Given its innumerable health benefits, rice is a staple food in the Indian subcontinent. But, if we were to step out of the country, we’d see that rice is celebrated in many other Asian countries as well. There are also many healthier alternatives to the classic white rice — brown rice, red rice and a certain ‘black rice’.
What is it?
Black rice, also known as the ‘forbidden rice’, has its roots in ancient China, where, it is believed, a black variant of rice was consumed by the royalty and kept away from the general public. Every last grain was reserved for the elite class, given that it made their kidneys, stomach and liver function better. The rice earned itself a reputation, gradually, when the common folk was prohibited from even growing it.
As of today, the black rice is no longer forbidden. It is packed with health benefits, and is found in numerous cuisines all around the world.
The rice has many nutrients; one-fourth of a cup provides protein, fats, carbohydrates, natural fiber, iron and calories. Being rich in antioxidants, the rice protects the cells against oxidative stress caused by free radicals. It can prevent cardio-vascular diseases, diabetes and even cancer.
The rice contains a plant compound called ‘anthocyanins’, which gives it its black-purple colour. According to researches done in the past, it is the anthocyanin which has strong anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties.
Black rice also contains important carotenoids — called ‘lutein’ and ‘zeaxanthin’ — that are associated with eye health. They are known to protect the retina by filtering out the harmful blue light waves.
The rice is also naturally gluten free, which mean gluten side effects like bloating, abdominal pain and other sensitivities do not affect the body. Additionally, being rich in protein and natural fiber, black rice can promote weight loss.
You prepare black rice like you prepare other forms of rice. Here is a video that can help you:
Ideally, when cooked for 30-35 minutes, the rice should come out tender, with a chewy texture. Once it is ready, it can be consumed with any dish of your choice. Enjoy your meal!