I enjoy preparing different main courses and even bread with rice. It is a very nutritious grain. However several techniques employed to refine it make its impact on our health much less effective. Even negative, in case of excessive consumption, as suggested by this study on the relationship between rice intake and diabetes. Why it is so? During the milling process its husk is removed to get “brown rice”, which retains several thin layers of wholesome bran and is still full of nutrients, vitamins and protein. Afterwards the refining process, which should stop here, go on until all the bran is peeled off and polished. Here it is rice into the shiny and white version we all know.
At this final stage many proteins and antioxidants are gone for good. Why do we have to mill rice so heavily and get a much less healthy aliment? I’m not sure I understand the logic that’s behind food processing, if there’s a logic and not only strategies for profit, which I fear is the case. As a great alternative to brown rice, which doesn’t amaze my ignorant taste buds, I recently tried Black Rice, also known as “Forbidden Rice” (forbidden by the biggest food corporations?).
It retains all its nutrients because it is a non refined variety of brown rice. Just a spoonful of it contains more anthocyanin antioxidants than in a spoonful of blueberries, it has also less sugar, more fiber and vitamin E. And it tastes great. Is it all about pros? No, it comes with just one negative aspect: a longer cooking time. 40 minutes are required to discover the real and genuine taste of rice. Needless to say, I believe it’s worth waiting for.
Black rice risotto with roasted tomato
- 160 grams black rice
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 1 medium aubergine
- 1 garlic clove
- olive oil
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- salt to taste
- Heat a little olive oil in a saucepan and add finely sliced garlic. Stir fry for a few minutes until garlic turns golden brown.
- Add the rice. Stir well then add 1 cup of water and let it simmer. When all the water is absorbed add another cup of water. Keep simmering, checking from time to time if more water is needed. Cook for about 40 minutes.
- Meantime cut the cherry tomatoes in half and the aubergine width-wise so to get 1/2 cm thick slices to cut again in half. Put everything on a oiled tray. Season with salt, oregano and drizzle with oil. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees for about 20 minutes.
- Mix rice, tomatoes and aubergine all together. Top your dish off with a few tomatoes and drizzle with fresh olive oil.