Jeweled Black Rice

By Julie Cader

 

“Love is simply creation’s greatest joy.” 
― Hafez

California Heirloom Black Rice, or forbidden rice, is a wonderful and delicious grain to serve as a side dish for your romantic Valentine’s Day dinner. The color of this dish is so striking, it immediately draws attention when you serve it. As you can see from the ingredients listed below, a tropical mix of dried pineapple, papaya, mango, figs and cranberries, combined with the crunch of anise seeds, and the yumminess of pistachios and sliced almonds, is sure to make this an evening to remember.

INGREDIENTS
2 Tablespoons of butter
1 teaspoon anise seeds
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon allspice
1 medium onion, diced
1½ cups Heirloom Black California Rice, rinsed well
3 cups of hot water
2 bay leaves
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1 lemon rind, finely julienned
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup dried figs
¼ cup dried pineapple
¼ cup dried papaya
¼ cup dried mango
¼ cup sliced almonds
½ cup pistachios
Seeds of 1 pomegranate for the jeweled garnish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INSTRUCTIONS
Melt the butter in a large skillet and sauté on low heat the anise seeds until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add the cinnamon and allspice and stir to combine. Add the onion and sauté for about 10 minutes.

Add in the rice to the spices and onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Pour in the hot water, bay leaves, lemon rind, and salt and pepper. Bring rice to a boil, reduce heat, cover with a tight fitting lid and let simmer for 35 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves, stir in the fruit and nuts, and cook on low heat for about 15 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and tender, and the water has been absorbed. Turn off heat and let rice rest for another 10 minutes.

When you are ready to serve, fluff the rice, spoon onto a large platter and scatter the pomegranate seeds on top.

Serves 4-6.


Julie is Finance & Administration Manager for the California Rice Commission, and a big proponent of trying new recipes- especially if they feature California rice.