April 13, 2011

Black rice and shitake salad

I get so excited when I find a rice variety I haven't yet tried. I normally use long grain brown rice, but I do love red rice and now my new favourite - black rice. Black rice has a nutty flavour, distinctively black colour (hence the name) and is more nutritious than your average plain white rice. Once cooked it colours everything with a gorgeous purple hue, including your lips when you eat it!

This is a perfect rice for warm vegetarian salads like this one. I've paired it with Japanese flavours - shitake mushrooms and wakame (dried seaweed), both of which lift this dish to a whole new level. Shitake mushrooms are my favourite, I adore their strong flavour and prefer to cook with fresh rather than the dried ones. If you can't find fresh shitake, however, you can try using the dried variety.

Black rice and shitake salad
(Serves 2-4)

1 cup black rice (wholegrain, non-glutinous)
2 1/4 cups water
piece of konbu

1 tbsp olive oil
100g fresh shitake mushrooms, sliced
2 shallot greens/spring onions, chopped
pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper
pinch of chili flakes
1 tbsp brown rice vinegar
1 tbsp wakame, soaked in cold water and drained
2 tbsp black sesame seeds, toasted 
1 tsp sesame oil

1. Place the rice along with konbu in a saucepan and pour the water on top. Bring to boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes or until the rice is cooked.

2. Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan and add the shallots/green onions and the mushrooms. Sautee for a couple of minutes and season with a pinch of salt, freshly ground black pepper and chilli flakes.

3. Once the rice is cooked let is sit in the saucepan, covered, for a few minutes. Then pour it into a large bowl  and add in brown rice vinegar, wakame, toasted black sesame seeds and sesame oil. Finally add in the mushrooms and fold everything together.

4. Serve warm.