Black Forbidden Rice is the new rage in grains. At least it should be. It’s the most exotic, spellbinding grain I’ve ever encountered. I find myself littering a whole lot of dishes with it, especially salads. While I love the rice just soaked or cooked, it was a while before I tried turning the gorgeous grain into crispy and crunchy rice that was quickly scooped into this super healthy Asian Coleslaw. And if there’s anything I love, it’s chopped salad with crunch.
The first time I heard about Forbidden Rice was at a gluten-free website several years ago. I can’t remember which site it was but I was intrigued by the black/purplish rice which looked similar to wild rice. I am always checking out new things and have to admit the name got me interested enough to research it farther. Turns out, the rice is called Forbidden Rice because at one time it was forbidden for anyone except the Emperor of China to eat it. It was considered such a delicacy that only the Emperor was worthy of eating it. During the Ming Dynasty it was called “tribute rice” or “longevity rice,” and exclusively reserved for the Emperors to ensure their good health and long life.”
There isn’t much known about this deep rice nutritionally except that it contains similar nutrients to other whole grain rices and high levels of antioxidants, especially anthocyanin. The anthocyanin is responsible for the purplish color. Also present are 18 amino acids, iron, zinc, copper, carotene and other vitamins, plus it’s gluten-free and low in calories. Sounds like something that needs to be eaten…..a lot.
The first step for making the crispy rice is to soak it overnight (or 8 hours or more) in water and probiotic powder. The first time I made this rice, I rinsed after it was done soaking. The second time I didn’t. It was better the second time. In fact it tastes very close to cooked wild rice. How wonderful is that? No pots or pans needed. Just soak and send your grains into your merry dish. Soaking grains makes them more digestible and fluffs (or lightens) them up whether you are cooking or not. The other benefit of soaking your grain beforehand are that they seem to need less cooking time and cook up more completely.
Adding the probiotics sort of ferments the rice, making it even more digestible and upping the friendly bacteria count. It also “marinates” the rice. Most grains even after soaking overnight still need to be cooked or sprouted to be well, palatable. There’s usually a bitter fermented taste that follows. But this rebellious grain is different. You can soak these morsels and eat straight out of the jar without any bitterness at all. You CAN cook them if you want to but if you have the time and inclination, try soaking instead. Like me, you just may find that you prefer it that way. And of course there’s the added benefit of retaining nutrients that are lost during cooking.
To make the rice crispy I dehydrated it although you can bake it too. This part took only about an hour or so in the dehydrator. Once completed, it reminded me of the rice I used to love eating from the bottom of the pan after over cooking it. Oh yeah, I had my days of feasting on overcooked bottom of the pan rice. This version comes pretty darn close except no burning or overcooking involved. Yes.
I wanted this salad to be on the lower fat and nut-free side for myself so I kept it very simple and very veggie-centric, incorporating Asian-themes veggies like cabbage, onion, and cilantro. I tossed in sliced avocado for hubby’s bowl. You could add any number of additional vegetables or fruits. Chopped mango, pineapple, sliced jalapeño would be some great add-ons too.
The salad dressing is simple: pure, sweet, spicy and salty, and reminds me of ginger-infused steak sauce. Just what this healthy salad needed. I’m never shy about going on and on about simple dressings that deliver great taste quickly. This dressing is a must have for hurried meal prep times and when you need a versatile dressing or condiment in a flash. It’s super easy to make and adds great depth to a whole slew of dishes.
I hope you will enjoy this exotic and delicious salad with a once forbidden food that’s now available to everyone. Enter with only pleasure and abundance in mind.
This recipe is dairy/gluten/nut-free, and serves 2 – 6 persons.
Asian Coleslaw w/”Crispy” Forbidden Rice & Sweet Ginger Dressing
“Crispy” Forbidden Rice
Make sure your forbidden rice has not been heat-treated or pasteurized otherwise it won’t soften and swell during soaking. You can use any sproutable grain in its place although you may need to sprout your grain for 8 – 12 hours to soften before dehydrating.
Probiotic powder adds friendly bacteria, helps ferment the rice, and makes it taste better. It’s an optional ingredient but highly recommended.
If cooking the rice, prepare per the instructions on the package, then spread on a cookie sheet to broil at 350 degrees until crispy (about 15 – 20 minutes). When ready, serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.
- 1 cup uncooked Forbidden Rice
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 probiotic capsule or 1/4 tsp powder (optional)
- Rinse the rice thoroughly then drain.
- Transfer to a 24-32 oz glass jar.
- Add the water and gently stir in the probiotic powder. Make sure the rice is completely covered and has enough room to expand during soaking.
- Cover and let soak for at least 6 hours. You will know it’s ready when almost all of the water has been absorbed.
- Once it’s ready, discard any residual liquid but do not rinse. You should end up with about 2 cups of plump and slightly chewy rice.
- Transfer the rice to a solid dehydrator sheet.
- Spread evenly on the sheet.
- Dehydrate at 115 degrees for 1 – 2 hours depending on how crispy and crunchy you want it. I liked it best after about 1 1/2 hours.
- Once the rice had been dehydrated, you can set it aside or refrigerate until ready to use.
- Yields about 2 cups.
- Can be stored refrigerated up to 5 days.
- 6 cups chopped green cabbage of choice
- 1/2 cup chopped scallions or onion of choice
- 1/3 cup diced bell peppers
- 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
- 1/2 cup peas
- 1/2 cup corn
- 2 Tbsp white or black sesame seeds
- Add the cabbage to a food processor.
- Pulse or process until finely chopped. You can also chop by hand.
- Transfer to a large mixing bowl with remaining ingredients.
- Gently toss.
- Set aside or refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Yields about 7 cups.
Sweet Ginger Dressing:
- 4 Tbsp coconut nectar or blackstrap molasses or other dark sweetener of choice
- 4 Tbsp coconut aminos or braggs or wheat-free tamari
- 1 Tbsp dark balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp minced dried onion or 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 – 1 tsp grated fresh ginger or 1/2 tsp ginger powder
- 2 tsp sesame seed oil (optional)
- Add all ingredients to a small mixing bowl.
- Whisk together.
- Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.
- Yields about 1/2 cup.
- Can be refrigerated up to 5 days.
- dehydrated or dried seeds like pumpkin or sunflower
- sliced avocado
- raw or cooked snap peas
- sliced cucumber
- sprouts of choice
- Toss all the ingredients and serve or serve as depicted.
- Garnish and enjoy.