If you haven't tried black rice yet, the time is now. This flavorful, deeply colored grain is occasionally sold as "forbidden" rice, and its dark husk is actually more purple than black. Black rice is a known source of anthocyanins, special phytonutrients also present in blueberries and grapes. Of course, it's easy to grab a bag of black rice off the shelf; when it comes to how to cook black rice, however, you might need a touch more inspiration.
There are some basic things to know about how to cook black rice. For one, black rice takes quite a bit longer to cook than white rice, about 60 minutes, though you can cut that cooking time down substantially if you soak it ahead of time. For another, its black color will stain, so be sure that you don't let it come into contact with your clothes.
Also, be aware that there are several varieties of black rice, including long jasmine, glutinous Thai, and short-grain Venere. The long-grain rice, which is the true "forbidden" rice is better for salads, while short-grained Venere rice was created as a hybrid more adapted to European climates. Glutinous Thai rice cooks up much like glutinous white rice, making it great for sushi and rice pudding. Be sure to select the right variety for the recipe you choose.
1. Black Rice with Pumpkin
These flavorful black rice bowls are filled with pumpkin and pumpkin seeds and flavored with harissa. The flavors of this dish are incredibly deep, but perhaps nothing beats the colors: orange pumpkin is wonderfully set off by the black rice for a visually appealing dish.
Black rice with squid image via Shutterstock
2. Black Rice with Squid
This Spanish-influenced dish is a darker play on paella. Easy to make and topped with sustainable market squid, this dish is sure to impress.
Image: Emily Monaco
3. Black Rice Risotto with Chorizo and Avocado
This dish is perfect for Venere rice, which will make the same starchy sauce as arborio rice. This black rice risotto has much stronger flavors than your typical risotto, topped with crispy chorizo and creamy avocado.
Black rice sushi image via Shutterstock
4. Black Rice Sushi
These vegetarian sushi rolls are even more stunning than regular sushi due to the use of black rice. We love the vegetarian version, but you can also fill these rolls with your favorite sashimi-grade fish.
Black rice risotto via Shutterstock
5. Black Rice Risotto
This plain version of black rice risotto has far more classic flavors than our version, but it offers a truly stunning color on the plate. While many versions of black rice risotto use squid ink to get the incredible color, this version relies solely on black rice.
Black and white rice image via Shutterstock
6. Black and White Rice
This one's not so much a recipe as it is an awesome presentation idea that's visually stunning yet not hard to make. Cook equal portions of black and white rice separately, then plate using a tall-sided cookie cutter. Pack the white rice into the bottom, packing one side of the cutter higher than the other. Then top with the well-drained black rice, and serve. This is a great side to any protein or veggie stir fry.
Black rice pudding image via Shutterstock
7. Black Rice Pudding
Yes, black rice is delicious in desserts too. This Thai-influenced black rice pudding is flavored with coconut and a touch of brown sugar for the perfect ending to any meal.
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Black rice with pumpkin image via Shutterstock