Red rice: ‘Ain’t very little Spanish about it,’ claims Michael Twitty

Audria Easterly

In the American South, rice turns a collection of dishes into a food.  Michael Twitty is an African American Jewish author, culinary historian, and educator.  His personalized journey of self discovery resulted in the ground breaking function “The Cooking Gene.” In his most current book, he turns his notice to rice. Tomatoes, peppers, and onions are the trinity powering his favored crimson rice dish built by his Alabaman grandmother, a dish he describes as the closest thing of his which may well have roots. 

Purple Rice
Can make 4–6 servings

This recipe for the Lower Nation typical was influenced by the erudite Damon Lee Fowler, culinary historian and cookbook creator from Savannah and a keeper of previous southern culinary traditions. This tomato pilau is a person of the biggest dishes at any time to arise from the Low State and can be altered depending on your tastes. This recipe was revealed in Fowler’s The Savannah Cookbook, published in 2008 by Gibbs Smith, and is bundled below by permission.


  • 1/4 pound thick-cut bacon or salt pork, diced tiny
  • 1 medium onion, trimmed, break up lengthwise, peeled, and chopped
  • 1 medium eco-friendly bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped 1 cup long-grain rice, washed and drained
  • 2 cups Italian canned plum tomatoes, with their juice, chopped
  • 1 cup beef or rooster stock, do-it-yourself or retail store-acquired, or water
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt, ground cayenne pepper, and complete black pepper in a peppermill or Kitchen area Pepper (see recipe beneath)


-Place the bacon or salt pork in a Dutch oven and flip the heat to medium. Fry, uncovered, until finally the extra fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp. Spoon off all but 2 tablespoons of body fat.
-Increase the onion and bell pepper and sauté right up until translucent, about 5 minutes.
-Increase the rice and stir until finally it’s nicely coated and warmed, about 3 or 4 minutes. Incorporate the tomatoes with their juice, inventory, Worcestershire sauce, salt, cayenne, and a liberal grinding of pepper to style. Carry to a boil and stir, scraping any loose grains that are sticking to the pan.
-Loosely go over, minimize the warmth as reduced as attainable, and permit simmer for 25 minutes.
-Take out it from the warmth and permit to steam for 15 minutes ahead of serving.

Kitchen Pepper
Kitchen area pepper is an old-faculty spice mixture that was incredibly common in early American cooking, particularly in the coastal South. Though it usually takes its main cues from quatre épices, a spice combine of pepper, cloves, nutmeg, and ground ginger prevalent in French cooking, it also served to protect each medieval and Silk Highway flavors in southern foodways, as very well as the flavors of West Africa, exactly where indigenous and Center Jap spices had extended motivated the delicacies. This is my take on this traditional. It has the complexity of garam masala without quite the punch and heat.


  • Can make about 1⁄2 Cup
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper 1 tablespoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon floor allspice
  • 1 tablespoon floor cinnamon


-Combine the substances in a smaller bowl.
-Retail store in an airtight container in a cool, dry spot for up to six months.

Michael Twitty’s e book, “Rice,” is section of the Savor the South series. Image courtesy of College of North Carolina Press.

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