I have been doing a lot of pantry-based cooking during the quarantine. It has been a great time to experiment with new recipes or make innovative adaptations of old favorites.
This has been the perfect time to use some black rice I’d purchased out of curiosity. I had never used nor tasted black rice, so I had to search for recipes.
A recipe for Black Rice Tabbouleh surfaced, and I realized I had all of the necessary ingredients on hand.
Black rice goes by several names, including purple rice and forbidden rice. When cooked, black rice turns purple. The purple pigment is so intense that it will stain certain items like countertops and cookware, so it is advised that one should use metal or glass pots or baking dishes. Black rice will also color other foods, so it is best to combine ingredients just before presentation, if possible.
The black rice I purchased was from a bulk bin, so there were no cooking instructions included. The technique I used for cooking the black rice called for 2¼ cups of water or broth combined with 1 cup of black rice, rinsed. You can also add a pinch of salt, if desired.
The water and rice are brought to a boil over medium heat. The heat is then reduced and the pot is covered. The rice cooks for about 40 minutes until it is tender and the water is absorbed. Black rice will be slightly chewy.
If the water has evaporated, but the rice is not completely cooked, add a small amount of additional water and cook until done.
Black rice can be used alone as a side dish. It is nutritious and is loaded with anthocyanin antioxidants like those found in blueberries. It is high in fiber and Vitamin E and is lower in carbs than white rice. It has a delightfully nutty flavor.
This Black Rice Tabbouleh has a few added ingredients that are not commonly found in traditional tabbouleh. The blend of Mediterranean flavors with the rice gave this recipe a unique twist.
While sumac is not an ordinary ingredient that one keeps on hand unless you do a lot of Middle Eastern cooking, I would highly recommend adding it, if possible, because it adds a slight citrusy flavor to the dish.
Black Rice Tabbouleh
2¼ cups vegetable broth or water and a pinch of salt
1 cup black rice
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon ground sumac (optional)
½ teaspoon cumin
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tomato, chopped
½ cucumber, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
Several mint sprigs, finely chopped
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ cup salted pistachios, chopped
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
In a medium saucepan, over high heat, bring the broth or water and rice to a boil. Cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 40 minutes.
Keeping the pot covered, remove from the heat and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Uncover and allow to cool completely.
Combine the lemon juice, salt and pepper, sumac, cumin and olive oil in a small bowl. Whisk to combine.
In a large bowl, combine tomato, cucumber, onion, parsley, mint and chickpeas. Add cooled rice and dressing. Toss to combine.
Sprinkle pistachios and feta on top, so feta retains its color and doesn’t turn purple.