Funky Foods II: Nutritious “Forbidden” Black Rice

By Melissa Schneider March 9, 2013 No Comments on Funky Foods II: Nutritious “Forbidden” Black Rice

Did you ever think that a cup of rice could have just as much antioxidant-packed bran as a cup of blueberries? Meet black rice–a cereal so tasty and rare that it was forbidden to all but the emperor in ancient China. I recently tried black rice for the first time and was immediately drawn to its chewy, distinctive flavor. And mind you, I’m no rice nut–I’ve always preferred white rice to brown, despite the latter’s nutritional superiority. But black rice, which offers all the benefits of brown and then some, has me intrigued.

I must admit that my husband was not as easily swayed.  The first time we tried the rice, I used a traditional preparation that I enjoyed, but which tasted too earthy for him.  A bit of experimentation convinced me that black rice can be for (almost) everybody, though, when the right flavors are combined   Today, I’ll share two recipes that we like:  Hot and Fruity Forbidden Rice and Citrus Mango Black Rice Salad.

Hot and Fruity Forbidden Rice 

  • 1 cup black rice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced fine
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lime, zest and quartered, pith removed
  • Chicken broth (or water), enough to cover rice by one inch

Rince the rice in cold water and drain a few times. Choose a deep saucepan, not a wide one, and melt the butter. Saute the onion and  garlic until fragrant. Using a microplane zester, save the lime zest (the bright green part of the skin), then remove the white pith with your fingers and discard. Quarter the lime and place it in the pan, along with the rice and jalepeno, stirring for one minute. Pour in chicken broth and bring pan to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, partially cover, and cook for nearly 60 minutes, or untill rice is soft but not mushy. If the rice dries out during cooking, add more water and stir. Remove from heat, fluff rice with a fork, add zest to taste, and keep covered for 10 minutes.  Rice will be creamy like a black risotto.  (Recipe by Lotus Foods)

Citrus Mango Black Rice Salad

This delicious salad can be made ahead of time and served at room temperature, making it a great addition to a potluck or holiday meal.

Salad Ingredients

  • 2 cups rinsed black rice
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1.75 cups beef or chicken broth
  • 2 mangoes, diced
  • 2 oranges, sectioned and membrane removed, then diced
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 red papper, seeded, cored, and chopped
  • 3 jalapenos, minced
  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken breast or shrimp (optional)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, stems removed and chopped

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic
  • 1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Whisk the dressing ingredients together and set them aside for the flavors to develop.  Meanwhile, bring the water, vinegar and salt to a boil in a deep saucepan.  Add the rice, stir, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 25 minutes.  Prepare all cold ingredients and set aside.  Then turn off the heat, but leave the rice covered for 20 more minutes.  Spread the rice over a cookie sheet and let it cool for 10 minutes.  Then place rice in a large bowl, top with the remaining ingredients, and toss all with the dressing.  This dish can be made up to 24 hours ahead and refrigerated.  Enjoy!  (Recipe adapted from Restless Chipotle.)

See Prior Post:  Funky Foods: Recipe for Tempeh with Cranberry Sauce

Photo (cc) by Flickr user Dennis Mueller 


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