How to Cook Black Rice

How to Cook Black Rice Recipe

Did you know that there are thousands of rice varieties? I found that out recently when I was introduced to black rice. I had never seen it before, but it's apparently very popular in Asia. Served as a side dish or in the form of rice pudding, black rice has a texture comparable to brown rice, but with a more pronounced nutty flavor. The dark color comes from the un-milled rice grain, which leaves a dark husk. In Imperial China, black rice was quite rare, and for this reason consumption was limited to royalty. For this reason, it can also go by the names “forbidden rice” or “Emperor's rice”.

Similar to blueberries and blackberries, black rice is packed with antioxidants. Today, I served black rice as a healthy side along with artichokes, baby carrots, bell peppers and asparagus. It’s a wonderful way to dress up even the simplest of dishes.

Ingredients

Yields: 4 servings

1 cup black rice
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon canola oil (or any neutral oil)
1 clove garlic, crushed, peeled and finely minced
4 asparagus spears, cut into ½"-pieces
4 canned artichoke hearts
2 tablespoons green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 tablespoons red bell pepper, finely chopped
¼ cup baby carrots, finely diced


Directions

Cooking black rice:

Wash the rice thoroughly, discard any dirt. Drain as much water as possible.

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small pot. Add the rice. Bring the liquid back to a boil, then immediately decrease the heat to low. Stir well to make sure the rice is submerged in water; that way the rice will cook even all the way through. Cover with a lid, so the water doesn't evaporate too fast. Cook for about 35-40 minutes. Add a pinch of salt half-way through the cooking process (it will bring the natural nutty flavor of the black rice and make it more tender). Once the water evaporates, check doneness (add more water if not fully cooked and cook a bit longer). Set aside.

For the artichokes: Drain the artichokes and cut lengthwise into 8 pieces.

Assembly time:

Heat a tablespoon of oil in small pan.  When the oil is hot, add the garlic. As the garlic becomes slightly golden, stir-fry the asparagus. When the color becomes translucent, season with ¼ teaspoon of salt. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the carrots and ¼ cup of water. When all the liquid is evaporated, add the artichoke hearts and bell peppers. Stir fry for about 1 minute. Transfer to the black rice.

Gently fluff the rice using long chopsticks (or a fork) without breaking the grains of rice.

You can serve with fish or any white meat. I served it with butternut squash tagine.

Bon appétit!


Tips

I used Lotus Organic Forbidden Rice brand (The Emperor's exclusive grain).

You can find black rice in Asian markets.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on March 18, 2011.


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