by Delta Discovery Staff
Cran you please make cranberry akutaq? Who would have known that rice in akutaq would taste so good? The first time we heard about this delectable treat was a few years ago and we must admit, it did sound a little different. But once we tried it, we couldn’t stop. We have found that this type of akutaq originates here in the Kuskokwim area. It is very unique. This recipe calls for tundra cranberries – those tart, beautiful, dark red berries that we pick right at the end of the autumn season. There are different ways expert rice akutaq-makers make rice akutaq. Some of our Kuskokwim ladies who are adept at making this gave us some useful tips and instructions and here is what we came up with. I hope that you will try it! It is so very mouthwateringly good.
Cranberry Rice Akutaq
1 quart (4 cups) of frozen or fresh tundra red berries
2 cups sugar
1 cup of extra sugar
1 cup of dry rice
1 cup of shortening, we used Crisco
1 cup of dry mashed potato flakes
Hot boiling water
Cook the 1 cup of rice with 2 cups of water (or however you make your rice, and let it cool off.) Place the dry potato flakes in a bowl and add enough hot boiling water to make mashed potatoes. Set it aside to cool. Place the red berries in a cooking pot along with the 2 cups of sugar and heat them up, smashing the red berries and mixing it with the sugar and then let it cool.
When the rice is not hot anymore, add a little water to it, about ½ cup. Stir it.
When everything is cool, start whipping the shortening with your hand. Add in some of the mashed potato a little at a time, about a third of it, and continue whipping. Whip for about 5-10 minutes. Next add in the cranberries, smashing and crushing them more as you add. Whip them into the shortening/potato mixture, your akutaq will look nice and red. Do a sugar taste test. If you would like to add more sugar, do it now ¼ cup at a time, whipping the mixture until the sugar dissolves.
Next add in your rice, ½ cup at a time into the akutaq, breaking apart any chunks and incorporating them into the akutaq. Keep adding in the rice and do more sugar taste tests to see how it is. You can also add in boiled/soaked raisins or cranberries (amount to taste).
This fluffy, tasty, tart, red berry akutaq is so good, especially with dry fish, or with any meal. Kids? Let them try it. They might love it too! Quyana to all our friends who taught us how to make this delicious akutaq treat.