Sunday, 11 October 2015

Red Cargo Rice Stuffed Aubergine

I was in the Fresh Market the other day to get some rice and thought I would try something new – Red Cargo rice. I have seen the product a few times lately, but when you have kids who love brown rice as much as ours do, change is not always welcome. Curiosity got the better of me and I bought some. I am so glad I did!

The red rice we have available in New Zealand is a non-glutinous long grain rice from Thailand and is similar to the Camargue Red rice from France. It is unpolished and only the husk is removed during milling, so it retains the red colour of the rice bran. It also retains all the goodness of the bran, so it is high in fibre, vitamin B and is a source of iron, too. It is nutty, sweet and a little chewier than we are generally used to, but so good to eat!

Instructions on the pack say that rice should be cooked in a rice cooker – fine if you have one and I don’t. I own a microwave and its only purpose is for cooking rice; it cooks rice perfectly. I had a couple of attempts at getting the red rice cooked properly in the microwave and here is how I did it: I first soaked 2 cups of Red Cargo rice in fresh water for 30 minutes to begin the softening process I drained the cold water and added 4 cups of boiling hot water. I cooked in a microwave bowl on high for 12 minutes, and then stirred and cooked for another 12 minutes. I allowed it to stand for 10 minutes before serving. To my surprise and delight, the kids liked it a lot. That night I served the red rice with peacock in a makhani sauce. The sweetness and texture of the rice added to what is already a delicious dish. Since then I have made Red Cargo rice stuffed aubergine and that is the dish I am sharing with you today.

To have a look at my other recipes, including my makhani sauce recipe, please go to

Kia makona,
Mawera Karetai – The Wild Cook

2 large aubergines
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic – grated or pressed
A good handful of pitted green olives, halved
1 capsicum – your choice of colour
A handful of fresh basil, half of it finely sliced
2 cups of cooked Red Cargo rice
Pepper and salt to taste

Cut the aubergines in half along the length. Using a paring knife, score a border around the inside of the aubergine where the flesh feels soft and scoop out the soft flesh, leaving a hollow for the filling. Place hollowed-out aubergine halves on a baking tray, cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes on 180 C.

While the aubergines are baking, heat some oil in a pan and onions and capsicum, cooking until soft. Add in garlic, olives, sliced basil and some pepper and salt to taste. Cook for two minutes, then add the cooked Red Cargo rice.

Remove aubergine from the oven and stuff with rice mixture. Return to the oven for 5 minutes.

Serve with some fresh basil and a light Italian-style vinaigrette made with 3/4c oil, 3 cloves of pressed or grated garlic, 1 tsp mustard, 1 tsp dried or 2 tsp fresh oregano and 1/4c red wine vinegar. Shake in a jar to combine.

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