Is the black the new brown? We are talking about a variant of rice, not a television serial. We are going to rave about Black Rice. Read on.
While many of us have grown up on white or brown rice, black rice might sound something like a posh fantasy! Well, for all those of us who are still uninitiated, this millennial gem is proudly strutting, making its way to the high-end fine dining and gourmet store to set a trend.
Rightly so, black rice is jam-packed with healthy goodness and has an amazing talent to prevent weight gain. It can also help in warding off cancer, diabetes, heart ailments and such other illness which are rampant in today’s times. Here is more on the magic rice…
But as the story goes, when the Emperor ruled China, black rice was forbidden to the commoners, because of its enormously high nutrition goodness. Since then this variant has gained another alias ‘Forbidden Rice’.
Phir bhi dil hai hindustaini
Back home, it is a native of the North-East. Called “’Chak-hao“, it is a staple in Manipur. In fact, no festival is complete without feasting “Chak-hao kheer” which is an all-time favourite pudding made from black rice specially prepared during occasions in the North East. It is also cultivated in Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal. As this variant contains a water-soluble pigment which depending on its pH levels, releases various hues of purple, red or blue earning yet another name ‘Purple Rice’. We shall stick to calling it Black rice.
What is so special about this Black Beauty?
Believed to help in warding off cancer
Premium quality black rice is rich in nutrition and has medicinal properties as well. It is believed to aid in fighting and preventing cancerous cells from proliferating and hindering the creation of tumour by inhibiting new blood vessels to be formed.
Your very own medicine chest
Potent on many counts, it is rich in fibre and packs a lot more vitamins and important minerals like calcium, niacin, iron, zinc and such as compared to other rice variants. The reason for this is white rice loses a large amount of its nutritive value during the polishing process. Not so with this black beauty. This little gem packs a punch with nutrition.
Though brown rice is healthy, it is only the black rice which contains the powerful antioxidant anthocyanin. Anthocyanin is also found in dark coloured fruits and veggies. Another brownie point is that it has Vitamin E which is good for your skin, immunity and other important tasks.
The rice also energizes and boosts those enzymes that eliminate toxins. Furthermore, it is anti-inflammatory and good for diabetics as its GI is 42. However, doctor’s advice is suggested.
It is gluten-free
Good news for all those who are gluten intolerant. Black rice contains no gluten thereby giving no chance of any problems to arise which is linked to gluten.
It has a cosmetic benefit too. Washing hair with water in which black rice is cooked in is known to make your zulfe strong.
Though an alien flavour, its nutty taste is gaining fans. Now available at gourmet stores, it is still rare and unknown. Yet if you are feeling adventurous, enjoy it at a high-end restaurant.
Not easy to grow this rice variant, this premium quality rice is cultivated only in China and Manipur. The nutty, sweet flavour makes it a favourite component of desserts, salads, and exotic dishes.
- Soak it: Black rice takes much longer to cook than our usual white rice. To reduce your cooking time, soak it in water overnight. Black rice takes an estimated half hour to cook if soaked or about an hour or so if not soaked.
- Be careful of the pigment. As the pigment from black rice is water soluble, it may stain your clothes. So take care and wear an apron when cooking with black rice.
- When cooked black rice turns purple! Fascinating…