Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Forbidden Rice and Jewel Tone Grains
Forbidden Rice - Chinese Black Rice
We discovered black rice in China where it is called Forbidden Rice. Story tellers insist it was grown for the exclusive use of Chinese emperors who believed it to be an aphrodisiac. I can't vouch for that. I can, however, tell you that it has a nutty flavor that's a cross between brown and wild rice. It has a coating of black bran and as the rice cooks it turns from black to a deep indigo, making it more visually appealing than its plainer country cousins. It's high in iron and amino acids and it really is good for you. Fortunately, it is no longer the sole domain of emperors and we can all enjoy this delicious rice. I love to serve it with wild salmon - the colors are hard to beat. While it can be used for risotto, I find the color of the liquid to be off putting and prefer to use the black grains in a pilaf. Using 1 part rice to 2 parts liquid and cooking with added ingredients of choice, you'll have a stunning, edible conversation piece in about 25 minutes. One cup of Forbidden Rice will provide four servings.
Himalayan Red Rice - Bhutanese Short Grain Red Rice
Himalayan Red Rice is grown in the Kingdom of Bhutan at the eastern end of the Himalayan mountains, where it literally colors the landscape. The rice is nutty and aromatic and when it's cooked it becomes pink with a soft, slightly sticky texture. Himalayan Red Rice (Bhutanese) has a bran coating that remains intact after milling, so it has the same nutritional qualities as brown rice. It cooks as quickly as white rice and in half the time of brown. It's a great source of fiber and can be used in any recipe that calls for white or brown rice. Use 1 part rice to 2 parts stock and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the liquid evaporates. The liquid turns red as the rice cooks. Let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Stir in any desired additions. One cup of red rice will serve four.
Yellow Rice - A Recipe
3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cups water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups long grain or basmati rice
2 tablespoons sliced scallions
1) In a medium saucepan, heat turmeric, cumin and cinnamon over low heat until fragrant, stirring, about 30 seconds.
2) Add water, salt, and butter and bring to a boil. Add rice and stir well. Cover and reduce heat to a bare simmer. Cook, covered, without stirring until water is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
3)Remove from heat and let sit, covered, without stirring, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork, add scallions, and serve. Yield: 4 servings.
Green Rice (Arroz Verde) - A Recipe
1/2 cup tightly packed cilantro sprigs
1 cup tightly packed fresh stemmed spinach leaves (about 1 1/2-ounces)
1-1/4 cups low-sodium canned chicken broth
1-1/4 cups low-fat milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
1/4 cup finely minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1. Put cilantro, spinach and broth into a blender and blend until the vegetables are pureed. Add milk and salt and blend until combined.
2. Heat butter and oil over medium heat. When butter is melted, add rice and sauté, stirring about every 30 seconds, until it turns golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add onion and garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
3. Add contents of blender, stir well, turn the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Cover pan, turn heat to very low, and cook for 20 minutes. Stir rice carefully, cover, and cook for another 5 minutes. Take the pan off heat and let the rice steam in the covered pot for 10 minutes. Serves 6 - 8.
Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking magazine.