Once a grain sanctioned only for royalty, black rice, or forbidden rice, is now enjoyed by many.
What is Black Rice
Black rice is a variety of traditional heirloom rice with a few natural enhancements. Anthocyanins, an antioxidant pigment (also found in eggplant, blueberries, concord grapes, and acai berries), are responsible for the unique purple-black coloring. The rice itself is medium-grain, which means it is slightly longer than it is wide. Black rice has a nutty, earthy-sweet flavor and produces a moist, tender, slightly chewy mouthfeel.
Black rice is grown mostly in Southeast Asia in India, Indonesia, Thailand, and China. Black rice is not the easiest rice to cultivate due to low yield counts, which may be the reason why Chinese emperors were the only individuals allowed to eat it. Black rice only produces about 10% of what other commercially cultivated rice varieties yield, making black rice an extra special ingredient to have in our kitchens.
How to Cook Black Rice
Black rice cooks similarly to other more common rice varieties, a 2:1 ratio of liquid to rice is ideal for preparing black rice. First, rinse rice under cool water to remove any excess starch. Then, bring the liquid to a boil in a medium saucepan, add rice, reduce the temperature and simmer, covered, for 40-50 minutes or until the rice is tender (check the packaging as some varieties cook faster). Black rice takes slightly longer to cook than white rice varieties due to the intact whole-grain; white rice usually has the whole outer grain polished away before packaging.
Where to Find Black Rice
Black rice can be easily sourced either through a local gourmet grocer or Asian market. If either of those outlets prove difficult, sourcing black rice online is recommended.