Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Forbidden black rice with scallions and sweet potatoes...

It was another Meatless Monday and Cyn was looking for something new to make for us. We've committed to trying to not go back to the "same old" things each week. After all, one of the benefits of Meatless Monday should be to expand your horizons into new vegetables, grains and other non-meat products.

One of her favorite sources of inspiration is Epicurious.com. This time found she stumbled onto a recipe which included a somewhat unusual ingredient - forbidden black rice. Forbidden rice is a strain of Chinese black rice which is considered to be both food and medicine in China. Forbidden rice takes on a dark purple color when cooked because it is rich in anthocyanins, which act as powerful antioxidants. The rice contains more vitamin B, niacin, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc than white rice.

The ":forbidden" name comes from the belief that, in ancient China, this strain was reserved for the Emperor and his subjects were forbidden from consuming it. It should be noted that Lotus Foods first introduced Forbidden Rice into the USA in 1995 and has trademarked the term.

Here's the recipe, adapted from Epicurious.com 

Yields: 4 servings

3/4 cup Chinese black (forbidden) rice
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
5 scallions, chopped
1 large leek (white and light green parts only), cut to 1/2" pieces
1 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1/2 " pieces

  • Rinse rice well under cold water in a sieve. Bring rice,water and 1/2 tsp salt to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cook covered until tender and most of the water has been absorbed (about 30 mins). Let stand covered and off heat for 10 additional mins.

  • While the rice cooks, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over moderately high heat and saute scallions, leeks, ginger and sweet potato, stirring until coated well, for about 2 mins. Reduce heat to moderate and add remaining salt and pepper to taste. Cook covered, stirring occasionally until potato is tender.
  • Add rice and toss gently to combine. 

The rice turns a very deep purple color when cooked, has a noticeably nutty taste and a chewy texture that is reminiscent of wild rice. The vegetables add a great sweet element to the dish. 

The other course of the evening was a salad of arugula, Cherry Glen fresh goat cheese, toasted walnuts and blood orange sections. We tend to eat our salads as the second course, preferring the lighter course to finish the meal. Cyn made a sherry vinaigrette dressing that perfectly complimented the salad.

After three and a half months of Meatless Mondays I am totally convinced that the flavor profiles we've been developing in these meals are every bit as satisfying as those in meals containing meat!


  1. Isn't it fun to explore with your palate? Sounds like you two are having a great time cooking together. This meal is exactly what I like to eat. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks! I'm a very lucky guy. Cyn is a very accomplished and creative cook. I help some and have a great time doing it, but mostly, I eat. Thanks again for following our adventures.

  3. Very creative dish! Looks tasty.

  4. I like the way y'all think - looks super tasty!

    1. We are totally in love with this black rice. If you haven't had it before give it a try, you'll love it too.

  5. Never heard about this rice before, but your dish look good and I'm encouraged to try it :)

  6. My dad is obsessed with Black rice and I had no idea how to prepare it. This recipe was great, and he loved it. We paired it with Scallops :)

    1. Catherine, that's great - so glad he enjoyed it. The scallops sound like a yummy addition. If you're interested here is how we used the black rice in a cold salad.


  7. Black rice has a deep black color and usually turns deep purple when cooked. Plucked from the Poireiton variety, you can expect nothing but top-notch quality.


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