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Recipe: Sweet Forbidden Rice

Forbidden rice is a type of black rice that turns purple-ish when cooked.  A long, long time ago, in China, the only person allowed to eat this rice was the Emperor; it was forbidden to everyone else (hence the name).  This type of rice is often in eastern cultures for desserts, like pudding or porridge.  For this recipe (or any sweet black rice recipe), you should choose the short-grain version of the rice, called Sticky Black Rice (because, well, it’s more sticky).

Black rice gets its color from anthocyanins, which is a flavonoid (like the polyphenols in red wine).  Anthocyanins are found in red, purple and blue fruits and vegetables (such as blueberries, purple cabbage or eggplant).  Recent research indicates that anthocyanins may have protective effects against certain types of disease or cancer (but, as usual, more research needs to be done).  Black rice is a whole grain and a good source of protein and iron.  This recipe would be a great breakfast or substitute light coconut milk and enjoy it as a dessert!

Sweet Forbidden Rice

Serves 8

  • 1 cup forbidden black rice
  • 2 cups skim milk (or light coconut milk if making dessert)
  • 2-3 cups fresh mixed berries (can use frozen too, just make sure they’re thawed), or sliced mango, apple or peaches
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar or pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a boil and add rice, cook according to package directions (until most of the liquid is absorbed.  While the rice is cooking, spread the pecans evenly on a cookie sheet and bake about 10-15 minutes or until the nuts are fragrant.  When most of the liquid in the rice pot is absorbed, add the sugar, extract, and spices.  Mix well and re-cover; let stand for 5 more minutes.  Stir in the berries and nuts, reserving a few to sprinkle on top when served.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: 168 calories, 5g fat, 26g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 6g protein.  This recipe contains no trans fat, 1g saturated fat, and only 1mg of cholesterol.  Black Rice is a good source of iron.

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