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Stir-Fried Wild Rice with Mushrooms Recipe – Barbara Tropp – 50 Women Game Changers in Food

by Jeanette on January 13, 2012 · 25 Comments
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Stir-Fried Wild Rice with Mushrooms

Stir-Fried Wild Rice with Mushrooms

Over the past few years, I’ve tried to add more whole grains to my kids’ meals, including whole grain pasta, bread, hot breakfast cereal, muffins, cookies, whole grain pilafs and fried rice. For the most part, my kids are really good about eating whole grains, although they sometimes make comments about eating whole grain pasta. I think it’s the brown color and the texture that they don’t like, so I find Barilla’s Whole Grain Pasta and Plus Pasta are a nice happy compromise. I really can’t complain because my kids eat pretty much anything I put in front of them.

I experiment a lot and rarely does a week go by where I make the same thing for dinner. This blog has given me the perfect excuse to expand my cooking repertoire and introduce my family to dishes they have never eaten before. My kids have come to expect the unexpected at dinnertime. Of course they have their favorite standbys and I oblige their requests, but meals on many days are new and different.

The latest whole grain that I introduced my family to was wild rice, which is gluten-free. Wild rice is actually not rice at all, but the seed of a type of marsh grass. I happened to be cleaning out my pantry and found a small container of wild rice I bought a while back, so when I saw a recipe for Stir-Fried Wild Rice with Mushrooms in Barbara Tropp’s China Moon Cookbook, I thought it would be a nice dish to introduce this new whole grain to my kids. Although not an Asian recipe other than for the rice wine and the baby bok choy, I thought it might have just enough familiar ingredients to pass muster at dinnertime.

This recipe calls for cooked wild rice, so I decided to try cooking the wild rice in my rice cooker since I’ve been having success with other whole grains. I wasn’t quite sure what setting to use, so I selected the white rice setting, then let the wild rice continue to steam for another 30 minutes after it clicked over to warm. There was a little bit of liquid left at the bottom of the rice bowl, but it got absorbed by the wild rice when I spread it out to cool on a cookie sheet.

The verdict? Wild rice has a nuttier taste and firmer quality than some whole grains so I was curious to see what my kids thought. My youngest son liked it the most. One of the twins liked it, the other didn’t (he didn’t care for the texture). And my oldest son, who is home from college and has been eating nothing but unhealthy college fare for the past five months, ate the entire portion I gave him (which was a pleasant surprise).

This wild rice recipe is Barbara Tropp’s, #30 on the list of the Top 50 Women Game Changers in Food being recognized this week by a group of bloggers. Barbara Tropp was an American chef and cookbook author, who helped introduce Americans to Chinese cuisine. She fell in love with Chinese culture after taking an art class in high school, then studied Chinese in college, and went to Princeton for graduate school for a year before deciding to spend two years in Taiwan. In Taiwan, she improved her language skills and stayed with several hosts who were fine cooks, and sparked her interest in Chinese cuisine. When Tropp returned to the U.S., she dropped out of Princeton and moved to San Francisco where she continued to learn more about Chinese food.

Tropp wrote her first cookbook, The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking in 1982. Craig Claiborne said, “This is one of the most massive and authoritative books on the art of Chinese cookery that I have ever had in my kitchen.” In 1986, Tropp opened a very successful Chinese restaurant named China Moon Cafe in San Francisco, which spurred the publication of her China Moon Cookbook, an Asian fusion cookbook. Sadly, Tropp died of ovarian cancer at the age of 53 after a 7 year fight.

I’m hoping to get my hands on a copy of Tropp’s The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking so I can thumb through it. I love the older, more traditional Chinese cookbooks.

4 from 1 reviews
Stir-Fried Wild Rice with Mushrooms
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Adapted from Barbara Tropp's China Moon Cookbook. The original recipe calls for the wild rice to be cooked in China Moon Infusion, which is chicken stock infused with garlic, onion, ginger, chili and lemongrass.
Serves: 6
Wild Rice
  • 1 cup uncooked wild rice, rinsed, then drained
  • 2 - 2½ cups unsalted vegetable or chicken broth
Roasted Szechwan Pepper-Salt
  • ⅛ sup Szechwan peppercorns
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
Stir-Fried Wild Rice with Mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ⅔ cup thinly sliced leeks
  • ½ cup thinly sliced celery
  • ½ cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1½ cups thinly sliced wild mushrooms (I used shitake mushrooms)
  • ½ cup thinly sliced scallions, green and white parts
  • 2½ cups baby bok choy
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
Wild Rice
  1. To cook wild rice in rice cooker, place wild rice and 2½ cups broth in rice cooker bowl. Cook using white rice setting. Let steam an additional 30 minutes on warm after rice is done. Spread cooked wild rice on a cookie sheet and let cool completely.
  2. To cook wild rice on the stove, place wild rice and 2 cups broth in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, cover tightly and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit undisturbed for 20 minutes. Stock should be absorbed. If the rice is overly firm and dry, sprinkle with additional stock and cook, covered, over low heat until liquid is absorbed and rice is pleasantly soft. Spread cooked rice on a cookie sheet and let cool competely.
Roasted Szechwan Pepper-Salt
  1. Combine Szechwan peppercorns and salt in a skillet and toast over medium-low heat until salt turns off-white and peppercorns are fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  2. Peppercorns will smoke, but be sure not to burn. Grind pepperorns and salt in a spice grinder.
  3. Store in a clean dry jar, sealed airtight.
Stir-Fried Wild Rice with Mushrooms
  1. Heat oil in a wok or large skillet. Add leeks and toss for 2 minutes. Add celery and red bell pepper and toss for 1 minute. Add mushrooms and half of the scallions, and toss for 1½ minutes more. Add bok choy and toss until they are hot and mushrooms begin to render their juices, about 2 more minutes. Add rice wine and toss to blend.
  2. Add the cooked wild rice and toss gently to mix. Sprinkle with the Szechwan Pepper-Salt to taste and toss to combine.
  3. Before serving, garnish with reserved scallion rings.
The recipe for the Szechwan Pepper-Salt makes a lot more than you will need for this dish. Store the pepper salt in a jar and use in place of salt and pepper. It is very fragrant.
I cooked the wild rice in a rice cooker. There was some liquid left after cooking, but it was absorbed into the rice when I cooled it on the cookie sheet.

If you’re interested in joining our group as we cook our way through this list of 50 influential women in food, just ask Mary from One Perfect Bite.

Please stop by and take a look at what the rest of the group made this week in celebration of Barbara Tropp:

Annie from Most Lovely Things
Linda from There and Back Again
Val from More Than Burnt Toast
Joanne from Eats Well with Others
Taryn from Have Kitchen Will Feed 
Susan from The Spice Garden
Heather from girlichef 
Miranda from Mangoes and Chutney
Mary from One Perfect Bite
Sue from The View from The Great Island
Barbara from Movable Feasts
Nancy from Picadillo
Kathleen from Bake Away With Me
Veronica from My Catholic Kitchen
Mireya of My Healthy Eating Habits
Claudia – Journey of an Italian Cook


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  1. I love the nuttiness of wild rice. Barbara Tropp is a fascinating study.

  2. I can’t wait to make this one

  3. I adore wild rice and this is a grand way to eat those vegetables. Wild rice is so satisfying on these cold winter days. Bookmarked! I must get a hold of this cookbook.

  4. I’m a pretty big fan of wild rice. I love this version…it sounds like it’s packed with lovely, earthy flavor!

  5. i love wild rice! but i have yet to try making it myself. awww i love it how your sons eat whatever and are open to trying it! so cute. this recipe sounds comforting and healthy at the same time. love it :)

    • Junia – you should try making it yourself, it’s just as easy as making rice, just takes a little longer to cook. My boys are good sports for putting up with my healthy food introductions. I do try to include flavors and ingredients that are familiar to them when I introduce something new so it’s not too much of a stretch.

  6. Jeanette,
    your photographs are so colorful and beautiful, I love wild rice for it’s nutty flavor, though I often mix it with another rice for a 50/50 blend.

    • Thanks Mireya, that’s one advantage of taking photos of natural foods – they’re beautiful on their own. I’ll have to try mixing wild rice with brown rice next time – I do think that it would be a nice contrast in textures.

  7. Wow. I have to say that I honestly do not know much about Barbara Tropp. But I do know that this is one recipe that sounds amazing. I would love this and my kids would totally eat this right up. Completely their kind of meal! :)

    • I actually bought the China Moon cookbook years ago, but had forgotten about it until the event this week when I was looking to see what cookbooks Barbara Tropp had written. Sounds like your kids are healthy eaters :)!

  8. Oh yum! I cant wait to make this. I think my hubbie and daugter will love it also.

  9. Like Miyera, I mix my wild rice with brown rice. I think this recipe will be good using brown basmati rice or combining brown basmati rice with wild rice. I have both of Barbar Tropp’s books and enjoy using them.

    • Thanks Norma – I will have to try mixing wild rice with brown rice next time – I think my one son who didn’t particularly care for the texture of wild rice might like it better with this blend. I would love to get a copy of Barbara Tropp’s Modern Art of Chinese Cooking.

  10. I really like the flavor and texture of wild rice, but this is the first time I’ve seen it used this way. It sounds delicious. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  11. the peppercorns are such a great idea, this stir fry looks fantastic I can imagine how it smells

  12. Wow! I know I would like this version of fried rice … so much more fiber and crunch going on than my traditional recipe! You picked a great dish to showcase BT’s quirky way of playing with ingredients in classic dishes!

  13. Mmm the texture of wild rice is one of my favorites and after seeing how fresh flavored and delicious this looks, I wish I had made it!

  14. I love wild rice and your dish looks so delicious! I know I’m going to give this a try. Enjoyed your post!

  15. This is my type of healthy and tasty treat!

  16. Oh yes, my kind of food for sure. Simply love the rice and the combination of veges inside.

  17. This looks delicious!!

  18. I’ll confess…I’ve not been a huge fan of wild rice in the past, but your recipe makes me want to try it again. My kids love my chicken and veggie fried rice which I make with Trader Joes frozen organic brown rice, so I’m thinking a good intro to wild ride for them, might be to serve it combined with brown rice. The China Moon Infusion sounds divine!

    • I think this dish would be terrific if made with half wild rice and half brown rice. It has a woodsy flavor due to the wild rice, so I think the addition of brown rice might mellow the flavor and add some softness to the texture of this pilaf.

  19. What an amazing meal you made. I am so intrigued by the Szechwan peppercorns. This meal shine with healthiness. Gorgeous.

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