History of Black Rice or the Forbidden Rice:
BLACK RICE FROM THE MEKONG VALLEY REGION – The Mekong river grows quickly as it passes through Tibet and Yunnan. Leaving China, and in doing so changing its name from the Lancang to the Mekong, it descends through a landscape ripening into jungle. Swollen by rainforest tributaries, it defines the Myanmar-Laos border and most of the Laos-Thailand border. It cuts Cambodia in two, and then splits into distributaries in south-western Vietnam, the lush, claustral delta landscape opposite in every way to the craggy austerity where it began.
The Mekong region is Asia’s rice bowl: in 2014 lower Mekong countries (Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam) produced more than 100m tonnes of rice, around 15% of the world’s total. The region’s fertile soil depends on nutrient-rich sediment that the Mekong carries downriver, mainly during the rainy season from June to October; more than half the sediment in central Cambodia comes from China. The river and the nutrients it brings also support the world’s biggest inland fishery, accounting for a quarter of the global freshwater catch, feeding tens of millions of people.
How to cook Black Rice?
WITH SOAKING: Although it is not necessary to soak grains before cooking them, soaking has its benefits, including removing some of the naturally occurring phytic acid, which inhibits mineral absorption, and breaking down some of the hard-to-digest proteins.
Additionally, soaking grains cuts the cooking time down substantially. That is why, I recommend soaking grains before cooking. I know it is an extra step, but thankfully it is not a difficult one.
You can use 3 cups of water to soak 1 cup of black rice and leave it on the counter overnight.
WITHOUT SOAKING: With that being said, you can cook black rice without soaking. The difference between soaked versus un-soaked black rice is going to be the time of cooking plus the benefits mentioned above. In either scenarios, we recommend giving black rice a good rinse under running cold tab water prior to cooking.
Black Rice Cooking Instructions:
To cook black rice, you place it in a sauce-pan (with a lit) along with water in medium-high heat, put the lit on, and bring it to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, you turn down the heat to low and let it cook until softened and lightly opened.
The black rice water ratio is 1-2, meaning that to cook black rice you need to mix together:
1 cup black rice
2 cups water
How Long To Cook Forbidden Rice:
As mentioned earlier, the cooking time of black rice will depend on whether you soaked it or not.
- If you soak it, it takes somewhere between 20-25 minutes. If you prefer not to soak it, then you are looking at 50-60 minutes of cooking time.
- A visual cue for doneness is when forbidden rice starts opening up and turning into purple looking cooked rice.
- 1 cup of black rice yields approximately 3 cups of cooked black rice.