Black rice, otherwise known as forbidden rice is a great alternative to traditional white rice and is packed with powerhouse nutrients. The deep rich colour of the rice not only makes it a super sexy looking grain but also contributes to its high antioxidant properties.

Although this rice is growing in popularity, it has been consumed in parts of Asia for hundreds of years. Packed with key dietary essentials like iron, antioxidants, fibre and plant protein this grain is perfect for many dietary preferences. So why is it called forbidden rice? Well it is said that:

Thousands of years ago in ancient China, noble Chinese men took possession of every grain of the black forbidden rice, banning its consumption among anyone who was not royalty or very wealthy.

The crop was only grown in very limited quantities, closely monitored, and reserved for only the highest elite class. The common Chinese people were not allowed to grow or consume this black forbidden rice, which led to its unique name that it still carries with it today.1


Although I have never been a big rice fan, I do enjoy black rice as it has a nice al dente texture when cooked. The deep black-aubergine colour of the rice when cooked can fool many into thinking it is squid ink stained rice or risotto, when in fact it is this rice gem.

I like to enjoy this rice in what I call fiesta bowls (bowl of rice topped with different fixings) but then decided to experiment cooking it risotto style and it was super delicious and very easy! As with any risotto dish, get ready to use those buff arms and set aside at least 30-45 minutes to stir, stir, stir to help develop the starch in the rice and transform the dish from rice to more of a risotto texture.

As with risotto, you can serve this as a side dish or eat it alone as a meal by itself. If you have never tried black rice before, this recipe will sure turn you into a fan – enjoy!


1 ½ cups black rice
7 cups vegetable of chicken stock – I always have homemade stock in my freezer but if you don’t, use low sodium organic stock powder
1 Bay leaf
2 Tbsp. organic clarified butter or ghee
2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
¼ cup organic shallots, minced
1 cup assorted organic mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp. garlic powder
Few sprigs of organic thyme, washed
Celtic sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste


  1. Thoroughly wash the rice, running it a few times under warm water. Set aside in a sieve on top of a bowl, so the water can drain off.
  2. Bring the stock to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low. Add the bay leaf to the stock then cover to keep warm.
  3. In a separate pot, heat 1 Tbsp. of the clarified butter and 1 Tbsp. of the grapeseed oil on medium heat.
  4. Add the shallots + a pinch of salt and cook until soft and slightly brown.
  5. Add the rice and stir with the onions for about 1 minute.
  6. Now for the fun part… Reduce the heat to medium low and ladle in 3/4 cup of stock to the rice, stirring until the liquid is absorbed – about 5 -6 minutes.
  7. Continue to repeat this process until all the stock is used and the rice is tender but still has a bite to it (al dente) – this should take approximately 30 -45 minutes. Once completed, leave the risotto covered on low while you prepare the mushrooms.
  8. In a sauté pan heat the remaining oil and clarified butter on medium high. Add the mushrooms to the pan with a sprig of thyme and garlic powder then sauté till the mushrooms are soft and browned. Season with salt and pepper when finished
  9. Finish the risotto by adding salt and pepper to taste, then divide into serving bowls.  Top with the sautéed mushrooms and garnish with a few fresh sprigs of thyme then enjoy!
Black Rice Risotto Recipe
Black Rice Risotto Recipe

Food Photography by: Rowell Photography


Author Christine

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