Love black rice, and want to cook it yourself? This easy stovetop recipe uses short-grain black rice (forbidden rice ®) and tops it with a quick and easy lime dressing.
A few years ago, I found myself staring at a restaurant menu, asking my husband, "What in the world is forbidden rice?"
Followed quickly by, "If it's forbidden, how are they allowed to sell it?"
If you want to leave now, before the jokes get worse, I totally understand.
I didn't try the rice that day, but a few days later, while walking through Jungle Jim's in Cincinnati, I saw it again and grabbed some. And no worries, even though it was marked "forbidden" rice, they didn't confiscate it at the cash register.
I even successfully cooked the contraband rice, without any strange rice regulators banging through my front door.
I later learned that this nutty, gluten-free grain is definitely NOT forbidden. I'm just kidding guys, I totally knew that right away.
What is Forbidden (or Black) Rice?
Forbidden rice is actually a trademarked brand name owned by Lotus Foods used for their brand of short-grain black rice.
So technically, forbidden rice isn't a variety of rice. That said, for me the Lotus brand of black rice has been easy to find and high-quality, so I'd definitely recommend them.
That said, you can use any short-grain black rice in this recipe!
What Does Black Rice Taste Like?
To me, black rice tastes like a cross between brown rice and wild rice.
It's soft and nutty (like brown rice), but with a little something extra that reminds me of wild rice. It's delicious.
Black Rice vs Black Sticky Rice
This recipe is for short-grained black rice.
Black sticky rice (or Chinese black sticky rice, or Thai black sticky rice) is a different type of rice, and I have not tested it with these cooking directions.
When cooked, this black rice is fluffy and is not sticky.
Why Is It Black?
This variety of rice has a dark hull, and (similar to purple dark fruits and veggies).
Will This Rice Stain My Cookware?
Black rice tends to "bleed black." Actually it "bleeds" a dark purple.
Avoid serving it on dishes that stain easily, don't use wooden utensils (unless yours are already stained like mine!), and be careful if you have stone countertops that stain easily.
To minimize stains, rinse the rice before cooking, make sure to let all the water absorb from the rice while cooking, and be aware that if you try to cook rice along with another dish (like in soup) it will dye the rest of your food purple.
Do I Need To Soak This Rice?
You don't need to.
If you prefer to soak your rice you can; just keep in mind that the cook time for soaked rice will be faster than the time listed.
How Much Water to Grain Should I Use?
A lot of rice recipes call for 1 part rice and 2 parts water.
This recipe uses less water, with just over a 1-to-1 ratio of 1-and-¼ cups of water for each cup of rice.
How to Cook Black Rice
Add the rinsed rice to a saucepan with water, oil, and salt.
Bring the water to a boil, and then immediately lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot.
Make sure your heat is set as low as you can go without losing the simmer.
On my gas stovetop, that's almost as low as the gas heat will go, but on an electric stovetop your heat setting might need to be slightly higher. If possible, use a tempered glass lid so that you can keep an eye on the liquid.
Simmer the rice for 30 minutes, and then turn off the heat. Let the rice sit, covered and off-heat, for another 10-15 minutes.
Remove the lid and fluff the rice.
If you want to add the dressing, mix together a little lime juice, olive oil, and fresh herbs, and stir it into the rice.
Serve the rice as a side dish, or use it anywhere you'd normally use brown rice.
How to Make a Black Rice Salad
This recipe originally appeared on Champagne Tastes back in 2016. Back then, it included a few extra ingredients, but I've since simplified it to make it a little more weeknight friendly.
However, if you want to add the extras back in, check the recipe notes! This black rice makes a delicious rice salad when you add sautéed mushrooms and shallots!
How to Cook Black Rice
- 1 cup short-grain black rice (forbidden rice)
- 1 ¼ cup water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ lime, juiced
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2-3 sprigs fresh herbs, removed from stems + chopped if needed (optional) I use thyme or cilantro
- Add rice to a mesh sieve and rinse with warm water until the water runs clear.
- Add rice, water, oil, and salt to a saucepan, and bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat.
- When water begins to boil, cover the pot and lower the heat to low. Lightly simmer for 30 minutes.Tip: You want the water to simmer lightly. The exact heat setting will vary depending on your stovetop and cookware. If possible, use a pan with a glass lid to check on the water, but avoid opening the lid while cooking.
- After 30 minutes, leave the lid on the pot. Let the rice sit covered, off heat, for 10-15 minutes. Open the lid and fluff the rice with a fork.
- Optionally, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, and fresh herbs, and stir it into the rice.
- Serve warm.
- Leftovers:This rice is best served immediately, but can be kept refrigerated in a sealed container for up to 4 days. To reheat, add about a tablespoon of water, and microwave covered until warm (2-3 minutes).