Rice

Thai Forbidden Rice Salad

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From Food 2.0 by Charlie Ayers. 

I like warm salads.  Or room temperature.  I'm not always in the mood for cold healthy stuff, you know?  I also like my salads to have texture.  And maybe something unexpected.  And I want my salads to dare me – DARE ME – not to have more.  That's what I want in a salad.  I'm not asking too much, am I?

So when I was paging through Food 2.0 early on, this was one of the recipes that caught my eye right away.  I've cooked with Thai Forbidden Rice before

{Hear that scratchy sound?  That's me pulling the needle off the record.  I received a comment from one of the co-founders and co-owners of Lotus Foods (Hi Caryl!) who pointed out some errors in this post, and, by extension, perhaps, Mr. Ayers' recipe.}  Here is her comment:

Hi and thanks for the beautiful blog using Lotus Foods Forbidden Rice®; gorgeous photos and i can't wait to try the recipe as well. Just wanted to correct some mistakes on content; Forbidden Rice is a registered trade mark of lotus foods and should not be confused with Thai black rice which is also known as purple sticky rice. (Perhaps I should write to the charlie ayers as well). Thought you may want to know that Forbidden Rice not only looks and tastes great but has very high nutritional value as well; in chinese medicinal medicine they say it is a blood tonifier, aids in the circulation of the blood and is high in chi. It invigorates the spleen and brightens the eyes. Black foods are considered kidney tonics. Thanks again and have a rice day, caryl co-founder/co-owner lotus foods

Thank you, Caryl – and I'm sorry for the misinformation I was putting forth!   Thank you for correcting me!  I appreciate it!

Oops. 

Back to my enthusing.  I've used Lotus Foods Forbidden Rice before – I love black foods.  (Well, usually.)  Maybe it's the visual drama.  I don't know.  But I digress.

Here's what a package of the rice looks like, at least in my local stores:

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Lotus Foods also produces a number of other rices, some organic, including this extremely adorable and petite Kalirira rice, which I just bought recently and haven't used yet.  The grains are TINY.  I measured one.  3/8 of an inch!  I love tiny and cute.

But ANYWAY.  Back to the forbidden rice.  According to Lotus Foods' site, "Legend tells us that this ancient grain was once eaten exclusively by the Emperors."  Fortunately all that is past history, and we commoners are free to eat this beautiful grain, too.  When forbidden rice cooks, it turns from black to a dark, dark purple.  Kind of like that black/purple iris* outside in my garden that I would love to photograph while it's in bloom, but it's so darn windy that I can't get a good shot.  I'm full of digression today, aren't I? 

Perhaps I should just get on with the recipe.  It's simple and bursting with flavors.  Really, you should try it.

According to Charlie Ayers, here's what you need:

1 cup Thai black rice (also called forbidden rice)

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kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

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2 T tamari (soy sauce brewed purely from soybeans, not like shoyu, which is a blend of soybeans and wheat)

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2 tsp toasted sesame oil

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juice of 1/2 lime

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1/2 tsp sambal oelek  or other hot chili paste

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1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews

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1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped

1/2 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped

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6 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced

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Put the rice, 2 cups water, and a pinch of salt in a pan.  Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce the heat, and simmer gently until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the tamari, sesame oil, lime juice, and sambal oelek or chili paste together in a salad bowl. 

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Add the cashews, red and yellow bell peppers, and green onions.

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When the rice is ready, add it to the mixture

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and toss to coat everything well. 

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Add salt, pepper, and additional sambal oelek or lime juice to taste.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

If you can't get Thai black rice, try wild rice, or wild rice mixed with long grain rice, instead, and cook according to package directions.

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I served this dish Saturday, when our friend John was here to brew beer with my husband and to talk food with both of us.  Here are bits and pieces (my notes were not entirely legible and he spoke quickly while my husband laughed) what John had to say about this salad:

"…vegetal…sweet but not in a bad way…every ingredient jumps out and tells you what it is while the rice remains a toothsome counterpoint to the supporting cast." 

Yes.  That's how John talks when he has a mind to.  The thing is – his words are a perfect summation of this dish.

Go get yourself some No-Longer-Forbidden-To-Us-Common-Folk black rice and make this tonight. 

I dare you.

* P.S.  That black/purple iris I mentioned?  While I was sitting here by the window, typing this post, I looked outside, just to look at all the irises that are blooming right now, and – my black/purple iris was GONE.  I gasped (yes, I did) and looked more closely at that part of the garden, and there, on the ground, was that iris stalk, with the huge dark flower at one end and several buds growing out of the rest of the stalk.  AND, there was a squirrel there, too, CHOMPING ON MY IRIS.  I ran out the front door and grabbed the iris stalk from the ground.  The squirrel had wisely fled.  And so now that iris is in a glass of water in my kitchen.  The original flower is damaged – petals creased and dirty from the fall.  But there will be at least two more blooms, and you can bet every grain of forbidden rice out there that I will take some awesome pictures of them.  So there, rotten squirrel!)

23 thoughts on “Thai Forbidden Rice Salad

  1. Hi and thanks for the beautiful blog using Lotus Foods Forbidden Rice®; gorgeous photos and i can’t wait to try the recipe as well.

    Just wanted to correct some mistakes on content; Forbidden Rice is a registered trade mark of lotus foods and should not be confused with Thai black rice which is also known as purple sticky rice. (Perhaps I should write to the charlie ayers as well).

    Thought you may want to know that Forbidden Rice not only looks and tastes great but has very high nutritional value as well; in chinese medicinal medicine they say it is a blood tonifier, aids in the circulation of the blood and is high in chi. It invigorates the spleen and brightens the eyes. Black foods are considered kidney tonics.

    Thanks again and have a rice day,
    caryl
    co-founder/co-owner
    lotus foods

  2. I made this salad for a co-workers fish fry…

    I was tasty but, a bit spicy for the masses…

    I will definately make it again with a little less chili paste…

    Also, we did not have that “fun” rice so I had to use a wild rice mix but, it was still good…

  3. I developed a recipe very much like this one, but in addition to the other ingredients try using some diced fresh pineapple and mango (both available in the winter). What a pick-me-up for the winter blues!

  4. I tried this with shallot instead of the green onions and regular soy sauce instead of tamari, since that’s what I had on hand. It was delicious! Will use this recipe often, or maybe even add/change it up a bit!

  5. I’ve had this before, but never tried making it. Thanks for the recipe!!! Will this recipe serve about 4-6 people? Thinking of bringins as side dish to Thanksgiving, but have no idea how much to make. Thanks!

  6. I checked the book on this one, and the recipe says it serves 4. I’d say double it, just to be safe. It keeps well for a few days – if it lasts that long!

  7. Funny coincidence. The bulk isle in my grocery carries forbidden rice and I keep meaning to find an excuse to try it. And, tomorrow I have to make a room temp salad-ish dish for a potluck at my wife’s workplace – ideally a vegetarian, vegan dish (although word has it that I shouldn’t worry about allergies to nuts). I can tell by reading and looking at the pictures that a close variation on this recipe is going to be delicious, so, thank you!

  8. (Reports back from the potluck indicate that, indeed, it came out not bad (and chef’s sampling agrees). In fact, the URL for this post was requested!)

  9. So glad it came out well and that people liked it!! You mentioned you’d be doing a close variation on it – what did you do for your version that was different?

  10. There is a restaurant in L.A. on Sunset that creates a delicious garlic stir fry dish with black rice. My first foray into eating forbidden rice. I was intrigued with the idea of something being forbidden, natural, and delicious.

    How could it not be good?

  11. FYI I have made a recipe very similar to yours , for my garden club pot luck.A second request for another potluck has me making it again.I did not use Lotus brand and found it needed at least 45 minutes to get the rice tender.I also had lots of cherry tomatoes from my garden that added more color to a beautiful dish

  12. Great recipe. I went looking for ideas for a salad made with black rice and veggies: perfect match, and the kind of seasonings I like. And got some good ideas from other readers as well. Hope that Lotus Foods gets over the idea that they “own” the term forbidden rice. They may have copyrighted it, but it won’t hold up to a challenge. Unless they want to try to claim that capitalizing it takes it out of common use.

  13. I am a little turned off because Lotus foods would have the gall to trademark a common name for this rice. I do like this variety however, and I really could give a ssh*t about Lotus foods and their snooty business practices.

  14. That looks awesome. I had some fat bing cherries on hand and used those instead of mango, plus cashew with the almond. Oh my, it was mighty! Thanks for the recipe!

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