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Friday, Sep 19, 2014
Health & Fitness

A forbidden take on a healthy rice pudding


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Speaking as a mom and a chef, let me assure you — one of the nicest things you can do for Mom on Mother’s Day (yes, it’s tomorrow!) is cook for her. Something sweet is best. And my candidate? Comforting, traditional rice pudding.

Or maybe not so traditional. Classic rice puddings are made from plain white rice. The grains are very tender, the flavor is kind of bland, and the color is white. In my recipe, which is made using black forbidden rice, the grains are slightly chewy, the flavor is slightly nutty, and the color is deep purple.

Once upon a time forbidden rice was said to be literally forbidden. First cultivated in China, forbidden rice was so rare — and so nutritious — no one was allowed to eat it except for the emperor. Today, forbidden rice is considered a delicious and healthy whole grain we all can enjoy.

Like brown rice, forbidden rice is unpolished; the hull of the grain, a rich source of insoluble fiber, is left intact. It’s also a good source of iron and vitamin E, and a great source of the same antioxidants that put the blue in blueberries. I was first introduced to forbidden rice six years ago, when it was still rare. Thankfully, these days it’s readily available at most grocers.

I’d like to encourage you to top it all it off with some crystallized ginger, as suggested. It was one of my mom’s favorite little treats and it provides the perfect finishing touch of chewy, spicy contrast to the creamy pudding.

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