With its deep black shade, which turns to a deep purple on cooking, black rice is far from being a beauty that one thinks of, especially when compared to long grained, shiny, white Basmati Rice or even Sella rice. But when have the looks ever been a true measure of the treasures that something hides within.
Black rice is very high in nutritional content and is an excellent source of Iron, Vitamin E and antioxidants (even more than blueberries). The bran of the black rice contain the highest levels of anthocyanins antioxidants in food. It’s fiber content is similar to brown rice, and it has a mild, nutty flavor like Brown Rice too. It is best suited for making porridge, dessert, traditional Chinese Black Rice cake, bread, noodles, Risotto, etc.
I first had Black Rice at the Birdsong Cafe in Bandra, in a Black Rice Risotto with mushrooms. It didn’t look pretty, it honestly didn’t. But all healthy things are not really pretty, are they? It tasted really good. Slightly chewy, good nutty flavor, good overall.
It is said that for centuries, Black rice was reserved only for the Chinese Royalty. Thousands of years ago, Chinese Noblemen took possession of the Black Rice and banned their consumption among anybody who was not wealthy or royalty. The crop was grown in limited quantities, was closely guarded and reserved for the most elite. Common people were not allowed to grow, buy or consume the black rice, and hence it got the name “Forbidden Rice”.
One serving of black or forbidden rice contains only around 160 calories, but offers a very high amount of flavanoid phytonutrients, a good source of important fiber, substantial mineral content including iron and copper, and even a good source of plant based protein. Would you like to know how Black rice stands with other varieties of rice like Red rice, Brown rice, White rice and the like? Here you go –
- Polished white rice – contains 6.8 protein, 1.2 iron, 0.6 fiber.
- Brown rice: 7.9 protein, 2.2 iron, and 2.8 fiber.
- Red rice: 7.0 protein, 5.5 iron, and 2.0 fiber.
- Black rice: 8.5 protein, 3.5 iron, 4.9 fiber, and the highest amount of antioxidants of any rice variety.
The anthocyanins in Black Rice help prevent cardiovascular disease, protect against cancer by arresting free radical damage, improving brain function, reducing inflammation, etc. The Vitamin E antioxidants in Black rice are useful in maintaining eye, skin and immune health among other important functions.
Black rice decreases dangerous atherosclerotic plaque formation in the arteries. helping keep arteries clean, and preventing heart attacks and strokes. It also helps reduce LDL cholesterol or the harmful cholesterol.
Black rice also helps detox the body, and cleanse the liver of harmful toxins and reduce internal inflammation. It also helps prevent digestive symptoms like constipation, bloating, IBS, etc. It helps you feel full faster, aiding weight loss. The fiber and nutrients of black rice help shut off hunger signals, preventing overeating.
Black rice is naturally gluten free, and it also slows down sugar absorption in blood, thus helping prevent diabetes. It also helps prevent insulin resistance.
Since Black rice is unrefined and denser than other rice types, it takes longer to cook, and needs more soaking time, minimum an hour, preferably more.