I do have a fascination for black rice. Or for that matter fruits and vegetables that are a rich burgundy or purple in colour. There was a jar of the fabled grain waiting for me when I got home. The first recipe I made (from this stock) was this kheer. It's not often that we get the freshest variety but if someone we know, happens to go to the neighbouring state of Manipur where it is known as Chak-Hao, our little share finds its way to my kitchen.:) Rich in antioxidants and in vitamin E, black rice is glutinous and has a nutty texture. It is also very fragrant so the aroma that fills the house while it is being cooked is wonderful!
|Black rice of Manipur.|
Black rice also known as purple rice is a range of rice types of the species Oryza sativa L. some of which are glutinous. Varieties include but are not limited to Indonesian black rice and Thai jasmine black rice. Black rice is high in nutritional value and is a source of iron, vitamin E, and antioxidants (more than in blueberries). The bran of black rice contains one of the highest levels of anthocyanin antioxidants found in food. The grain has a similar amount of fiber to brown rice and like brown rice, has a mild nutty taste. In China, black rice is claimed to be good for the kidney, stomach and liver. It is suitable for making porridge, dessert, traditional Chinese black rice cake or bread. Noodles have been produced from black rice.
Sometimes I add some raisins but mostly just a little garnish with nuts is enough. I used pistachios here mainly because the light green looks so good against the purple.
1/2 cup black rice
11/2 litres milk
250ml condensed milk
3 bruised cardamom pods
A handful of chopped pistachios
A scattering of dried rose petals
|Special ingredients...dried rose petals & pistachios|
Meanwhile put the milk on the stove and let it thicken considerably.
Add the bruised cardamom pods. Despite the fragrance of the rice, I added the cardamoms out of sheer habit.:)
Transfer the bowl of rice along with the water to a heavy-bottomed pan. (This water can be discarded but with the nutrients in it, I didn't want to waste a drop!)
Cook till the water almost dries up and then add the thickened milk. If you like, you can remove the cardamom pods at this point.
Stir the kheer in between so that it doesn't catch at the bottom. The flame should be medium.
When the rice is almost done (after about 20 minutes) and the mixture thickens further, add the condensed milk.
Give it a good stir and cook for another 10-12 minutes or so.
Remove from the flame and let it cool.
Transfer to a serving dish or into individual bowls and garnish with the pistachios and scatter the dried rose petals on top.
On hot days, the kheer can be chilled for about an hour. But it had been raining these past few days and the weather is cool now. So we had it at room temperature. It was creamy and fragrant and nutty, all at once. And the colour purple is enough to make you feel you're treating yourself to something special!