Hello, friends! This past month turned a bit crazy (but crazy-good!) with some business travel and a vacation. It is great to be back!
The summer is just flying by, but I am hopeful that some of those lazy days of summer will be making more appearances for all of us. Grilling helps with cooking on those lazy days, doesn't it? While grilled veggies or a salad make for a great side to grilling, sometimes I want to try something different. And, in comes forbidden black rice. I saw this back on a winter episode of Giada De Laurentiis' Giada at Home series, and it looked like a great dish to try during the summer when those classic summer sweet fruits grace us with their presence.
The stars of this recipe are black rice, peaches (or mangoes!), and green peas. Now, a few years ago, I would have been skeptical about combining fruits and vegetables with rice. Each ingredient brings something different to the table, and combining those very different ingredients can result in a creative taste party! :) Grapeseed oil, rice vinegar (my mom's "magic" ingredient for homemade salad dressing), honey, and soy sauce help bring out the sweetness of these flavors while adding that right amount of savory.
Until making this dish, I had not tried black rice. Over the past few months, I've been hearing more about black rice, and once I saw it at Costco (surprisingly, it was sold in a normal quantity and not in a 50 lb bag), I picked some up. According to Chinese legend, black rice was so rare, tasty, and nutritious that only the emperors were allowed to eat it; hence, it was "forbidden black rice." Times they are a-changin'! Black rice has been giving brown rice some competition. Like brown rice, it is chock-full of antioxidants, and it has a nutty taste. When you cook it, it turns more purple.
Peaches weren't quite in season when I made this, so I substituted a perfectly ripe mango. I love the pop of color that the peaches and the green snap peas add to the dish. Besides adding some green, the fresh snap peas gave a nice crunch to the dish, and edamame would make a fantastic substitute, too.
I look forward to trying more summer fruits and veggies in this fresh, flavorful, and colorful dish again soon!
Forbidden Black Rice
Yields 4 to 6 servings
4 cups water
2 cups black forbidden rice
1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. oil of your choice (such as coconut, canola, etc.)
2 1/2 cups (8 oz.) snap peas, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 peaches, pitted and sliced OR 1 mango, sliced
For the dressing:
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
3 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. soy sauce
In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, grape seed oil, honey, and soy sauce until smooth. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, bring the water, rice, ginger, and salt to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan, and cook until the rice becomes tender (about a half hour). Remove the pan from the heat, and then place the rice into a large serving bowl. Alternatively, if you have a rice cooker, add the water, rice, ginger, and salt to the rice cooker and cook; after the rice finishes cooking, add it to a large serving bowl.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the snap peas and cook, stirring frequently until slightly soft, for about 2-5 minutes. Next, add the peach or mango slices to the skillet and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the peas and the peaches to the serving bowl with the rice. Pour the dressing over the rice mixture, and toss well. You can serve this warm or at room temperature.
Source: Giada De Laurentiis