It is planted in fields in June and harvested as early as late September through the end of October. The ricefields are flood irrigated.
It is harvested with the help of machines by both men and women, who save seed from each harvest for the next year's planting.
It is used to make a dish called sekoti rice, in which onions are cooked in a pan until black (and almost burnt), before meat or chicken broth and the rice is added. This rice cooking method is long and slow, taking a bit more than an hour to cook.
Oasis rice was traditionally used for big events, like weddings, when animals would be slaughtered and the rice would be cooked in the fat. Bedouin families harvest the rice and each take a “share” to mill manually, while the rest of the rice is processed in a facility in the Delta region of Egypt, where it is often mixed with other varieties or not specifically labeled. Therefore, traditionally milled Oasis rice is consumed mostly just in the area in which it is grown.
Once more widespread in the Western Desert, issues of water scarcity have affected its cultivation. The Bahareya Oasis used to be a cultivation site, but has seen its water table go down, in comparison to other Oases such as Farafra. This is because the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer seems to be fluctuating, leading to the Bahareya drying out and the Farafra overflowing.
In addition, because most of the rice is milled manually, only a certain quantity can be processed each year, mainly for farmers' own consumption. Local growers also face difficulties with the government, such as having to pay to use mechanical harvesters on their land
Photo/Video — Ma7sool Productions
Photo — Archivo Slow Food