I love pottering around Asian (well make that all) supermarkets and seeing what new foods to play with I can find. One of my latest discoveries has been black rice, also known as Forbidden Rice. Doesn’t calling it forbidden instantly make it more tantalising? In ancient times, it was cultivated only for the Emperor in China and commoners were banned from eating it hence the forbidden tag. It was known to have all kinds of health benefits so the Emperor was keeping the good stuff to himself. Selfish huh. I would totally have been trying to get some on the black market.
The grains are lovely to look at. When soaked/cooked they change to a deep brown with burgundy undertones and the drained water looks like wine. It is showstoppingly dramatic on a plate. The flavour and texture is similar to wild brown rice with a slightly nuttier/toasted sesame bite.
Black rice is not just a pretty face, it packs quite a nutritional punch too. It is full of anthocyanins (antioxidant pigments that gives fruits such as blueberries their blue and purple colour and superfood status), fibre, iron and amino acids. I haven’t seen it in any supermarkets yet but with the ‘superfood’ tag, it’s only a matter of time before it appears on shelves at a hugely inflated price. I buy mine in Chinese supermarkets.
I’ve eaten it hot and cold, savoury and sweet and will be sharing my recipes. Do you cook with black rice? If so would love to know how you use it.