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Black rice or forbidden rice is a rare and very old variety of rice that has been growing in India for centuries. It is mainly grown in the North East region (called as Chak Hao) which is now cultivated in other parts of the country as well. The raw, uncooked grains look black to dark purple, while cooked or soaked grains look purple to maroon depending on the anthocyanin content.
Why is Black Rice called Forbidden rice?
Black rice is rather tricky to grow and only yields about 10 per cent of the normal rice varieties. Black rice contains a high amount of anthocyanin, the powerful antioxidant found in most deep colour plants like eggplants and blueberries. This high amount of antioxidants and low yields are some of the reasons, Black rice is revered as healthy food and in the olden era was restricted to aristocracy only. In China, it was also called the emperor’s rice as it was only available to members of the royal family because of its nutritious value. Not any more!
What does Black rice look like?
Since its an unprocessed rice, the taste of black rice is slightly nutty and can also come across slightly chewy or sprout like texture. It is not to be confused with brown or red rice.
Benefits of Black Rice
High in Fibre: Its unprocessed nature makes it high in fibre content. High fibre content is known to help in regulating bowel movements, prevent constipation and bloating. The fibre helps bind the toxins and waste within the digestive tract, and flush it all out of the system on completion of the cycle of digestion. Fibre also gives your body a satiated feeling after consumption which prevents you from binging into other fatty food, thus aiding weight loss.
Rich in Antioxidants: We cannot emphasis enough about the high amount of anthocyanin it contains. Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit oxidation. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals, thereby leading to chain reactions that may damage the cells of organisms.
They’re important, as oxidative stress has been associated with an increased risk of several chronic conditions.
Low glycemic Index: As a whole grain, black rice has a low glycemic index. This means that sugar is absorbed more slowly, providing a more stable energy source and avoiding the spikes in blood sugar associated with other carbohydrate-rich foods.
Natural Detoxifier: The phytonutrients present in black rice help cleanse the body.
There are several other benefits of black rice which promote overall health. You can read more about them on various health journals or the references shared below.
How to Cook:If you can, the best way would be to soak the rice overnight and then boil or pressure cook like your normal rice. Post soak, it shouldn’t take more than 30 mins. However, if you are in a rush or don’t like to plan, you can pressure cook(about 8 whistles) or open boil them for 45-60mins or till they are al dente.
What to cook from Black Rice?
Black rice goes well with a lot of Asian and sweet preparations. You can create a yummilicious fried rice which leaves your guest in awe or spin a pudding that leaves them wanting for more. If you are craving Italian, make a healthy risotto with it. Black rice is also ideal as a breakfast where you can replace your not so healthy corn flakes with black rice porridge topped with seasonal berries. Yum! This and much more.
More on recipes soon!
So hopefully you are now ready to embrace a variety in your grains at the food table and provide your family with diverse nutrition.