Forbidden Rice – even from its name sounds exotic and wonderful! Grown on hundreds of small family farms in Heilongjiang, the Black Dragon River region of China’s northeast provinces, legend has it that this ancient grain – referred to as ‘longevity rice’, – was reserved for the emperors of China. Treasured for its delicious roasted nutty taste, soft texture and beautiful deep purple color, forbidden rice is also known for its natural source of antioxidants called anthocyanins – purple pigments also found in blueberries and açai – but without the sugar. A dramatic presence on any plate or in any bowl, it has its advantages in preparation since it even cooks more quickly than traditional brown rice. We always use an heirloom variety that is carefully procured from a vendor we respect, and who greatly respects the growers of the region. We may pay a premium but that translates directly into more income, better health, and brighter prospects for the families of the region. We feel really good about that!
To incorporate this wonderfully rich, flavorful and nutrient-filled rice into your daily routine, we suggest a recipe that is easily prepared the night before and will welcome you first thing in the morning. It can be eaten warm during the cooler months of fall and winter and also chilled for a refreshing and satiating start in the warmer months of spring and summer. The recipe is a guideline but so very versatile. We top it with fresh banana and toasted, unsweetened coconut flakes. But we encourage you to add your own favorites as enhancements … dried fruit and nuts, apples and cinnamon, pineapple and mango, and even a drizzle of almond butter or tahini. It’s all good! (gluten and dairy free) Enjoy!
Forbidden Rice & Coconut Breakfast Pudding
Serves 4 - 6
1 1/2 cups forbidden (black) rice
2 cups filtered water
1 cup almond milk
½ cup full-fat coconut milk pinch of fine grain sea salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
1-2 Tablespoons maple syrup
2 medium bananas, for topping
1/3 cup coconut flakes, lightly toasted, for topping
Place rice in a pot with water and bring to a boil. Simmer until most of the water has been absorbed. Add the almond milk and continue to simmer and stir occasionally until most of that has been absorbed and for a total time of about 30 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Stir in the coconut milk, sea salt, vanilla and maple syrup. Remove from heat and set aside.
If you are serving the breakfast ‘pudding’ right away, prepare your toppings at this point. If not, allow the pudding to cool and refrigerate until morning. Your choice to take a portion, about ½ cup, and warm it in the morning or serve it chilled.
To assemble, place a serving of the pudding into a bowl, top with banana and then the toasted coconut. Add a drizzle of almond or coconut milk if you so choose. Enjoy!
We have great appreciation for Sarah Britton who was our recipe inspiration with this dish!