We are taking a small break from millets and bringing to you today – Black rice. We consume white rice most of our lives. Some of us may not even know other colored rice that has been around for many years – brown rice, red rice, and black rice. Black rice was an exclusive royal treat in China in ancient times. Now it is celebrated and consumed for its nutritional value.
Black rice can be used in the same way as white rice in Indian cooking and eaten with sambar, rasam, daal, curries, etc. Rice dishes like coconut rice, spinach rice, biryani, and pulao can be made too. You can also make soups, salads, rice cakes, rice bowls, tacos, sushi, and risotto as per international cuisine. Sweet dishes like porridge, payasam/kheer, and pudding can be prepared with it. Black rice flour is used in the manufacture of bread and noodles.
Facts About Black Rice:
- The origins of Black Rice are unclear, but it is known to have been consumed in China around 1000 years ago
- It is also known by the names ‘Emperor’s Rice’ and ‘Forbidden Rice’, as it was initially only reserved for the Emperor, the royals, and the nobles. It was forbidden to the public
- It was also used as a tribute food
- It is a drought-resistant rice variety
- Oryza sativa is the scientific name for Black rice
- It is also called ‘Purple rice’. The reason is that the black grains turn purple once cooked
- In India Black rice is called ‘Chak-hao’ in Manipur, and ‘Kavuni arisi’ in Tamil Nadu. In Bangladesh, it is known as ‘ kalo dhaner chaal’
- Anthocyanin – the chemical that gives purple-black pigments to food is present in this rice at the highest level
- The different variants of Black rice are: Indonesian black rice, Pirurutong black glutinous rice, Philippine heirloom balatinaw black rice, and Thai jasmine black rice
- Black rice has a dense, chewy texture and nutty flavor profile
- It is an anti-oxidant-rich rice
- Unlike white rice, the bran and germ layer loaded with nutrients are retained in black rice, thus making it a better rice to consume
- It is gluten-free, which also makes it a better choice
- It is advisable to soak the rice for many hours (preferably overnight) and then cook it like normal rice with rice to water ratio being 1:1 3/4 to 2
Health Benefits of Black Rice:
Compared to other colored rice, black rice has the highest amount of antioxidants, protein, and other nutrients. It is also an excellent source of iron and fiber.
Anti-oxidant Rich Food:
This grain is loaded with antioxidants and fights against free radicals in the human body. Oxidative stress is known to cause many ailments such as heart issues, Alzheimer’s, and some types of cancer. Anti-oxidants prevent oxidative stress.
Black rice has the highest amount of anti-oxidants compared to brown and red rice, making it the richest source of anti-oxidants in the rice category.
The Magical Anthocyanin:
The chemical compound that gives Black Rice its purplish-black color is anthocyanin. This has anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory properties. It even fights obesity.
Since black rice is the richest source of anthocyanin, it is naturally a superfood to consume.
There aren’t many studies on black rice’s effect on cancer. However, in a study on breast cancer – it was found that anthocyanin-rich foods like black rice help reduce the number of affected cells in the breast and also slow their growth and spread. Anthocyanin is also known to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
Good for the Heart:
Black rice is rich in flavonoids, which fight heart complications. Flavonoids reduce the risk of heart disease. They also keep cholesterol and triglyceride levels healthy.
Two carotenoids – lutein and zeaxanthin, known for improving eyesight are present in black rice.
The protein and fiber content of black rice help keep you full for a longer time, thus discouraging eating too much or too often. This, in turn, helps with weight loss.
- Helps reduce the risk of fatty liver disease.
- Regulates blood sugar levels.
- Supports healthy digestion.
- The fiber present helps in easy bowel movements, thus preventing constipation.
- May help protect from osteoporosis and Asthma.
Hope this article has informed you about Black rice. We hope you can incorporate it into your daily diet. More on other rice coming shortly. Stay tuned. Happy parenting.