• Saturday, November 28, 2020

Recipe from Bhutan

Bhutanese Red Rice Pilaf
By , Associate Editor
October 2, 2019

Bhutan is one of those destinations where you really don’t know what it's like until you go. It’s known for its natural beauty, forest conservation, gross national happiness, culture, heritage, and of course, food. Red rice is typically crunchy and nutty, and it is one of the few rice varieties that grows in the Bhutanese highlands – which makes it a national delicacy. Different rices are imported from other southern regions, but red rice is Bhutan’s very own, and it is also a mother of many other rice varieties.

For this specific red rice recipe (courtesy of NPR), you can make it ahead, and reheat it later with some butter, to bring out the sheen in the rice grains. It pairs wonderfully with chicken stews, vegetable curries, and any vegetables.

Red Rice Pilaf


1 cup Bhutanese red rice
2 Tbsp. Unsalted butter
¼ cup Finely minced yellow onion or shallot
1½ cups Chicken stock (homemade or boxed, not from a bouillon cube), at room temperature or warmed
1 large Sprig fresh thyme
1 Bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Rinse the rice with cold water. Drain completely, shaking off any excess water.

2. In a large (about 3 quart) saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat until the foam subsides. Add the onion and cook until soft and transparent, 1-2 minutes, keeping the heat low so it won't brown.

3. Add the rice and stir to coat with the melted butter. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, over medium heat. The goal is to cook the rice for 1-2 minutes – not to toast it, but to have the hot butter adhere to the surface of the grains. When the rice begins to sound dry and scratchy, stir it.

4. Add the warm stock, thyme sprigs and bay leaf. If you're using an unsalted stock, add ½ teaspoon salt.

5. Cover and gently simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes. It's done when all the stock is absorbed and the grains of rice are tender, but still chewy. If you want the grains to be softer, add 1/3 cup more stock and cook for a few minutes longer.

6. Fluff the rice with a fork and remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed.

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