When I mention black rice to my clients, their brains automatically think I am making reference to wild rice which is, I concur, black. However, black rice is a different rice altogether. It also goes by the name of “purple rice”.
Black rice originates from China and as legend has it, in Ancient China, it was so nutritionally beneficial that it was reserved for emperors.
Those lucky emperors! Black rice is indeed nutritious. This variety of rice houses iron, vitamin E and antioxidants. The reason it turns a purple hue once cooked is that it contains the same antioxidant as blueberries and blackberries (come to mama). Even the amounts of antioxidants in black rice are similar to those in these berries. Speaking of antioxidants, according to research at Cornell, the antioxidant levels are 6 times higher in black rice than in regular white or brown rice. It even goes as far as saying that the outermost layer (hull) of this rice is thought to be one of the top dietary sources of health-promoting anthocyanins (a fancypants way of saying “a type of antioxidant”).
Furthermore, according to the Whole Grains Council, studies carried out in South Korea evaluated black rice against brown rice and found that the bran of the former was effective in protecting against skin inflammation (dermatitis). The results indicated that black rice may be used as a “therapeutic agent for treating and preventing diseases associated with chronic inflammation” in the future. Fun.
This staple food has a lovely yet mild fruity taste and is great for rice dishes but also lends itself well to making a snazzy rice pudding. You could also try throwing it in a green salad for a burst of colour or using it to make a breakfast “porridge”. I also like to prepare it as a side dish, mixed with some red cabbage and spices, like so:
All in all, black rice is a nice change from plain white rice or basmati rice, but additionally has health-related benefits. Additionally, it is considered a whole grain and it is recommended that at least half of our grains be whole. To try it is to love it.