October 16, 2008

Benja Krayatip Rice with greens, tomatoes and cashews

One of my husband's graduate students from China gave him a gift of a muslin bag filled with many different colors of rice. It came with a folder, mostly in Thai, with a English description of the rice, cooking instructions and a note that the rice was recommended for "diabetic people, weight control people and aged people." With a description like that, how could I lose? The bag contained Thai brown glutinous rice, Thai hom mali rice, Thai brown hom mali rice, Kam Doi Muzer rice, red hom mali rice and hom kurlap rice. Much to my surprise, when I googled the name Benja Krayatip rice, I found information about how the rice is grown. Here is what I found:

Queen Sirikat promotes and directs the production of Benja Krayatip Rice on a Model Farm in Baan Yang Noi, Khuengnai District, Ubon Ratchathani Province, Thailand.
Benja Krayatip Rice

Benja Krayatip Rice is a perfect mix of 6 Thai rices. Grown under the auspices of the Thai Royal Family, in rice fields maintained according to strict Royal standards, this special blend of rice is selected, grown and harvested in the greenest possible way. Only natural pesticides ( a solution of marigold and black sugar cane) are used and in the actual planting process only the power of the water buffalo hand plow and strength of native farmers is used. No machinery of any kind is used in or near the rice paddy fields. The rice is then harvested by hand so no rice is damaged, and subsequently sorted using a computer camera laser method. This ensures that only the perfect rice grains are selected packed and shipped.

With this Royal project, the goal of the Royal family is to ensure that the rice is grown in the “greenest” possible way, minimizing the chances of contamination from oil-based machinery and using only “natural” pesticides. Lastly, in keeping with their ecological approach to farming, the rice is “fair – traded”.

So, apparently this is no ordinary rice. One of my sons said he has seen similar rice in Asian grocery stores, and if you can find it, I highly recommend it. This bag was purchased in the Beijing airport. I was going to label this post, "leftover rice," because that's what it was, but after uncovering this information, I decided to upgrade the title. I cooked the rice in my rice cooker and it cooked up perfectly and tasted delicious. I had a lot leftover so I used it in a stir fry the next day. For this stir fry, I kept the ingredients separate as I cooked them. Along with the rice I used beet greens and cippolini onion from our CSA, tomatoes from our garden and raw cashews.

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