Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Forbidden Rice

In ancient days in China, according to legend, black rice was reserved exclusively for the Emperor and his court; commoners were forbidden to eat it. Black rice was prized for its exotic purple- black color, nutty sweet flavor and especially for its potent medicinal qualities.

The distinctive color of black rice is caused by the presence of high levels of anthocyanins, a class of antioxidants which are also found in many plant foods including blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and purple cabbage. Research into antioxidant nutrients suggests that they contain valuable health protective properties. Black rice is also an excellent source of protein, vitamins and minerals, including iron, and has even more fiber than brown rice.

One of the advantages of black rice is the small size of the grains which cook more quickly than other rice varieties. Exact cooking time may vary a bit but black rice requires only about 30 minutes to cook thoroughly. If you prefer softer, less chewy rice, soak for a few hours before cooking.

Basic Black Rice:

1 cup black rice
1+3/4 cups water
1 pinch sea salt
1/4 teaspoon olive oil

Place ingredients in a pot with a thick bottom and close fitting lid. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook over a low flame for about 30 minutes. (A flame tamer placed under the rice will prevent scorching). Fluff rice with fork or chopsticks, turn off heat, cover and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. Yield: About 3 cups cooked rice.