This is black rice; not wild rice or toasted white rice. The rice is short-grain and just as dark as can be. The Emperor of China used to love it and it was believed to be an aphrodisiac. Apparently, he’d forbid his subjects to eat it, it was meant only for him. In any case, it has lots of nutrients, much more so than regular rice.
This black rice is now produced in Italy, and I bought it at a grocery store in Beirut.
Cooking this rice is like any other rice; bring a liquid (at least double the volume of rice) to a simmer and drop the rice in it. It cooks in about 45 minutes and releases a nice nutty fragrance during the process.
INGREDIENTS: 6 servings
- 1 cup of black rice (can substitute any short-grain white rice, just reduce the cooking time)
- 2 cups of sliced calamari or shrimps
- 1 large onion
- 1/4 cup of tomato paste (the equivalent of 3 tablespoons)
- 1 tbsp of hot red pepper paste (optional)
- pinch of saffron diluted in 1 tbsp of hot water
- 2 1/2 cups of fish stock or water
- salt, to taste
- 1 tsp of coriander (optional)
- olive oil, as needed
- Chop the onion and fry in some olive oil or butter. When the onion is translucent, add the sliced calamari or shrimp and briefly cook for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time. The cooking time for shrimp is very short, whereas the cooking time for calamari is long and slow. If using shrimp, remove from the pan and reserve. If cooking calamari, add the spices (including the saffron) and toss then add the rice and toss a few seconds.
- Add 2 1/2 cups of fish stock or water and the tomato paste and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and cook the rice and calamari for 45 minutes until the rice has absorbed the liquid and the calamari is tender. Serve with some radishes and (or) grilled shrimps or more calamari. If using shrimp, toss the rice with the fried shrimps and serve.