Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Summer Salad: Forbidden Rice

Here's a vibrant summer dish I can't get enough of - Forbidden Rice Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Bell Peppers, and Scallions. The bright color combo is as pleasing as the nutty flavor of the rice and fragrant addition of the sesame oil. I first had this salad from the prepared section at Whole Foods. Now that I can make it on my own, I can't stop eating it! Maybe that's why it's forbidden? Actually, black rice is one of several heirloom varieties, high in nutritional value (including iron). Rich in fiber, it has a mild, nutty taste. Its deep black color turns purple when cooked (it also stained my wooden spoon). During China's Ming Dynasty, the rice was called "tribute rice" or "longevity rice" and reserved for Emperors to ensure their good health and long life.

2 cups forbidden rice
3 1/2 cups water
2 tbsp tamari soy sauce (I used wheat free)
3 tbsp unrefined, expeller pressed sesame oil
1 pound sweet potatoes (diced and cubed)
3/4 cup diced yellow peppers
3/4 cup diced red peppers
1/2 bunch sliced green onions (aka scallions)
Sea salt & ground pepper to taste

Bring rice (I used the brand Lotus Foods, pictured above), water, and salt to a boil, cover, lower heat, and let simmer for 30 minutes. Turn heat off and let sit while you whisk together soy sauce and sesame oil. Toss the rice and liquid, covering completely. Let the rice cool, then add sweet potatoes, peppers, onions, salt and pepper. I also squeezed fresh lime juice over the dinner. Chill, then serve this colorful creation.

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