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What rice goes with gumbo

I'm making chicken, sausage and shrimp gumbo for a dinner party. What kind of rice shall I use to go with it? I like basmati and jasmine, I sure want the rice to be good, any ideas?

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  1. Texas basmati is best, though jasmine is ok. Just make sure it is white rice. Only white.

    1. Uncle Ben's...That's what I use for jambalaya.

      1. I have to agree with chilidude, Uncle Ben's or other converted rice is what they use in NO. You might like basmati or jasmine better, but to be authentic, it has to be UB's.

        8 Replies
        1. re: hankstramm

          I third the motion. To be authentic, it has
          to be long-grain rice. But there's nothing
          wrong with experimentaton. You could take
          the usual jambalaya ingredients and make
          a very good stir-fry.

          1. re: mpalmer6c

            Basmati is long grain white rice. It would go just fine.

            1. re: RGC1982

              i'd never use basmati. it is far too delicate to stand up to the other ingredients, even if only in a strictly physical sense.

          2. re: hankstramm

            I grew up there, and "they" in New Orleans do not use converted rice, as a rule. In fact, I did not use, and was never served converted rice in anyone's home in NO during the 30+ years I lived there. Paul Prudhomme, who did a lot to popularize New Orleans cooking, recommended converted rice for gumbo and other dishes, but that doesn't make it authentic. And it doesn't make converted rice taste good. It looks like rice, but it tastes like pretty much nothing at all.

            Any long grain rice is fine, including basmati. Jasmine rice is a bit too glutinous for jambalaya, but it will do fine in gumbo if you don't overcook it (you want the rice kernels to be fully cooked and firm but not mushy). Long grain rices are just more forgiving in that respect.

            1. re: Zeldog

              basmati you've tried? it is a fragile rice, not *just* a long-grain rice. it is too fragile to stand up to gumbo. it'd break down to mush.

              1. re: alkapal

                I'm not sure what you mean by stand up to gumbo. The rice is never cooked in the gumbo (at least it shouldn't be). You cook it separately to the texture you desire and add to the gumbo just before serving, or let your guests add it at the table, or serve it on the side. The only way it turns to mush is if you cook it to mush in the first place. I don't know if basmati is fragile, but it doesn't turn to mush when I eat it with curry, and it doesn't turn to mush when I eat it with gumbo.

                1. re: Zeldog

                  you're right. zeldog.
                  gumbo *over* rice. (i *was* thinking of jambalaya)
                  to me, who eats and cooks a lot of basmati, basmati is just not the flavor i think of with gumbo.
                  anyhow, gumbo is good even without rice (which takes up tummy space).

                  1. re: alkapal

                    And for the record, basmati works just fine in jambalaya, too (I speak from experience). Jambalaya requires no more vigorous cooking than a biryani!

          3. If it's authentic you want, go with plain, long grain rice, cooked fully but on the dry side (so the kernels fall apart when you touch them with a fork). Using the highly aromatic breeds is not a traditional choice, since they are not widely cultivated here, but I wouldn't be totally averse if that's what you've got in the cabinet... your gumbo will overwhelm all but the most fragrant cultivars. Short and medium grain varieties should be avoided, as they tend to go mushy after a few minutes in the bowl.

            For the love of all that is holy, leave the parboiled stuff on the shelf; it is an abomination. (De gustibus non est disputandum).

            35 Replies
            1. re: foodmuse

              Thanks, everyone. I agree, I would NEVER buy parboiled rice! Now I have to figure out if the Japanese rice my daughter makes in her rice cooker is a long grain rice, I thought I'd ask her to make it but I'll make uncle ben's . I hope I can make it so it is on the dry side. Any hints? Shall I borrow her rice cooker to do Uncle Ben? Thanks!

              1. re: knitterbetty

                FWIW, the Japanese rice that I make in my rice cooker is most definitely short grain rice. The whole reason I like it is because it stays sorta moist. I have made long grain rice in the rice cooker and it's much drier.

                By the way, I would love to see how you make the gumbo. Do you have a recipe that you'd like to share?

                1. re: valerie

                  I found the recipe at epicurious.dom when I typed in gumbo. First page there's a chicken, ( boneless cutup thighs)Sausage and shrimp recipe. Uses a roux but adds tomatoes. 28 raving reviews, I hope it works.

                  1. re: knitterbetty

                    Why not parboiled rice? It is a very old tradition in Babladesh, and parts of India and Pakistan. Unhusked rice is parboiled, driving carp nutrients into the grain. The rice is redried and milled. It is more nutritious and has a nuttier flavor than the same long grained rice that is not parboiled. Parboiled does NOT have to be Uncle Ben's.

                    Japanese rice is medium to short grained and slightly sticky.

                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                      Sam I've eaten a lot of rice but find parboiled has less flavor than plain white rice. Parboiled doesn't get sticky and is good in large rice dishes because it will stay nice with individual grains even if over cooked.

                      1. re: scubadoo97

                        I don't understand all the parboiled rice hate. Does it mean something different in the US? It's very traditional in South India and all the varieties I have ever had have had a distinct and delicious flavour. And it's good for you.

                        1. re: Muchlove

                          It may simply be Uncle Ben hate. It's pretty much the only brand of converted rice readily available in the US. It really is quite bland. If you live in India and can't find it, that might be the reason.

                    2. re: knitterbetty

                      Pour l'amour de Dieu, knitter, don't ruin your gumbo with Uncle Ben's. Long grain is fine, medium grain is better. Now if you REALLY want to aspire to wanna-be cajun status, put some potato salad in that gumbo bowl. Yes, potato salad, along with the rice.

                      1. re: Hungry Celeste

                        I'm so glad you mentioned potato salad, I've read about that. I'm confused. Do people put rice in the bowl and add the gumbo and THEN the salad? I can't imagine it. What's the sequence? Doesn't it taste odd? Try as I may, I just can conjure up the idea of all those three things together!

                        1. re: knitterbetty

                          Yes, we do. The trick is to not use too much rice in the first place, and then not let the potato salad get all mixed into the gumbo. Take your spoon, get a little bit of potato salad on the end, then fill the spoon with gumbo (including a bit of rice). Starchy? Maybe....

                          My mom also used to put whole (peeled) hard boiled eggs in the gumbo, sometimes.

                          1. re: rudeboy

                            Some folks like the potato salad plopped into the bowl in lieu of rice, others want the scoop of potato salad parked on the rim of the soup plate above the liquid. In whatever combination, potato salad is de rigeur as a side dish for gumbo, all over south Louisiana. Typically, it is a simple, slightly creamy potato salad, made with potatoes, chopped hardboiled eggs, mayo, and mustard. Various levels of crunchy stuff are included (pickle relish, chopped celery, chopped onions, parsley, green onions, crumbled cooked bacon, and so on). Almost always, the potato salad is made while the potatoes are still warm, resulting in a creamy, pasty salad.

                            1. re: Hungry Celeste

                              Ha! It's so funny to read this. Growing up in Opelousas (where we used medium-grain rice for the gumbo, btw), potato salad was always served on gumbo day in the school cafeteria, but you had to combine them on your own. In Baton Rouge (in more recent years), the school cafeteria still made gumbo from "scratch" (probably used the roux-in-a-jar, but otherwise...) but no one had ever heard of the potato salad mix. However, they did serve watermelon slices already pre-salted.

                              1. re: RosemaryHoney

                                >>"they did serve watermelon slices already pre-salted."<<

                                nice touch! (i can't wait for summer watermelon!).

                          2. re: knitterbetty

                            The "potato salad in gumbo" thing is very strange to "outsiders" because you almost NEVER see it in restaurants.
                            The problem is probably that the potato salad has to be fresh and still warm. The health department would have a hissy fit. It's not hot; it's not cold. Restaurants would be making it fresh all day long to serve it at just about room temperature or barely cooled off.
                            If you dumped cold potato salad in your gumbo, it would cool it off too quickly.

                            We always serve gumbo in soup "plates" with the potato salad in a serving bowl so people who want it can perch a scoop on the side - on the rim. Most of us eat it with both rice and potato salad.
                            The other insider custom rarely seen in restaurants is serving beans (usually white beans) with jambalaya in some parts of the Bayous. If you don't offer the beans, you WILL get complaints.
                            As rudeboy says, it may be "starchy" but most of Cajun food was "making do" with what you had. We weren't wealthy by a long stretch. Thank God we had great cooks who could make it taste wonderful and the traditions have endured.

                            1. re: MakingSense

                              FYI - I've got a work assignment in Lake Charles, and I've been to two restaurants that ask if you want the potato salad. Joy!

                              About the rice, we grew up eating whatever. I "converted" to Uncle Ben's in my 20s when I moved away. No, I primarily use Texmati jasmine rice - I like the way the grains hold together ever so slightly while serving, then break apart in the gumbo. Their version isn't too "perfumey," but if it was, you'd never taste that behing my gumbo.

                            1. re: Hungry Celeste

                              damn right about the potato salad, but it goes on the side. Well that's what my Baton Rouge friend taught me.

                          3. re: foodmuse

                            I usually have 7-8 different types of rice in my home: jasmine, basmati, arborio, carnaroli, bomba paella, long grain, wild rice (not really rice), and plain brown rice. Nonetheless, when I make New Orleans style cuisine, I use Uncle Ben or other converted rice, since that is what they use there. I'm not too pretentious to use ingredients that aren't exotic or processed when they are called for. 99% of people in NO buy their roux in a bottle, if I was there, I would too.

                            If you want an authentic gumbo use UB. Like I said before, one might appreciate basmati in it and it might even be tastier, but if you want to do it like they do.....

                            1. re: hankstramm

                              There is absolutely NOTHING authentic about Uncle Ben's parboiled cardboard rice! Medium grain rules in Acadiana.

                              1. re: hankstramm

                                Uncle Ben would have filed for bankruptcy long ago if he had been depending on the good cooks of Louisiana. Yeah, lazy ones and some restaurants might use that stuff but not the regulars. That stuff is awful.
                                The most popular brands are Mahatma and Water-Maid and I can still hear the radio jingles in my ears after all these years. Or people just pick up bags of store brand rice.
                                To most of us, a day without rice is a day without sunshine.
                                In the city of New Orleans, long grain is king while medium grain is more common in Cajun country. NEVER the "perfumed" rices although we grow quite a number of them in Louisiana which even exports rice to Asia.

                                And NO, we don't do NOT buy roux in a bottle. That is a niche product that few people purchase. Most groceries don't even carry it.

                                1. re: MakingSense

                                  I beg to differ on the roux-in-a-jar. No less than seven different kinds of premade roux (diff brands, as well as varieties: light, dark, dry flour, powdered/instant, extra dark, "old-fashioned", etc.) are sold at my local Wal-Mart.....if they weren't selling steadily, Wallyworld would certainly drop the products. At the local Winn Dixie, four or five kinds are offered. I think that premade rouxs are pretty widely used across Acadiana, though certainly not the "rule".

                                  1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                    roux in a jar? Now I have heard it all. :-)

                                    What fun is making gumbo if you are not making a roux from scratch stirring it for 45 minutes to an hour to get it dark brown?

                                    1. re: swsidejim

                                      A long series of discussion & replies exists over at egullet on this very topic. Here's my position: beaucoup things in my native cuisine are roux-based, including lots of dishes I'd cook for an ordinary weeknight supper (such as petits pois or baby limas in a roux, routee des patates, crab stew, chicken fricassee, etc). The convenience of prepared roux means that traditional cooks can make their favorite dishes just a little faster: I'm talking about folks who aren't cooking for "fun" or as a special project, but cranking out family favorites for a hungry bunch every day of the week. Why wouldn't they use roux in a jar? An etouffee or gumbo isn't "special" to them, it is every day cooking....after 10,000 rouxs, it doesn't feel like culinary magic to some...just like work.

                                      1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                        interesting take.

                                        I never have thought of cooking as work, even when it was my job. :-)

                                        The dishes you mention are not special in my house, but weekly menu items. In the past month I have made pork and sausage jambalaya, shrimp creole, crawfish etouffe, and a gumbo. All on the weeekends when I have time to get the proper ingredients, and time to invest in the cooking process.

                                        I will always prefer something I make at home vs something in a jar. Especailly something as important in cajun/creole cooking as the roux.

                                        different strokes I guess.

                                        1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                          Well, when you have a baby, get home at 5:30, and want something with a dark roux by 8, a jar is the way to go. Here in Austin, there's no decent ones available. I used to stock up on a particular brand that I got from Pt Arthur, but I can't remember the name. For that particular jar, I couldn't tell that much of a difference from my own prepared roux.

                                          Several of the brands are ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE, though!

                                          1. re: rudeboy

                                            gotcha' beat.. toddler at home(terrible 2's), leave the house @ 6:00 a.m., and dont get home until 6:00 p.m. on work nights :-)

                                            I go to the local cajun spot(a good ol' boy from Louisiana runs it, and makes weekly trips down to Louisiana for product) for dinner on those nights if I need a cajun fix. Otherwise its leftovers from the weekend. No way I'm cooking dinner until 8:00 p.m. on a work night.

                                        2. re: Hungry Celeste

                                          That is SOOO funny, Celeste. Only in Louisiana would there be THAT many varieties of roux!
                                          The last few times I was in grocery stores in NOLA and on the North Shore, even in Sam's Club, there were a few pitiful small bottles of the stuff and we mocked their high prices. They wouldn't last me a week!
                                          I don't blame anybody for buying it. Some people have a hard time with roux and that phone always rings at just the wrong time!

                                          I guess I never paid much attention because I've been making my own Magic Roux Powder for so many years that I haven't given it a thought. I rarely begin a roux from scratch. Why bother?
                                          I toast up 5 pounds of flour at a time to a nice pecan color and finish it up in hot oil (of my choosing for whatever I'm making) in minutes.
                                          It even works to thicken stews and gumbos with a fraction of the fat. Nice for diet time. A low-fat roux?

                                          1. re: MakingSense

                                            Where do your store your Magic Roux Powder ? And what exactly is the receipt if you don't mind telling. I love Roux but have been afraid to try to make it.

                                            1. re: gpwood

                                              Magic Roux:

                                              2 cups flour
                                              1 baking sheet with raised edges
                                              1 wooden spoon or spatula
                                              1 oven set at 350F

                                              Pour the flour onto the baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes - 2 hours depending on how dark you like it, stirring every 15 minutes. Remember, it will darken about 2-3 shades when you mix it with your oil so don't go much past medium brunette. :)

                                              Store in a plastic or glass container tightly lidded in the fridge. Keeps forever.

                                              To make a roux, combine appropriate quantities of magic roux flour with melted butter or oil. Proceed as your recipe instructs.

                                    2. re: foodmuse

                                      I agree. I've spent a great deal of time there and my in-laws all use regular long grain rice. My MIL cooked it like pasta and drained it. It cannot be a mushy rice. My husband and I love jasmine rice and we use that with gumbo too. I've never used converted rice or seen it used by my people here or in NOLA - it's a big city, I'm sure lots of people use it there.

                                      1. re: bayoucook

                                        LSU has decided to get into the jasmine rice market and they have come up with something called Jazzman rice which, I am told, is grown around Lafayette (well, of course..where else?) I am partial to Doguet brand medium grain myself although you can't find it east of Lafayette(it is a Cajun family that went to Texas to grow the stuff). they also have a good bottled roux.

                                        1. re: hazelhurst

                                          I'll look into that. Every time we go to New Orleans we go to the local grocer - can't think of the name - Russo's? They have several of them around the city. I stock up there, and at Whole Foods. I do so wish we could get a Whole Foods or a Trader Joe's or some super-nice grocery here on the MS coast - maybe eventually....

                                          1. re: bayoucook

                                            No, I think it starts with a "D". Where is my brain!?

                                    3. Emirl's recommendation is "medium grain enriched rice" for true cajun authenticity. It's hard to find and there is a difference in taste over long grain, it's got a nuttier flavor and it's got a bit more crunch to it. I use "Cajun Country" produced by Falcon Rice Mill, Inc. in Crowley, Louisiana, 70526.

                                      25 Replies
                                      1. re: Grillncook

                                        For once, I'm in complete agreement with Emeril. The hardcore cajun traditionalist's choice is medium-grain, cooked so that it will hold the shape of a scoop, yet still break apart into individual grains.

                                        Lazy restaurants (in and outside of Louisiana) use converted rice because it is easy. It is also terrible....the cardboard-y individual grains float apart in your gumbo, with no exterior starchiness to hold the "juice". And don't even get me started on using converted rice in jambalaya!

                                        Plain long-grain is fine, too, but you want to cook it slightly on the starchy side. You're not aiming for grain separation here. I grew up on Mahatma and Water-Maid, two widely distributed long and medium grain brands. If you can get your hands on LA-grown medium grain, it's a great choice.

                                        1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                          Oh my goodness, am I supposed to cook it so it's a bit sticky? I thought my goal was to have grain separation. Never having been to NO, I am completely gumbo ignorant. Help! What exactly do you mean about holding the shape of a scoop? Do you mean when you scoop it , it does't fall off the spoon? Thanks~

                                          1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                            I cure & smoke my own tasso ham and make my own andouille; nevertheless, I use Paul Prudhome's Louisana Kitchen cookbook, and he recommends converted rice. Lazy, he might be, but I'm not the type to make changes to things that work well. I've noticed here where I live in SF, people will be against anything commercial. Hey, you might not like Uncle Ben's, but everything PP has recommended to me in his cookbooks works just fine. I'm just wondering, is that what he means when he says converted? Is there some ,"have to know the secret Acadian handshake" rice out there. BTW, I've had so many people praise my (PP's with my ham) jambalaya . Definitely better than anything I've tried on the West Coast --actually many have told me better than they had in NO as well.

                                            1. re: hankstramm

                                              Converted rice is parboiled; it cooks (for the second time, when you prepare it)into distinctive, separate grains. There's nothing "wrong" with it; it is very forgiving, almost impossible to overcook into mush, and resists breakage. On the other hand, to those of us raised on medium grain or soft-cooked long grain, it is hard & cardboardy. When used in a dish like jambalaya, the individual grains are separate & loose....not the preferred texture for many home cooks in Acadiana.

                                              Competition jambalaya cooks (the folks who cook outdoors in 5 to 45 gallon cast iron pots) & restaurants often use converted rice for jambayala: as I said earlier, it is more forgiving.

                                              As a broad generalization, jambalaya isn't really restaurant food....it's solid home cooking. It is quite hard to find a decent jambalaya in any NOLA restaurant!

                                              1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                                Thanks for the info--I'm actually going to reheat some of mine from Sunday for lunch.

                                              2. re: hankstramm

                                                Hankstramm, I think folks are praising your tasso and andouille.

                                              3. re: Hungry Celeste

                                                I use medium grain rice but the stuff I use is Japanese (the brand is Kokuho Rose). And it works very well in Gumbos and Etouffes. Just don't use too much of it. Also, the hardcore cajuns will lash me for this, but I make my roux in the oven. (ducks to avoid rocks and other flying debris) It is next to impossible to mess up (provided you know your oven well and know the times required for each different type of roux for the amount you are cooking). It's the only way I can make a brick red roux without burning it (I'd have black bits if I tried to make a red in an iron skillet). The japanese rice is a little tacky but individual grains still separate when you serve and eat it.

                                                1. re: Cremon

                                                  Why not Buy American? The US is a major rice grower and exporter. Japan is the US's largest market for both medium and short grain milled rice, predominantly from California.
                                                  We grow high quality rice that is exported world wide, only limited because our production costs are higher than in our main competitor countries - Thailand, Vietnam, and China.
                                                  Rice was one of the first crops grown in the Colonies, as early as the late 1600s in the Carolinas and Georgia. It was the basis of the early economy.

                                                  Make your roux in the oven. No problem. Did you know that if you make a big batch that you can store it in a jar in the fridge and it keeps a very long time? Always ready when you are!

                                                  1. re: MakingSense

                                                    Kokuho Rose is grown in California. It is called Japanese medium grain rice because the Japonica breeds originated in Japan.

                                                    And contrary to what you said, Not only is Japan NOT the largest market for US rice, it's not a market for rice at all. Japan does not import or (until very recently) export rice. All rice grown in Japan has been consumed there until very recently.

                                                    And thank you for the tip on storing roux in the fridge. I was not aware you could do that! I worry that larger amounts will require more time in the oven though. But it's worth playing with. I guess as long as there's no water in the roux, it should be ok in the fridge right?

                                                    1. re: Cremon

                                                      Japan is a major market for US rice. #1 or #2 in 2003 and 2004.
                                                      Top 10 US Rice export destinations. http://www.plantsciences.ucdavis.edu/...
                                                      They started importing US rice in 1993, and by 2008, Japan was given permission by the WTO to re-export rice from the stockpiles of imported rice that they had accumulated when Vietnam, China, and Thailand stopped exporting due to poor harvests.

                                                      1. re: MakingSense

                                                        Anything they import from us either gets warehouse or re-exported. Their tariffs are so high, American rice would be five times the price of domestic rice. It is impossible to sell foreign rice to end consumers in Japan for that reason. When I was there 2 years ago, I could not find US rice anywhere and when I asked, I learned about the prefecture subsidy of local rice growers and the crippling tariffs any foreign exporters would have to pay. So those exports you show there are probably re-exported unless those are specialty rices like forbidden rice or American wild rice (grown and harvested by native americans). Because you cannot buy American grown white rice in Japan - I know - I've tried.

                                                        And regarding Japanese exports - they warehouse over a million tons of rice there in case of a disaster. Recently they exported a lot of their stockpiles to the Phillippines when that country appealed to them after their own harvests were poor in 2008 (they shipped them 200,000 tons). It is possible IF they imported white rice from us - that it was in that stockpile and exported. But their people do not have the option to consume US grown rice.

                                                  2. re: Cremon

                                                    a korean-american friend uses kokuho rose to make sushi rolls. i thought it is a bit sticky for gumbo. i like a drier medium-grain for gumbo myself.

                                                    making sense, do you have a brand to recommend, please?

                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                      Kokohu Rose will be sticky if you use it for sushi because of the addition of sugar and vinegar. It's a medium grain rice so the kernels will stick together more than they would in a long grain. I love medium grain rice but if you prefer a drier rice, I would go with Carolina long grain (Mahatma brand rice is Carolina long grain - an Indica rice cultivar brought to the United States from Madagascar in 1694 and popular in the south ever since). It's drier and less sticky than medium grains and might be more to your liking, Alkapal.

                                                      1. re: Cremon

                                                        """Kokohu Rose will be sticky if you use it for sushi because of the addition of sugar and vinegar."""

                                                        cremon, since i don't know you but you are a fellow southerner, i'm gonna let that one slide......

                                                        let's just say, i know that some rices are inherently sticky. i think sam identified the chemical reason: low amylose.

                                                        but i'll bet *EVERYONE* on chowhound (except sam, who probably wrote it) will learn from this article on rice: http://www.sagevfoods.com/MainPages/R...
                                                        for example, about calrose (california medium grain rice variety) rice: "Medium grain rice is shorter and wider than long grain rice. The kernels are two to three times longer than its width. The amylose content of California medium grain rice is about 18 percent, and so the rice tends to be a little on the softer side and is sticky. The kernels cling together."

                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                          Oh I agree with you that the medium grains will be stickier. But they are made stickier still by the process of making sushi rice. And yes, most medium grains have almost no Amylose. But long grain rices will be less sticky as I said. I don't know of any medium grain rices that aren't sticky at all. Bomba rice (used for paella) is LESS sticky than Kokuho Rose, Nishiki, or Botan but it is still stickier than any long grain rice.

                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                            By the way - I used Kokuho Rose last night to make a risotto with some native American wild rice (the type harvested by native Americans in Minnesota) and it was fantastic. I know Arborio medium grain is preferred for this but supposedly arborio is a Japonica cultivar.

                                                        2. re: alkapal

                                                          We've used Kokuho Rose (along with Koda Brothers and even CalRose) for sushi since the 1950s. The stickiness of such Japonicas comes from the low amylose content.

                                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                            sam, from something on another thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6186... , could you tell me if some medium grain rices used in an american chinese restaurant can be "rougher" than other medium grain rice? is it less (or not at all) "polished"?

                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                              chownut was just expressing the Chinese preference for separation of grains when cooked and served. All commercial polished rices are polished essentially to the same degree.

                                                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                well, not being a rice expert, i just know that the rice in question (a hong kong, cantonese place) is different from the rice at a nearby szechuan place. it appears drier and spikier, somehow. i need to make some photos, and invent a rice-o-meter!

                                                        3. re: Cremon

                                                          I sure would like to know more details about how to make roux in the oven. I like a mahogany roux, but also interested in the brick red roux.

                                                          1. re: LiveOak7

                                                            There are several ways to do it, here's mine.

                                                            On a sheet pan, spread out at least 2 cups of flour (depending on the size of your sheet pan). Bake in the oven at 350, stirring every 15 minutes, until it reaches almost the color you want.

                                                            Use the appropriate amount of your browned flour, combine with melted butter, or oil in your pot on the stove. Notice how it darkens a shade or two instantly. Roux is done. ;)

                                                            You can refrigerate the rest in an airtight container (I use a glass jar with lid) near to indefinitely.

                                                      2. re: Grillncook

                                                        I;m going to look for that. Maybe whole foods here in NJ. I was uneasy about their andouille sausage, it came from applegate farms, I wonder if some sausage vendors are better than others. Anyone know? I love the idea of a crunchy, nutty, rice,maybe it's not authentic NO but as long as it's yummy I shall be so happy. Ha!, maybe I should go with basmati if I can't find the medium grain. Decisions, Decisions!

                                                        1. re: knitterbetty

                                                          The quality of your smoked meat is a principal factor in the quality of your cajun cooking. I won't frown at your Applegate Farms stuff, as it is the essence of gumbo to use whatever you have on hand. But for a treat, you should get your hands on the real thing some time. Try mail-ordering from the Best Stop in Scott, LA or Wayne Jacobs in Laplace, LA

                                                          Wayne Jacob's Smokehouse & Restaurant
                                                          769 W 5th St, La Place, LA 70068

                                                          1. re: knitterbetty

                                                            You should be able to find medium grain rice. Most people never look for it.
                                                            An acceptable alternative is brown rice, rather than the fragrant rices.
                                                            Years ago, my father had me cook gumbo for him and some of his older relatives and just about time for them to arrive we realized we were out of white rice. All we had was brown. I thought he would have a fit but he told me to use it anyway.
                                                            The brown rice was a big hit.
                                                            Surprisingly, they all marveled that it was like the rice that they had grown up with in the country - in the 20s and 30s - before rice was as finely milled as it is today.
                                                            Daddy came to prefer the brown rice in his gumbo and even liked it for dirty rice. I sometimes make jambalaya with it too.
                                                            Just NO Uncle Ben's Celeste is right about that stuff tasting like cardboard.

                                                        2. I usually use long grain white enriched (Uncle Bens) but this past weekend I bought medium grain white enriched (store brand). They are certainly different, and I can't tell you which I like better. The Long Grain is "dryer" whereas the Medium Grain is stickier and held together in the middle of the bowl.

                                                          1. I use medium or long grain white rice. I wouldnt consider any other variety.

                                                            1. Not authentic, but as I was reaching for my usual bag of brown basmati rice at Trader Joe's, I noticed brown jasmine and decided to try it. I am very pleased - it doesn't clump and doesn't have as pronounced a "this is good for you, get over it" taste.

                                                              1. I always use whatever happens to be on sale at the grocery store. I buy the biggest bag they sell, which usually is long or medium grain, and always enriched (I lost a major battle with DH over that one, I was trying to save a few bucks, and he said we can ALWAYS afford to eat healthy) anyway, sorry for the ramble, but any American grown rice should be perfect. :)

                                                                I learned to make gumbo in Louisiana from a local, and she always bought the cheapest rice.

                                                                1. Louisiana popcorn rice is great.

                                                                  1. Mahatma long grain - free boiled like pasta and yes, you want it a bit overcooked to pull out the sarchiness which holds the liquor (liquids). Recently, I had made a rice dish for a sick neighbor and she later commented that she had never had such "moist" rice. In the past, she's always used Uncle Ben's. She's now a Mahatma convert.

                                                                    Off topic somewhat, Camillia beans (red and others) are the only bean that I've found which will produce a wonderful creamy liquor and bean texture. But I don't think they're sold in stores outside LA and southern MS and maybe SE TX?. I have my parents either ship them to me or bring several bags when they come to visit. There's an incredible difference between Camillia and what's available on local grocery store shelves.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: CocoaNut

                                                                      Am in total agreement about Camellia beans. They're heads and shoulders above other kidney beans if you're making red beans 'n' rice.

                                                                      I've been Googling online sources. Can't vouch for this place, but the prices seem reasonable:


                                                                    2. What a great thread.

                                                                      I've always used what I had in the house. Not brown though. I've tried brown in my "Healthy version" of jambalaya but with little success. It's not that easy to cook. I don't keep UB or Minute Rice in the house. Most often, it's Basmati


                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Davwud

                                                                        Basmati, but whatever white rice, preferably just regular, not fast cooking or minute, but I have used all. I'm not a purist, just a realist and sometimes have to roll with what you have. Don't have time for anything else :) But to admire those.

                                                                        1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                          Gumbo, jambalaya and other foods from that part of the US are about using what's available. So to be pure to the recipe, you use the rice you have available. Like I can't get Matahari rice (or whatever long grained rice is most widely used there) up here so I use what I have.


                                                                          1. re: Davwud

                                                                            I totally agree, use what you have or that is available. I love basmati, but hey, I have used them all.

                                                                      2. the originan madagascar rice that was originally grown in the rice plantations of south carolina and environs might likely be the original rice for gumbo. it's now only grown on one plantation there but can be ordered. it's a fragrant rice similar to basmati. http://www.carolinaplantationrice.com/

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: lil magill

                                                                          Traditional Malagasy rices - of which there are many - are not fragrant. The rices came with the people from what is now Indonesia. What is fun is that the languages in the Central Highlands have a lot of cognates with Bahasa Indonesia.

                                                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                            The rice plantations in south carolina grew rice from Madagascar -- Africa. The story goes that a ship came into port damaged from a hurricane and the captain paid for repairs by selling the cargo of rice. African slaves knew how to grow it by flooding the fields.... Now it's all grown in Arkansas, so I understand. The plantation rice I've had is very good!

                                                                            1. re: lil magill

                                                                              It was relatively rare to ship unmilled rice (to then use for seed) as a main cargo. Such rice spoiled, rotted, and was eaten by weevils. Plus shipping weight and volume was so much greater than milled. seed was shipped in relatively small quantities and with considerable care. I think that the International Rice Research Institute (where i used to work) has done some molecular marker testing to determine some of the origins of Carolina rice. My ex colleafge (at both IRRI and here at the Internaitonal Center for tropical Agriculture) did a lot of tracing of the Carolina rices - a lot of speculation included.

                                                                          2. re: lil magill

                                                                            Carolina Gold Rice is grown on several plantations, some of them organic. The rice is named in Slow Food's Ark of Taste as a Heritage Food.
                                                                            More information about the history of Carolina Gold:

                                                                            Great stuff, although pretty expensive.
                                                                            There are lots of other less expensive rices grown in the Carolinas, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, and Hawaii, although California probably grows the most by volume in the US.

                                                                          3. Okay y'all! We've gotta keep it REAL! Back in the day who heard about parboiled, basmati or jasmine rice?! If you'd probably asked anyone bout 'basmati rice' back then they'd thought you were calling them a dirty name. Our ancestors that created this wonderful dish that has passed the test of time used RICE. Gummy, you gotta soak and wash it first RICE. Most of us are old enough to remember momma or grandma washing and soaking rice til the water ran clear. They said it was to get out the bugs, bad rice grains, dirt and keep it from being too sticky. I'm talking about that cheap rice that comes in plastic bags for around 2 bucks for 5lbs. Or that type you scoop out of bins for yourself to buy by the pound. Keep it real people!

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Cookitbaby

                                                                              uh, yeah. did ya actually *read* the thread?

                                                                              just keepin' it real, bro'.

                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                uh, yeah. I did. Interesting history, especially having family from South Carolina that are rice lovin' Geeshes.

                                                                                it's all real, bro.

                                                                            2. What a great thread! Just goes to show that you cannot talk anybody out of anything. People like what they like. I did almost call my Aunt Ouida (yep, it's pronounced "wee-duh") about the Uncle Ben's to see if she'd heard of anybody using any of that stuff in Louisiana, but she's 90-something now and I didn't want to give the lady a stroke. For the record, I can get the usual (in our family) Mahatma long-grain here in Atlanta and use that, after rinsing until the water runs clear, just as a poster said. We never used more water than the rice could absorb, and the grains of Mama's rice were always separate and perfect, except...anybody lifting the lid of the rice pot would get in deep trouble because it ruined the timing on the rice. Rice was made every day. "Rice and gravy" was a staple - but I was proud I could make 14 kinds of gravy at age 12. If mama cooked potatoes Daddy said, "Where's the rice and gravy?" Gumbo was served over the rice, and the rice wasn't visible (even in restaurants). Some chef got the idea that the rice should go in last and be a nice white mound to show off the ugly brown gumbo. I never heard of the potato salad thing, but I did see New Orleans friends put sweet potatoes in the rice before pouring on the gumbo. I didn't like it.

                                                                              Things change, y'all. Off subject about changes: My friend's Cajun grandmother down in Donaldsonville was embarrassed when I asked her about her "raw" sugar in the sugar bowl. I had never seen it before and was just curious, but she quickly got out her white sugar. Then I was embarrassed; only asked because I was interested. In those days, Cajuns could get the imperfectly refined raw sugar at a discount at the local sugar cane producer. There was no "blackened" anything. Paul Prudhomme invented it later. People in the city were embarrassed to be "Cajun" and valued "Creole" cooking. I could go on about other changes in Louisiana. My friends back home keep me somewhat apprised of new stuff going on, but they neglected to mention a lot of the new stuff y'all informed me of in this post. Thanks. A little lagniappe (something good, and extra) for anyone interested:

                                                                              Mama makes roux in the oven now (she's only 80). I haven't told her I make my roux in the microwave. It's in Tony Chachere's microwave cookbook (I have the 1989 edition when microwaves weren't so powerful, so watch the timing). Be careful! Stop and stir often.
                                                                              Small Roux
                                                                              1/2 c flour
                                                                              1/2 c oil
                                                                              1 c chopped onions
                                                                              1/2 c chopped celery
                                                                              1/2 c chopped bell pepper
                                                                              2 cloves garlic, chopped (I wait til later to add it)
                                                                              In 4-c glass measure, combine flour and oil. Mix well. Microwv on High for 6 minutes, or until as dark as desired. (Stir when there are 2 minutes left on the timer, when there is 1 minute left, and when there are 30 seconds left on the timer.
                                                                              Stir when the timer counts to zero. If this is not dark enough for you, continue to microwave on High for 30 seconds. Add veg and mix well. Microwave on High for 5 to 5 minutes or until soft but not brown. There's a "Large Roux" recipe, too.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: sancan

                                                                                Wow!! Thank you so much for this tip!! I used to make roux in an iron skillet and thought I was a 30th century pioneer when I started making it in the oven using Alton Brown's recipe which took about 45-50 minutes.

                                                                                A roux in 6 minutes. Holy jeezus. Say it ain't so!!

                                                                              2. I don't think there is an answer unless you count the answer as the one you like. UB is the most popular and it will give you a very solid result. I use it in Jambalaya and gumbo. But I also use jasmine, basmati and short grain varieties as well.

                                                                                Got with one you like. My recommendation would be UB. Grains come out separate and fairly nutural in flavor so it is a great tempering component to a hot(spicy) gumbo. I like mine really spicy, even before i add the hot sauce.

                                                                                1. Cajun food is poverty food. If you want realistic Cajun taste, they would use long grain white. They wouldn't use basmati. They wouldn't use jasmine or any other fancy rice.

                                                                                  If you want to use a specific rice because you like that rice, that's fine. You are the one eating the gumbo.

                                                                                  1. Basmati is nice, but Canila rice is nicer. I have a preference for a real starchy white rice with my gumbo. IMHO, Basmati is not "strong" enough.

                                                                                    1. Long grain white, I usually use basmati since I always have it on hand. I refuse to use converted.

                                                                                      1. Well your question is now 2 years old, but I will respond for the future needs of Chowhounds:
                                                                                        I prefer Creole Rose white rice to all other rices for my gumbo.
                                                                                        Suggested creole method is to do it like pasta, no measured amt of water,
                                                                                        but gently boil the rice with lots of water until done.
                                                                                        When done, drain rice in a colandar, then place in a vessel and bake it in the oven
                                                                                        without a lid for 15 minutes @ 350 degrees.
                                                                                        Voila! Perfection.

                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: VenusCafe

                                                                                          Is that a brand name?

                                                                                          I have noted a HUGE number of people here in the south will use parboiled rices like Uncle Ben's etc. I will not slight those people. I prefer steaming rice using a rice cooker and starting with fresh (non pre-cooked) rice. But people here have been using parboiled rices for decades so that obviously works too. It also saves time, I am sure.

                                                                                          1. re: Cremon

                                                                                            Uncle Ben's converted or parboiled rice is NOT instant rice. It requires the same 20 minute cooking time that most white rice does.

                                                                                            The 'parboiling' takes place before the rice is pollished, and supposedly has the advantage of driving some of the nutrients from the bran into the grain. In my limited experience, what is distinctive is that the grains remain separate (no sticking like short grain rice), and do not split or fluff up like regular long grain rice. These might actually be desirable qualities when served with a stew like gumbo. And the lack of fragrance like basmati or jasmine shouldn't be a problem either, since the gumbo has enough flavor.

                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                              It's not instant rice, you are correct. But 20 minutes is a lot less than the 35-40 minutes it takes to cook non parboiled rice. And you are right on as to why it's used - the grains fluff up separate. The reason I use asian rices is because while they do stick together some (indeed an undesirable effect in American rices) they absorb sauces extremely well which is why they are appreciated in their countries of origin. I have had Cajun dishes served with both kinds of rice and like them both. But I personally prefer the un-parboiled varieties for the reason mentioned above.