Forbidden rice is an ancient strain that originated 10,000 years ago in a remote China province. Emperors kept it for their own use and the black grains that turn deep royal purple when cooked were forbidden for consumption by their subjects.
Scarcity means costly and the rice was believed to have medicinal properties. It’s high in fiber, loaded with nutrients and contains unusually large amounts of anthocyanin, the same powerful antioxidant in eggplant and blueberries. The yield when cultivating forbidden rice is far below other varieties and contributes to it’s high price.
Oryza sativa, latin for cultivated rice, is in the grass family and includes several black varieties. They subdivide into Japonica, a glutinous sticky type and Indica, a long grain Jasmin type. I found it’s mild, nutty flavor delicious and the color lends a dramatic quality to any dish.
You can find wild black rice grown in Minnesota at big box retailers. Finding genuine Chinese long grain forbidden rice is another story. Lotus Foods is a reliable supplier with reasonable prices and reliable delivery. They contract with hundreds of small family farmers near the Black Dragon River region in Heilongjiang, China’s northernmost province. Lotus promotes organic farming using the “more crop per drop” irrigation practices in their System of Rice Intensification. They also embrace fair trade practice that result in higher prices paid to small farmers.
- Yield: 4 1x
If serving without additional sauces I add the following for a little more flavor.
- Producer’s recommended ratio of rice and water
- 1/4 cup shallot – minced
- 2 TBL unsalted butter
- 1 tsp chicken bouillon paste
- Sea salt to taste
- Melt the butter in a heavy bottom sauce pan on medium heat
- Add the shallot and saute for 2 minutes
- Add the rice, stir and cook for 5 minutes
- Raise the temp to high
- Add the water and bouillon then stir to combine
- Bring to a full boil, then reduce heat to low medium, cover and simmer per producers instructions
- When all the liquid is absorbed by the rice and it is tender (taste to confirm this) remove from heat and set aside for 10 minutes
- Season to taste
And just one more thing…
Follow Tactical Commandment of Cooking #9 and use this rice. I’m glad I did.