How Do I Choose the Best Forbidden Rice?

Misty Amber Brighton

Forbidden rice is a black or dark purple rice that was traditionally reserved for Chinese emperors. It is an heirloom rice, which means it is a variety that has not been genetically altered or used in mass-production. When you are buying forbidden rice, it can be a good idea to find out how and where the product was grown. The color and size of the grains can also be important. By reading the product label, you can find out about the nutritional value and method of preparation required.

Forbidden rice.
Forbidden rice.

Many times, forbidden rice is grown on small family-owned farms that do not use chemical fertilizers or pesticides. You may want to find out where and how the rice was grown, as this can help you avoid those that could be harmful, or those genetically altered and not truly an heirloom varieties. A package label could contain information such as the name of the farm and whether the rice is certified as organic to help you determine this.

The appearance of forbidden rice can tell you a great deal about how it might taste. This black rice typically has medium-sized grains, which are very dark in color. When cooked, this rice sometimes turns dark purple rather than black. Generally speaking, the darker the grains are, the more flavor this food contains. Forbidden rice is also very crunchy when prepared; however, small grains may not have enough texture for some dishes, but large grains could make the food difficult to eat.

Most brands of forbidden rice contain high amounts of iron, fiber, and protein. The nutritional information which is printed on the package normally lists the daily value of certain vitamins and minerals, so you may want to read this information first. A variety that contains zinc, manganese, and magnesium but does not have added preservatives could be a good choice. Food coloring is not needed and can be avoided as well.

You may be able to boil this rice directly from the package, or you could need to soak it in water for a few hours first. This can depend on whether the rice was pre-soaked at the processing plant or simply placed into a bag. It can be helpful to read the instructions for preparation so you will know how to cook this heirloom rice. Following the directions precisely can ensure tender yet crunchy rice that looks and smells appetizing whether it is part of a casserole or simply a side dish.

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