cooking forbidden rice
February 01, 2015
A recipe for Chinese New Year 2015, the year of the sheep.
Chinese black rice is called ‘forbidden rice’ because it was only allowed to be eaten by the Emperor and his court back in the Qing dynasty. Strictly forbidden stuff tends to take my interest. So, while welcoming in the Chinese New Year, what better way to celebrate than with a big plate of black rebel?
‘Venere’ rice, which is now grown in Italy is what I’ve used here. It’s seen as medicine in China as it’s anti-ageing, increases libido and contains a sky high amount of anthocyanins which are what give it its ebony colour; blueberries have them, but not like the amount this stuff has. Cheers to Holland and Barrett who sell it, allowing us minions access.
It has a shiny slickness, a nutty taste and chewy texture. This rice plate has a few easy extras to go with, including a quick chilli jam that combines the essential Chinese flavour trio - chilli, garlic and ginger. A traditional Chinese ‘smacked’ cucumber salad, which is as enjoyable to prepare as it is to eat. You just bash up a cucumber with a rolling pin, which creates crevices and a roughed up texture that allows the salt to permeate the flesh better. And finally egg ribbons - probably more Vietnamese than Chinese, but no-ones bothered right? They are essentially very thin egg crepe cut into strips.
Quantities serve about 2:
For the black rice
150g black rice
A few splashes of soy sauce
A few drizzles of toasted sesame oil
Put the rice in a pan with 360ml of cold water
Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat right down to as low as possible
Place a folded tea-towel over the pan and put a tight fitting lid on top of that
Leave it like this for about 20 mins, then remove the lid and leave to cool completely
You can then stir fry it with soy sauce, adding a little toasted sesame oil when it’s off the heat gives it a shine and seasoning
For the chilli jam
4 red chillis - I used 2 scotch bonnets - I like pain :)
2 garlic cloves
a tiny nugget of ginger
1 tbsp fish sauce
1/3 tin of plum tomatoes
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar
Roughly chop the ginger, chillis and garlic
Blitz them in a processor with the fish sauce
…then add 1/3rd of a tin of chopped tomatoes and blitz again
Cook it on low for about 20 mins, before adding the sugar and vinegar and cook for a further 5, then leave to cool
For the egg ribbons
Just whisk up 3 eggs as if you were making an omelette (use Burford Browns if you can)
Add a small amount of beaten egg to a non-stick pan, just enough to make a very thin crepe. Swirl it around until you’re ready to flip. You don’t want any colour, so keep the heat low
Carry on until you’ve used up all the mix and pile the crepes on top of each other
Roll them up..
Separate them into ribbons
For the smacked cucumber
3 tbsp rice vinegar
a pinch of dried chilli
a really big pinch of salt
1 clove of garlic, finely grated
Whack the cucumber with a rolling pin or other suitable implement…
Cut it up quite chunky…
And add everything else - you can make this up to a day before, just drain the liquid off it before serving
Serve the rice with all the extras. Pure health!