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  Life   Food  24 Jan 2021  Black gold on the platter

Black gold on the platter

Published : Jan 24, 2021, 5:45 pm IST
Updated : Jan 24, 2021, 6:01 pm IST

Black rice is an immunity booster and all things healthy. Chef Zeeshan Ahmed shares some recipes



Black rice, also known as the ‘forbidden rice’, has its roots in ancient China, where, it is believed, a black variant of rice was consumed by the royalty. But it was kept away from the general public. Every grain was reserved for the elite class because it made their kidneys, stomach and liver function better.
The rice gradually earned a reputation when commoners were prohibited from even growing it. Today, however, the black rice is no longer forbidden and is found in numerous cuisines all around the world.
Packed with health benefits, this super food even has many health-conscious people swearing by it. For starters, black rice contains high fibre content and essential amino acids, such as lysine and tryptophan, minerals such as copper and iron, vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin and folic acid. With the copious levels of antioxidants that help fight infections and toxins, the rice can, not surprisingly, boost your immunity. With a low glycemic index of 42, black rice is also the best choice of carbohydrate for those trying to lose weight. What’s more, believed to even prevent Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and diabetes, this rich source of antioxidant anthocyanin is also fragrant and delicious.
A civil-engineer-turned chef, Zeeshan Ahmed, who co-founded India’s first Health Food Tech Startup Fitmeals in Hyderabad and was one of the finalists for MasterChef India Season 6, shares some black rice recipes to swear by.


l Black rice (soaked overnight)
l Tomatoes: 6
l Onions: 2
l Garlic
l Parsley
l Jalapeños
l Cheese for topping
l Cream
l Lemons
l Olives
l Red beans (rajma soaked overnight)
l Choice of protein (paneer/chicken/
l Basil
l Oregano
l Yoghurt
l Mustard

Method of preparation:

Making the tomato sauce
l Take a pan and add olive pomace oil to it.
l Add garlic and onions to this and stir for 5 mins.
l To the above, add basil, tomatoes, tomato paste and oregano, and continue stirring. Use salt and pepper for seasoning. Add half cup water to help cook the mixture.
l Add the parsley at this stage and take the pan off the flame.
l Make a purée in the mixer and your tomato sauce is ready to be used.

Making the rice
l Boil the black rice in water until it cooks perfectly.

How to make salsa
l To make the salsa, finely chop onions and tomatoes.
l Add lemon juice and some coriander to this mixture.

Making sour cream
l Take thick cream and add some lemon juice to this and refrigerate.
Preparing the black beans
l Cook the black bean (rajma) in the pressure cooker for 6–8 whistles until it softens up. Rajma can be used as it is or you can make a mash out of it.

Making the grilled chicken
l Marinate the chicken with salt, pepper, yoghurt, mustard sauce and lemon juice).
l Grill the chicken for 4 minutes on each side or until it is tender.

Plating the dish
l Take a nice bowl and plate the grilled chicken, salsa, beans, black rice and cheese. Top it all up with sour cream, olives, jalapeños and the tomato sauce.
Your burrito bowl is now ready to be served.

Though the name sounds a bit deceiving, given below is the chef’s take on Hyderabadi Meethe Chaawal using black rice.

l Black rice: 1 cup
l Jaggery: 1 cup
l Coconut powder: 1 cup
l Cardamom: 3 pods
l Almonds: ½ cup
l Milk: 1 ½ cup
l Walnuts: ¼ cup
l Ghee: ½ cup

Method of preparation:
l Soak black rice overnight. (This step is a must as black rice takes longer to soften.)
l Boil the milk with the cardamom pods and grated coconut in it.
l Add jaggery to the above and cook until it dissolves.
l Add the soaked black rice to this and continue stirring.
l Blend the almonds with ½ cup water to make a smooth paste.
l Add the almond paste to the rice mixture and continue stirring.
l Gradually add ghee and keep stirring until the ghee dissolves and merges well with the rice.
l Once the rice is cooked, take it off the stove.
l Garnish with walnuts.
l Serve chilled.


l Black Rice: 1 cup
l Cashews: 1 ½ cup
l Milk: 1 litre
l Dates: 1 cup
l Almonds: ½ cup
l Cardamom: 2 pods
l Dates (deseeded and made a paste)
l Ghee for frying cashews
l Fruits for presentation (e.g., strawberries)

Method of preparation:
l Soak the black rice and almonds separately overnight.
l Add black rice to some water and grind to get to a coarse consistency and set it aside.
l Grind the soaked almonds with water to get to a coarse consistency and set it aside.
l Boil the milk with cardamom and add dates’ paste to it.
l Add the black rice to this and continue stirring.
l Blend 1 cup cashews with 1 cup water and keep it aside.
l Add the cashew paste to the kheer and continue cooking.
l Add the almond mixture to the kheer and continue cooking.
l In a separate pan, deep fry cashews in ghee and set them aside.
l Once the rice is cooked and the kheer is of desired consistency, take it off the pan. (If it is not of the consistency you prefer, add more water and cook it to the desired consistency.)
l Let it cool down. Garnish with fruits and refrigerate.

Tags: natural immunity boster, black rice, recipes
Location: India, Telangana, Hyderabad