Black rice seafood pilaf

March 21, 2012  •  Category:


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
  1. 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. 
  2. 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.



19 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Margaret says:

    I just bought some black rice at the local Whole Foods. Interesting looking rice. Anxious to try it. This may be just the thing!! Seafood is always a winner here.

  2. Rosa says:

    A marvelous rice¨This pilaf must be very enjoyable.



  3. Belinda @zomppa says:

    I think I need to have a bowl of this – it looks so fresh and light and complex at the same time.

  4. Caffettiera says:

    I believe this is what I have bought under the name ‘riso venere’: venus rice. It has a very strong and nice smell and I agree it goes particularly well with sea food.

  5. Jamie says:

    oooh this is beautiful rice and certainly much more elegant than its white counterpart. I love this seafood dish – the flavorings are beautiful and perfect! Wonderful!

  6. ciaochowlinda says:

    A neighbor just gave me some of this rice today and I’m thrilled to have found your post on the topic and this recipe. I’ll definitely be trying this.

  7. Jeannie says:

    I have not tried cooking this in a savory form before, usually sweet with coconut milk…this savory version sounds delicious!

  8. Chiara says:

    Riso Venere is perfect with seafood,lovely recipe Joumana, have a good day…

  9. bananawonder says:

    It is very sexy rice, and great to go with shrimp, which is also very sexy. There is a sushi joint near my parents house in Huntington Beach which serves black rice sushi – stepping it up!

  10. Mark Wisecarver says:

    Yes indeed, makes beautiful Sushi.
    I’m a Sushi Chef, the “forbidden rice” is not only lovely with Nori but the pigment it has contains Anthocyanin, which makes it very rich in nutrients.

  11. T.W. Barritt says:

    I’ve heard of black rice but have yet to see it in the stores I visit. You’ve enticed me with your description of the nutty aroma!

  12. rebecca says:

    looks great I have cooked with it once

  13. Laura@Silkroadgourme says:

    Looks delicious!

    I am a fan of different rices – black or “forbidden” rice is a favorite as is Burmese (Himalayan) red rice which is also nutty and delicious.


  14. Susan says:

    I have cooked black squid ink pasta with seafood but have never tried black rice. This sounds so delicious and I will be looking for it!

  15. Ol says:

    I have tried wild rice and red Thai rice but never black, I must search for it!

    Life and travelling

  16. Oui, Chef says:

    I adore black rice….what a beautiful plate it makes here.

  17. Gaby says:

    this “forbidden” rice is also very popular here in Malaysia, where we call it “pulut hitam”, literally meaning black glutinous rice; in Malaysia rice is generally categorised into two, namely “beras” (medium- and long-grain rice) and “pulut” (short-grain rice, of which most varieties are much stickier than “beras” when cooked, hence the adjective “glutinous”)…
    …in Malaysian cuisine black rice is most famous for being made into a sweet dessert with other local ingredients like “santan” (coconut milk/cream, sometimes substituted with fresh milk in recent times for health reasons), “gula melaka” (palm molasses), “daun pandan” (screwpine/pandanus leaves, tied into a knot and added for flavouring, but mostly discarded upon serving) and sometimes with a handful of sago pearls, strips of sweet ripe jackfruit, mango etc.; we call it “bubur pulut hitam”, which may seem unusual for some because nothing in its name indicates that it’s a dessert, especially since “bubur” is the Malay word for porridge…
    …by the way your recipe calling for black rice in a pilaf is oh so tempting, even more so because I happen to be a big, big fan of shrimp, calamari and prawns…thanks for sharing this!!!!

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