Have you ever tasted forbidden rice or black rice? When I did a poll on my Instagram recently, only 8% of the people said they have tried black rice in their lives. After seeing those results I just knew I had to add this family favourite of mine into the blog. And I am starting with the easiest recipe that any beginner can make with black rice – a super delicious and yum black rice pudding.
Black rice is common in my state Assam. It is grown in Assam along with red rice, kumol saul (no cook rice) and hundreds of other local varieties. Unfortunately, these local variants of rice are dying and people do not really know about their importance and value anymore.
It really hurts me when I see that people would rather choose an international variant of rice that has been exported than go for the local varieties. I just hope this recipe inspires people in India to try out this healthy and fibre rich rice for themselves and keep its porduction alive.
What is forbidden rice?
Forbidden rice is another name for black rice. It derived its name as “forbidden” because it was once reserved for the Chinese emperor to ensure his health and longevity and forbidden to anyone else.
Black rice is known for its superior nutritional value and high level of antioxidants. It is also great for skin and hair, great for heart health and can help keep diabetes and obesity in check. It is a champion grain in that sense.
Because black rice does not go any refining or processing, it is naturally grainy in texture and hence takes longer to cook than plain white rice. And because there is no processing, black rice is able to retain its antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibre. In India, it grows in the north-east region (also known as Chak Hao) and some parts of Southern Indian.
Ingredients in black rice pudding
The number of ingredients in this pudding is extremely minimal. It uses black rice in all its glory, without playing around too much with it. The deep purple colour comes from the rice itself, which keeps getting darker as the cooking process starts. I have not used sugar in this recipe, but you could use sugar if you do not find jaggery. But jaggery (gud in Hindi/gur in Assamese) is quite easily available in India.
This recipe calls for the use of full fat milk. I personally do not use anything but full fat milk as it is very hard to trust the refininf process or the health benefits of slim milk that come in platic packages. I like to keep it old school and source full fat milk directly from farms. The full fat milk is essential for pudding recipes like these as it thickens beautifully and gives the kind of texture a great pudding demands.
The two main ingredients in this recipe according to me (apart from the black rice) is patience and presence. There is no short cut to a great pudding and if you make it, you have to be patient and present in the cooking process. Leaving the pot to cook and forgeting about it will not work as the milk needs to be stirred continuously till it thickens. The entire process takes anywhere between 40-60 minutes and the results are so worth it! Make it this festive season or for a get together at home and stun your friends and loved ones.
Here’s the detailed recipe: