I first learned of forbidden rice a few years ago. The fragrant Chinese black rice, also known as purple rice, which turns to a deep purple when it’s cooked, is an impressive addition to any dish. Where once I insisted on cooking only brown rice, once I discovered black rice, my allegiances took a turn. Granted, it is more expensive, (maybe that’s where the “forbidden” originates) but I don’t eat it every day, so I consider it a small price to pay.
The black color of uncooked forbidden rice is due to its outer coating of black bran, which gives the rice a rich nutty flavor and provides important dietary fiber and other nutrients such as iron, vitamin E and antioxidants (more than in blueberries). What’s not to love?
Once difficult to find — with the exception of health and organic food stores or Asian markets — now most major supermarkets have it on their shelves; Lotus Foods is one brand, as is Lundberg. Just be sure to buy regular black rice as opposed to sticky (glutinous) rice, which will clump too much when fried.
When I first discovered this lovely rice, I simply steamed it and served it with fish or chicken as a side. It needed no embellishment other than my fork. But now that I have connections for the best and freshest eggs (thanks to Farmer Fred) I make this dish at least every other week.
The rice soaks up all the wonderful flavors of the sesame, garlic and ginger and it gets nice and crispy. The recipe serves four, but I cut the amount of eggs to 4 and we ate the whole batch. Nothing is forbidden in my house.
Green Onion Black Fried Rice
Recipe adapted from The Perfect Egg
1 cup black rice
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 green onions, thinly sliced for garnish
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted for garnish
Rinse the rice in three or four changes of water and let it drain thoroughly in a fine-mesh sieve. Transfer rice to saucepan, add the stock and bring to boil over high heat. Cover, lower the heat to a brisk simmer and cook for about 20 minutes or until the rice is tender and no liquid remains in pan. Remove from heat, uncover and fluff with a fork. Set aside.
Whisk 2 of the eggs in a small bowl. Heat the vegetable oil and sesame oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the beaten eggs and cook through until they just set, gently breaking them up into large pieces as they cook. Add the garlic, ginger and cooked rice, season with salt and pepper and continue to stir and toss for 3 to 4 minutes, until some of the rice becomes crispy. Remove rice from heat and divide evenly among 4 bowls. Keep warm.
Fry the remaining eggs in oil. Place an egg on top of each bowl of rice. Season with salt and pepper, garnish with green onions and sesame seeds and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Per serving: 390 calories; 19 g fat (4 g saturated fat; 44 percent calories from fat); 38 g carbohydrates; 1 g sugar; 319 mg cholesterol; 465 mg sodium; 15 g protein; 2 g fiber.