Black Rice Benefits
I'm a fan of rice, big time. Be it the totally processed white basmati, sticky thai rice, red camargue, brown, wild rice... but my current obsession is black rice, also known as the forbidden rice (!!!). Even the name itself begs to try it out. Black rice is shorter and more round than basmati rice. It is a glutinous kind of rice (sticky) due to a high level of amylopectin and it turns deep purple in color when cooked. I don't know what got me into it so bad, but I simply like the chewy texture black rice has and I also love the fact that due to its stickiness, it's perfect to be used for meals like sashimi bowls or even sweet rice puddings (I shall start recipe testing, right?).
Another reason why you can find black rice in my cupboard these days is my low iron levels in blood: black rice is a good source of non-heme (plant based) iron. Recently browsing online I also made a discovery that non-heme iron (which is more difficult for our bodies to absorb than heme - animal based iron) can be absorbed more easily if mixed with heme iron in a meal. As you might have read in the previous post, I started to eat red meat more often (a month ago I was mostly eating veggie foods) and I also sometimes include poultry in my diet. Now, to sum things up, I can easily prepare a meal which would be rich in both, heme and non-heme iron as well as be sure that my body DOES absorb as much iron from such meal as possible.
Today I'm sharing a black rice salad recipe which is delicious warm or cold. I topped it with pomegranate seeds for vitamin C boost (vitamin C is another good fella which helps with iron absorption), some spring onions, lemon zest and served it with ChickFit chicken drumsticks in black olive marinade (spices, chopped black olives, NO bullshit). This chicken and black rice combo was delicious to my tastebuds, but if you follow a plant based diet, the salad is also great on its own. I did not expect to prep a proper dinner so easily, but while the chicken was roasting (all you need to do is remove the paper label and pop it in the oven) I cooked black rice, veggies, chopped up all the toppings and mixed up a sauce - all in 45 minutes. This is what ChickFit recommends as the right cooking time, but have in mind that times may wary depending on the oven and the setting you're using, so keep an eye on those drumsticks! You can find ChickFit in all of the largest supermarkets in Lithuania, in the meantime, I'm off to watch a movie. Afterall, I have a delicious dinner ready.
Created with ChickFit
Serves 4 as a side dish | Total cooking time: 45 minutes | 1 tablespoon 15ml | 1 teaspoon - 5ml
- 1 cup (200g) of black rice, dry
- 15 button mushrooms, sliced
- 1/3 of yellow onion (for hot salad) or red onion (for cold salad)
- 5 pieces of baby corn, thinly sliced
- 20g of salted roasted pistachios (without shells)
- 1 small yellow bell pepper
- 120g of purple cabbage
- a handful of chopped spring onions
- zest of 1 lemon
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- pomegranate seeds from 1/3 pomegranate
For the sauce:
- 1 teaspoon of maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon of toasted pumpkin seed oil
- 3 teaspoons of tahini
- 3 tablespoons of water
- salt to taste
Prep the sauce: mix all ingredients until smooth, add salt to taste (it should be quite salty). Wash black rice and cook covered on medium heat with a touch of sea salt. Heat a large skillet, add a touch of olive oil and fry the mushrooms together with baby corn, chopped pepper (either fry it or set aside to mix into the salad raw) and onion. Only add onion if serving this salad hot, otherwise finely chop it and set aside (you'll mix it in raw). Chop red cabbage, pistachios and spring onions. Once the rice is done cooking, wash under cold running water. In a large bowl, mix black rice with cooked and raw veggies, nuts, lemon juice and the sauce. Top with pomegranate seeds, spring onions and grate some lemon zest on top.