Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Black Rice Diaries

Here's what you should know about black rice: its hull contains more vitamin E, a known immune system booster, than brown rice and it has more anthocyanin antioxidants than blueberries. Does it sound like I know what I'm talking about? Well I don't, but someone at does (

The health benefits of black rice had nothing to do with my decision to experiment with it this week. I liked the look of it and found a bag of Thai glutinous black rice at Superstore. Chinese black rice is another type worth looking into. In fact, the black rice bowl may be better served with this type of rice.

Black Rice Bowl

Adapted from:

Makes 6 servings


  • 1 1/2 cups black rice (recipe calls for Chinese black rice, but I used the Thai version)
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 T sunflower oil, plus 2 T for cooking the chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup minced red onion
  • 2 serrano chili peppers, diced
  • 1 T fresh lime zest
  • 3 T fresh lime juice
  • 2 T rice vinegar
  • 1 T fish sauce
  • kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh snap peas ( I didn't have them)
  • 2 small, ripe avocados
  • cilantro to garnish
  • sambal oelek to garnish


Note: The original recipe prepares this dish as a salad. I chose to turn it into somewhat of a rice bowl. If you want to prepare and serve it as a cold salad, let the rice cool for an hour or so before mixing it in with the dressing and other ingredients. Note the original recipe did not include chicken.

Combine 2  and 3/4 cups of water and the rice into a large pot. Bring the water to a boil, reduce to simmer and cover, cooking for about 30 minutes or until the rice is tender. 

To prepare the chicken, heat the 2 tablespoons of the canola oil in a frying pan. Cut the breasts into bite size pieces and toss them in with the oil. Cook for approximately 10 minutes or until all the pieces are well browned. Set the chicken aside. 

In another pan, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil and add the onion, cooking for about 1 minute and then the chili peppers. Cook until the onions become translucent.

In a large bowl, combine the lime zest, juice, vinegar, fish sauce and salt in a bowl. Stir well and set aside.

Pour the rice and chicken into the bowl with the dressing, tossing well until all the dressing has coated the rice.  To serve, spoon the rice mixture into individual bowls and top with slices of avocado, cilantro and sambal oelek or whatever chili sauce you have on hand if heat is your thing. 

Coconut Black Rice Pudding

Makes 6 servings

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup black rice
  • 3 T brown sugar
  • 3 T shredded coconut
  • 1/2 t salt


In a medium saucepan, bring the coconut milk and water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer , uncovered for 45 minutes, or until the rice is tender.

Meanwhile, to toast the coconut, preheat the oven to 350F and spread the shredded coconut across a cookie sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. 

Once the rice is cooked, add the sugar and salt and simmer for a few more minutes until the rice reaches your desired texture. Taste and adjust the seasoning as required. Serve in individual bowls, topped with the coconut. I had a few almonds hanging around that looked like a good addition, so used them as a garnish as well.