’t need this answered by now, but wild rice is quite a hard seed, so it won’t turn into flour at all even with the use of the S blade. That’s why this method helps the soaking process that comes later. It scores the tough outer surface so that the water can penetrate better.
Once again, my deepest apologies for the delayed response.
Hi there, is there certain kind of food processor blade that is necessary to do the scoring? When i put wild rice in my food processor for a minute, everything gets ground into powder.
Sherry already commented that when she followed your instructions , her wild rice was ground into a powder!!
You did not address her reply…
Do you have a solution? I really don’t want to waste my wild rice. The Health food store does not sell wild rice…cheaply priced!!
Perhaps Sherry’s wild rice had been pre-treated. Did you inquire about that?
P.S. I am anxiously awaiting your reply
Perhaps Sherry did not put a sufficient amount of wild rice in her food processor & 1 minute was too long!
Personally, I would have started with a shorter time. One can always continue if that time was insufficient, right?!
It all depends on how old the rice is…
Thank you for pointing out Sherry’s question. I had another question about wild rice from someone else at the time and got it mixed up and mis-read Sherry’s and didn’t address the issue. I completely somehow missed that hers turned into flour. I just realized that so thank you so much for bringing it into my attention.
My recipes for wild rice dishes usually use half a pound of rice, so I think the issue is probably the amount in use. I never had an issue with this amount. If the amount in use is a much smaller amount, it’ll probably turn into flour if your food processor is a good one. So I would not recommend trying this method in small batches for the full minute. I would also just watch it while you are processing like you said. I would stop in between, and check the rice. Make sure all of the rice isn’t breaking into small bits overall. You will see some broken rice from processing, but most of them should fairly keep its size. If it seems fine, you can do the full minute, because if you cut it too short in time when it can take the processing, you can underscore it and it won’t absorb the water as well.
Hope this helps and thank you for reading me blog.
I realized in my previous response I misread your post and my response was off from what you were asking. I’m so sorry, I just re-read it and realized that. I think it may be because of the amount you are using may be a bit too little. May I ask how much you are using in the food processor. My recipes usually use half a pound of wild rice. For that amount, I never had a problem in my experience, so I am guessing you may be using too little and the S blade may be too overpowering for a small amount. Once again, I apologize for the misunderstanding your question!
Wild rice is not raw. It is toasted over heat as part of the harvesting process.
Thank you for your comment.
Store bought ones generally are, but you can purchase wild rice that is heated under 118F, which will be considered raw, from an ebay seller.
Why not wash the wild rice at the beginning and not after it is scored.?
That way you can preserve the bran and the nutrients
Thank you for your comment.
If you wash the rice before scoring, the food processor will not be able to score them as well, compared to when scored dry.
Also, after scoring, you are left with quite a bit of black bran powder. So much so that the water is pitch black when you wash it.
So it’ll make better dishes if you wash the rice after scoring, so that the dish you make doesn’t become soot color.
You also need to soak the rice after scoring, then rinse afterwards, so you have to wash the rice after scoring regardless.
Please let me know if you have any other questions. Thank you!
Nancy McDonald Lowe
Would a about a minute pulsing in a high speed blender at high speed work just as well for promoting blooming?
Thank you for your comment.
I have never tried it with a high speed blender, so I cannot say for certain, but the base of the blender is much smaller than the food processor, so it may have a harder time scoring it evenly. I suspect it may end up pulverizing the rice at the bottom instead, so I do recommend the use of food processor over a blender.
Let me know if you have any other questions. Thank you!
Nancy McDonald Lowe
Would a about a minute pulsing in a high speed blender at high speed work just as well for promoting blooming? This is the first time I have ever been here or commented here.