What Do You Do with Black Rice?

Let’s talk about black rice, or Forbidden Black Rice as it’s often labeled. This is a gorgeous, dark indigo rice that was apparently only fed to emperors in early China. Lucky for us, some peasants stole some grains and made it available in our stores.

Lotus Foods brand offers lots of fun rice products (pink, black, green, and brown), and their little bags are available online or at natural food stores. We have here how to cook black rice and three vegan black rice recipes to let you make the most of this beautiful whole grain.

beautiful black rice close-up

So now, what do you do with black rice? It can be cooked in the same way as brown rice, with the same ratio (1 cup rice to 1 1/2 cups water or broth) and a few minutes extra cooking time. I like to soak my rice for at least a few hours, up to overnight, to give it a better texture. Drain off the deep indigo colored water, and add fresh water and a pinch of sea salt. Boil, then cover and simmer for 35 minutes. It’s a richer, nuttier flavored rice and you can serve anyway you would serve brown rice. But here are three great ways to amp up the flavor and make even better use of this gorgeous grain: Black Rice with Mushrooms and Cilantro and Nori Rolls with Edamame Hummus.

a huge pot of black rice with fresh cilantro and veggies

Black Rice with Mushrooms and Cilantro

2 cups Forbidden Black Rice, soaked two hours
4 cups water or broth, or combination
Sea salt, to taste
¼ cup coconut oil
2 cups chopped, fresh mushrooms (any variety)
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 cup thinly sliced carrot
2 cups fresh chopped cilantro

  1. Drain rice. Add to a stockpot with water/broth and bring to a boil. Cover, season with a few generous pinches of salt. Lower heat, and simmer for 40 minutes, or until rice is very soft.
  2. In another stockpot, heat coconut oil until warm. Add mushrooms, onions, and carrots, and cook until onions are soft, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add cooked rice in batches, being sure to coat rice with mushroom mixture. Cook for just a few minutes, then toss in cilantro. Stir to combine. Divide into serving bowls. Enjoy with steamed vegetables, tofu, tempeh or anything!
not only are these rolls delicious- look how PRETTY!

Black Rice Nori Rolls with Edamame Hummus

Edamame Hummus (from Down to Earth Hawaii)
2 cups packaged shelled edamame (young soybeans)
2-3 garlic cloves
¼ cup lemon juice
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
3 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
10 Nori seaweed sheets
2 cups shredded carrots
2 cups cooked black rice
1 cucumber, seeded and sliced into thin strips

  1. Cook edamame according to package directions. Drain, rinse and pat dry.
  2. Place cooked edamame along with garlic, lemon, sesame oil, olive oil, and salt in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Let stand for at least an hour for flavors to meld.
  3. To make sushi rolls, spread ¼  cup Edamame Hummus onto edge of nori. Add carrots, rice, and cucumber strips. Rolls gently but firmly. Cut into halves or thirds, and serve with a dipping sauce of soy sauce and sesame oil. Makes 10 rolls.
black rice pudding is a traditional Balinese dish served for dessert

Indonesian Black Rice Pudding (Bubur Injin)

1 cup Forbidden Black Rice
½ cup short grain brown rice
1¼ cups coconut milk
1 cup water
pinch salt
¼ – ½ cup palm sugar
¼ cup coconut cream (see note)

Check out this post on Green UPGRADER to learn how to make this great recipe!

Yields: 3-4 Servings

This post is part of our series on Vibrant Wellness JournalWhat do you do with… that? There are lots of foods that might fill-in-that-blank in your heads, so please send me suggestions for foods you’ve never been quite sure how to cook! Other posts in this series include chickpea flour, amaranth, and seaweeds.


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About the Author

A vegan chef, cookbook author, educator, writer, surfer, and yogi based in San Francisco, Andrea is also the Accounts Manager for Important Media. Follow her foodie adventures at AndreaBertoli.com, Vibrant Wellness Journal, Green Living Ideas and Eat Drink Better. Find more from Andrea on Facebook and Instagram