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5
May

dimen-red rice 1 copy

I think I am addicted to travelling. I am not sure which I like most. The excitement of discovering new places and new foods? Or the fun of meeting new people who often become new best friends? Or just revisiting places and people that I love? I returned from China with plenty of great stories and memories and lots of new best friends including delightful Joanna Lee and Ken Smith who I met through an old best friend now, Rabih Alameddine. Joanna suggested we meet at the Hong Kong film festival press conference, a glitzy occasion where we became fleeting best friends with Miriam Yeung who had starred in the weirdest film ever, Dumplings, where she plays the role of a former TV star who eats dumplings made with feotuses in the search for eternal youth! Then we left her and the glamour of the film world to go to a wet market after which we hopped from one great place to the next, tasting all kinds of delicious things.

In the evening, we met up with the lovely Wai Kit Lee, who Joanna calls uncle and I do too now (it is a sign of respect with older people; please call me auntie from now on!), a retired publisher and businessman, who has started an extraordinary eco-museum in Dimen where his aim is to “foster the preservation, inheritance and development of indigenous cultures in their existing location…”. We immediately became new best friends. As we were having dinner, uncle told me about the red rice they grew in Dimen and how rare it was. Of course, I wanted to try it but there was no time for him to let me have some while we were in China. So, he sent me a huge bag with Joanna and Ken when they came to London.

dimen rice-close up of windon on rice copy

dimen rice-close up of prod details copy

The rice is a very old variety and a traditional breed from Dimen, a kind of long-grain rice that is less “sticky” than Italian or Spanish rice which are mostly short-grain. It is processed like “germ rice”, ie. they mill off about 30% of the rice bran and keep the rice germ. It needs a little more water than short grain rice, and it is better to soak it in the water you are going to cook it in for 1-2 hours before cooking it. You can cook it in a normal rice cooker or if you don’t have one, in a regular pan. Below is a close up of the grain. It is very different from the red Camargue rice — I can’t say if it tastes different as I don’t remember. All I remember is that the Camargue rice was very fashionable a few years ago, although I don’t believe it is an old variety. Quite the contrary.

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Here is a picture of the rice soaking in the pan and below it a picture of the rice cooked. As you can see, it does not expand that much but you can see the reddish tinge when it is cooked. And the water also turns pinkish as it comes to the boil.

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dimen-red rice-cooked copy

I had my first batch simply boiled and sprinkled with the most fabulous fried garlic that Joanna and Ken had also brought me from China. It came, packed in the most beautiful jars (just like the mooncakes; the Chinese are great at packaging), which are marketed by the seafood restaurant where we had dinner with uncle and where they make the most fabulous crab covered with tons of fried garlic, their own recipe. I bought one jar when we were there on Joanna’s and Ken’s advice but it didn’t last very long. So, you can imagine how thrilled I was to see Ken pull not one but two jars out of his bag to give me as a present when they came over for lunch. The first one is nearly finished. I guess I have to ration myself if I want the second jar to last for longer than two and a half minutes!

crab restaurant HK-fried garlic jar 2 copy

crab restaurant HK-crabs copy

This is what the fried garlic looks like served on the crabs we had at the restaurant and here is the address in case you happen to be in Hong Kong: Hee Kee restaurant — 379 Jaffe Road, Wanchai


There is 9 comments on this post


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    i havent visited your blog in a while, Anissa- this is such a lovely post. i love red rice- in fact i am buying some this weekend for a friend who has low iron levels- i have heard it helps. having it w fried garlic sounds so scrummy. x shayma


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    I never knew that rice came in so many different colours! How wonderful.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    welcome back shayma. do you mean you can buy this same rice in canada? must get onto selfridges and harvey nicholls to see if they will stock it. and must ask uncle how much they produce out there. you’d definitely love the fried garlic.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Go to Guizhou before the Dong, Miao cultures change forever. Such a beautiful little explored part of China, karst topography breathtaking, Dong, Miao traditional crafts of indigo dying, silversmithing….we spent a week there, hired a guide and driver and visited many out of the way villages…food is fabulous and spicey, traditional music and dance is alive…one of my favorite trips.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Oh, dear Aunty Anissa, that does look good. Especially just with the fried garlic… mmm!


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    it was. may have some for lunch tomorrow, and i love that you call me auntie 🙂


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Following instructions in your post – a sign of respect, you said. And respect, I have!


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    i like it 🙂

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