“Keep your hands off that rice. It is mine.” says the Emperor.
Black Rice is also known as the Forbidden Rice in some parts of Asia, as it was purely consumed by royalty and the lucky few. It got its name as the ‘Forbidden Rice’ because stealing a handful of the rice was punishable by death.
This ancient grain comes with a multitude of health benefits. It has been eaten in regions of Asia for thousands of years. This dark purple or black rice was exclusive to royalties because of its rarity and richness. Although it’s not commonly known, Black Rice is currently one of the healthiest food types that can be obtained today.
From hardly being recognized by the world, today this nutty flavoured Black Rice is now considered one of the greatest “Superfoods” because of its amazing super powers. Makes you wonder what’s so special about this dark and highly nutritious form of rice, doesn’t it?
Black Rice for your Health
- Black rice is a good source of antioxidants – a substance known for helping individuals flush out body wastes on a regular basis. Antioxidants can be found in coffee and tea but is definitely more prevalent in black rice.
- Black rice contains a large amount of anthocyanins, an ingredient that is capable of lowering the risk of heart attack. It does this by preventing the buildup of plaques in the arteries which is the most common reason why heart attacks occur.
- Aside from the two mentioned that have already been proven by science, black rice is also being looked at as possible prevention from serious illnesses. Some of the diseases it can prevent includes include Alzheimer’s, diabetes and even cancer.
Cultural Significance of Black Rice
Generations have used this Black Rice to mark an auspicious occasion. In Manipur, when you know your mom is cooking up some sweet Black Rice dish, you know there’s something special about that day. From feasts to festivals no celebration is complete without a delicious serving of Black Rice. This Sweet Black Rice dish has held cultural and traditional significance to the people of Manipur and other parts of Northeast India.
How to cook Black Rice?
The beauty of black rice is that it can be enjoyed as sweet or savory. Yep it’s a versatile food with a whole lot of potential. Sticky and nutty it adds a lovely flavour and is the perfect alternative to your white or brown rice.
Black rice pudding recipe (for your sweet tooth):
Yield: makes 8 servings
Active time: 10 min
Total time: 2 hr (includes cooling)
1 cup black rice
1/2 cup sugar
1 (13 1/2- to 15-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk, stirred well
Bring rice, 3 cups water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover it with a tight-fitting lid, 45 minutes (rice will be cooked but still wet). Stir in sugar, a scant 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 1/2 cups coconut milk and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thick and rice is tender but still slightly chewy, about 30 minutes.
Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally for at least 30 minutes. Just before serving, stir pudding and divide among 8 bowls. Stir remaining coconut milk and drizzle over pudding.
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There you have it. We’ve given you all the reasons to try the Forbidden Rice. Introduce this nutty flavoured black rice to your every day meals. Eat healthy and stay healthy.
Note: Don’t fret if the colour runs when you wash the rice. It’s completely natural for the rice to turn purple when cooked.