What Is Chinese Forbidden Black Rice? Plus 10 Raw Vegan Meal Ideas

Updated on March 4, 2020
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Adrienna is a home cook who loves plant-based recipes and wants to share them with others.

I’ve got some really exciting news for the raw foodies and vegans out there, or anyone who wants to incorporate more raw food into their diet.

Chinese forbidden black rice is the only rice that can be eaten raw after soaking overnight. Note: Do not confuse forbidden black rice with wild rice. Both are black in color, but they are not the same thing!

In this article I’m going to give you the answers to these questions:

  1. What is Chinese forbidden black rice?
  2. Why is it called forbidden?
  3. Why is it called a superfood?
  4. Why can I eat this rice raw—but not other kinds of rice?
  5. Where do I get it?

Then I’m going to show you 10 ways you can eat and enjoy this special rice raw.

What Is Forbidden Black Rice?

First things first: Chinese forbidden black rice and wild rice are often confused, since they are both black in color, but they are not the same thing.

However, wild rice is actually not rice, but a grass. It’s a native long black grain of North America and was traditionally grown “wild” in lake and river wetlands.

Black rice is from the rice family and is a true short grain. A flavonoid called anthocyanin is what causes the black rice to have its dark color. Once you soak the rice you’ll see it’s actually purple, but before soaking the pigment is so dark it appears black. Hence the name, black rice. Anthocyanin is also what gives eggplant and blackberries their color.

Here’s a side by side photo of the two rices so you can see their differences. The Chinese forbidden black rice is on the left and the wild rice is on the right.

Chinese forbidden black rice (left); wild rice (right)
Chinese forbidden black rice (left); wild rice (right)

Why Is It Called Forbidden?

Chinese forbidden black rice is an heirloom rice that goes back thousands of years to ancient China. It’s an uncommon, difficult and expensive rice to farm, so the rice was forbidden to be eaten by the commoners. The rice was reserved for only the emperor to ensure his health and longevity.

The rice was known to have special healing nutritive properties that the other common rices didn’t have. Due to the times, the common rice was left to the commoners and the rare superfood black rice was reserved for royalty. Well, it’s not forbidden anymore, but the name stuck.

Why Is It Called a Superfood?

Forbidden black rice has a much more impressive nutritional profile than white and brown rice. Although white and brown rice are healthy, too, forbidden black rice crushes it when it comes to a comparison of nutritional properties. Other rices have most of the same nutritional components as the black rice, just not as much.

These are some of the minerals and vitamins found in black rice:

  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • B Vitamins

Black rice is a complete protein with a full amino acid profile. It also has more protein and fiber than the other rices. The black rice glycemic index is also lower than the white and brown rice due to its higher protein and fiber content.

However, the supernutrient that forbidden black rice has that the other rices do not have is the flavonoid anthocyanin. Anthocyanin is an antioxidant that is a free radical scavenger that has anti-viral action. It also promotes brain health, eye health, and immune system health.

Why Is This the Only Type of Rice I Can Eat Raw?

Eating any other rice raw is not recommended. Black rice blooms when soaked overnight, and this is why it can be eaten raw.

The hard outer shell of the black rice (also known as the hull) will bloom during overnight soaking. Blooming means the rice softens and the hull breaks open exposing the innards of the rice as if it were cooked. So even though it’s raw, it has the texture of being cooked.

You can soak white and brown rice overnight, but it won’t bloom. Those rices must be cooked in order to bloom and become soft and edible.

To bloom the forbidden black rice, simply cover the rice grain in plenty of fresh, pure water and leave on your kitchen counter overnight, at least 12 hours. The rice will be ready to eat raw the next day.

Where Can I Buy Forbidden Black Rice?

Since forbidden black rice isn’t well known or as popular as white and brown rice, it is not as easy to find at typical grocery stores. If you do find it at a grocery store, it will be at the type of store that caters to the health crowd. Black rice can come either in a box or in the bulk food department if the store has one. And of course, you can find it on Amazon.

10 Meal Ideas for Raw Vegans

Here are 10 raw black rice vegan meal suggestions! Enjoy.

1. Zoodles and Raw Rice No-Meatballs

Make your own Italian herb marinara with either raw or cooked tomatoes.
Make your own Italian herb marinara with either raw or cooked tomatoes.

2. Stuffed Mushrooms

Combine your favorite herbs and minced veggies to the raw black rice stuffing.
Combine your favorite herbs and minced veggies to the raw black rice stuffing.

3. Cheesy Rice

This is a raw vegan cheese sauce added to the black rice.
This is a raw vegan cheese sauce added to the black rice.

4. Black Rice Salad

Add a heaping pile of black rice to your favorite garden veggies for a protein-packed green salad.
Add a heaping pile of black rice to your favorite garden veggies for a protein-packed green salad.

5. Black Rice With Coconut Cream And Mango

Raw black rice smothered in fresh coconut cream and mangoes (or another favorite fruit)
Raw black rice smothered in fresh coconut cream and mangoes (or another favorite fruit)

6. Raw Veggie Nori Rolls

Finally, a raw rice to make veggie sushi with!
Finally, a raw rice to make veggie sushi with!

7. Roasted Red Bell Pepper Sauce Over Black Rice

This sauce is made from (cooked) roasted peppers, but the rice is wonderfully raw.
This sauce is made from (cooked) roasted peppers, but the rice is wonderfully raw.

8. No-Bake Banana Date Raw Black Rice Muffins

Not the most photogenic muffins, but they are sweet and delicious!
Not the most photogenic muffins, but they are sweet and delicious!

9. Black Rice Tacos

Season with Mexican spices, and you've got a wonderful raw vegan taco meat!
Season with Mexican spices, and you've got a wonderful raw vegan taco meat!

10. Raw Vegan Cheeseburger

Sandwiched between two portabello mushroom buns, this seasoned raw black rice patty makes the burger!
Sandwiched between two portabello mushroom buns, this seasoned raw black rice patty makes the burger!

Video Version of This Article

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 CleanFoodLiving

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