Tuesday, December 05, 2017

"Rice Beans" (Phaseolus vulgaris) with Madagascar Pink Rice (No Added Fat)

A few days ago, I found in a gourmet market an interesting looking thin bean called a "rice bean", also known as frijol arroz. It is quite small, like large rice grains, and cooks stovetop in just 20-25 minutes with 2" of water above the beans. The website description, however, suggests 30 minutes:

Rice Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) are related to the Kidney Bean. They have a mild flavor and firm texture. Grown in Idaho, these beans are 1/4" long and are pill-shaped, like a giant grain of rice. Their uniform ivory white color and unique shape make it hard to believe they're really beans. This quick cooking bean makes it ideal for dinners in a hurry, perfect for cold pasta and vegetable salads. Rice Beans are also great mixed with colored rices such as wild rice or Thai black sticky rice. There is no soaking required. Rinse beans well. Place in pot and cover with plenty of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain and serve. One cup dry yields 2 cups cooked.

How handy to have beans that cook so quickly! I was originally thinking of making a bean and rice dish but then thought I'd combine them and use the color contrasting Madagascar Pink rice. This rice cooks in 20m in a 1 part rice to 1 3/4 part water, but I usually go with a 1:2 ratio.

I had thought of making a vegan "cheese" sauce, as I have done in the past and described this past March, but I didn't have any cashews. I found an interesting potato and nutritional yeast based sauce recipe, but at that point I didn't have enough time to make it. I did sprinkle a few shreds of Daiya brand vegan "cheddar" on my daughter's portion. Here is what I did.

  • 1/3 cup "rice beans", well rinsed
  • 1/3 cup Madagascar Pink rice
  • Little less than 1/3 cup marinara sauce
  • Water: I tried having twice as much water in volume as rice, and three times as much as beans, so used 1 2/3 cup water
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1/4 t garlic powder 25m
  • 1/4 cup (or bit less) onion cut into 3/8" cubes
  1. I mixed everything but the onion in a pan, brought to a boil, and simmered for 25 minutes.
  2. I waited a few minutes, then quickly opened the pan, fluffed the rice, and sampled the dish; the beans were a bit too firm, so I added another 1/4 cup water and simmered for another 7 minutes.
  3. I mixed in the onion and served.
I also made some waterless broccoli by putting a little onion and then frozen broccoli florets in a large Saladmaster stock pan. I cooked, covered, till the vapor release started jiggling, then I reduced the heat so the jiggling mostly stopped and simmered for 15 minutes or so. I added a little salt, black sesame seed, and 2 cloves finely chopped garlic, stirred, and returned to low heat, covered, for just 2-3 more minutes.


I thought that the bean didn't have much flavor and was perhaps a bit undercooked. My wife and daughter seemed to very much like the dish; I thought it was interesting and can be improved.

Ideas for the future

I should have known better than to try a new ingredient like this bean immediately in combination. I should making these tiny beans again by themselves and cooking for a longer time, or maybe just go with pressure cooking as usual and try 1/4 to 1/3 the time, or about 10-12 minutes, without soaking. I would love to figure out how to both nicely cook with these beans and to find them more commonly.

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