When I was in Austin over the Thanksgiving holiday, my sister and I had a chance to take a quick run down to Central Market, which is the local HEB grocery chain's answer to Whole Foods or, more accurately, to what Whole Foods used to be. Lots of unusual fruits and vegetables, lots of familiar and not-so-familiar imported goods, local artisanal breads and cheeses, and a large, healthy bulk section of legumes, grains, nuts spices - something that is an endangered species up here in Chicago.
We don't usually buy much; we're happy to go through the store aisle-by-aisle, sharing information on some of the things we've each tried, oohing and aahing over the things we've never seen, and dreaming about how much we would buy and cook with if we had all the time and money in the world.
And of course we both buy something. I usually find some nice unusual bean - this time it was a repeat of the Anasazi beans I bought last year and some flageolet beans which I have yet to decide how I want to cook.
And I bought some Himalayan Red Rice. I had never heard of it before, and there's not a whole lot of information on it (that a quick google search can yield, at least) out there. But it was such a beautiful rich red color that I knew it had to come home with me.
It cooks pretty much the same as brown rice in terms of time, but as you can see in the photo below it holds its shape quite nicely. It has a strong, nutty flavor and a firm texture. It was quite lovely with the Rocky Mountain Chili with Anasazi Beans (of which more later).
I haven't yet seen this here in Chicago, but then again I haven't been looking for it. I better get cracking - I only have enough left for one more batch.