Before you jump to any conclusion, I will disclose to you what that ‘forbidden thing’ is. But prior to that I will tell you something else also - Today is a very special day for me. It was just like yesterday that we tied knots but today we are celebrating our 3rd wedding anniversary!! Can’t believe it-3 years already!!
Anyways, Mom called up this morning to wish us and asked - ‘What sweet have you planned for today?’. Actually, I hadn’t planned anything. Just thought I would buy a cake – easy work. Now Mom set me thinking..
I went through a dozen desserts in my mind but nothing seemed to impress me. I wanted something new and easy. I rummaged the pantry and found a pack of Black Chinese rice I had bought a few months ago and I had completely forgotten about it.[Okay now you would have guessed what that ‘forbidden thing is’, rite!!]
I remembered reading about it and that prompted me to buy. Here in China it is expensive but easily available.
I took out the pack and wondered what to do with it and MIL came near to ask me what it was. She too was new to it. I told her I was gonna prepare rice pudding with it and she gave me a look which I still can’t decipher! Was she thinking - I was crazy, or was she awed that I can cook something traditional with an exotic ingredient or was she thinking my recipe would be a flop or was it... Well, I don’t know!
If you are new to this forbidden rice then here is a little info about this famous rice.
It is also called purple/black rice and it got the ‘forbidden’ thing attached to it coz it was used by the ancient kings as they were prized for their nutrition and favored as a blood toner. Another legend says, the Greeks banned it due to the belief that it was being used by their enemies to aid them in battle.
The black color of the rice is due to the outer coating of black bran. This gives it a rich nutty flavor when cooked. Bran adds to the nutrition and also provides the essential dietary fiber. It is rich in iron and other amino acids and phytonutrients.
This rice is used in both sweet and savory dishes and is popular in China, Thailand and Indonesia. The rich color of forbidden rice makes a striking addition to any dish and turns the water it is cooked in a dark purple. The dark purple color is due to the presence of anthocyanin.
Chinese black rice/Forbidden rice/black-Purple rice/Black tribute rice - call it what you may, it is one treasure trove of nutrition that you may want to add to your palette
Loaded with so much of history and benefits, I put it to use.. Yes, I made forbidden rice pudding.. [Ha ha now u know what I did!!]
1. Forbidden rice - 1/2 cup
2. Water - 1 cup
3. Milk - 1/2 cup + 2 cups
4. Sugar - 1/4 cup [adjust to taste]
5. Pista nuts - 10
6. Raisins - 1 tablespoon
7. Condensed milk - 2 tablespoons
8. Butter/Ghee - 1 tablespoon
9. Cardamom - 2 pods
And the steps to follow
1. Heat 1/2 a teaspoon butter/ghee in a pan and put in the rice. Fry till you get a good aroma - [around 2-3 minutes]
2. Pressure cook the rice with 1 cup water +1/2 cup milk for 25 minutes
3. Boil milk in a pan and simmer, add the cooked rice and stir.
4. Watch the lovely shade of milk but don’t forget to stir
5. Add sugar and keep stirring once a while
6. When the milk thickens a little, add the condensed milk and let it cook for a couple of minutes.
7. Remove from heat
8. Heat a small pan and put in the remaining ghee/butter
9. Put in raisins and wait till it puffs up. Drain and remove.
10.Put in the pista and fry till brown.
11.Pour the nuts with the ghee over the pudding and add the raisins as well
12.Stir and serve hot/chilled.
I first cooked it for 20 minutes and there was still some liquid remaining so I cooked for an additional 5 minutes. I checked if the rice was cooked by mashing a few grains between my finger and my fingers were dyed in a beautiful shade of purple [or is that indigo?]
I prepared it 3 hours before serving and by the time hubby dear was home, the rice had absorbed most of the milk, so I added around 1 cup milk and heated again before serving.
Yea yea, I am not a big fan of cardamom but the others at home like it so I just used 2 pods. If u are like me and would like to omit cardamom, then soak a few strands of saffron in a teaspoon of milk and rub it and keep aside. Add to the pudding in step 6. I did not have cashew so used pista nuts instead.
Initially I had set aside half a cup sugar but that ‘little voice’ in me shouted to check the taste and add the remaining sugar. Luckily, I heeded to that advice and stopped with a quarter cup!! The taste was just right...
This pudding did seduce my taste buds and was a visual treat too!!