During dynasty rule in China black rice was consumed exclusively by the royals for the tremendous health benefits particularly for greater longevity. Hence it was mentioned in ancient Chinese literature as Emperor’s Rice & Fortune Rice. In those days black rice was forbidden to general public. It was even considered an offence to consume black rice or grow black rice crops without royal permission, so it was widely known as the Forbidden Rice. At the dawn of communism in China people were granted to grow Forbidden Rice crops. Soon Emperor’s Rice reached the hands of ordinary people, and in due course black rice cultivation was spread to different parts of world. Initially black rice was brought to south India by the affluent business community in Chettinad, and they take pride in including an exotic kavuni arisi sweet (black rice pudding) in their lavish wedding banquets even today.
Health Benefits of Black Rice:
Since black rice is gluten free and also has a low glycemic index (GI), we can consider it as a healthier alternate to wheat and rice. Black rice has exceptionally high amounts of anti-oxidants called anthocyanins which play a vital role to prevent cancer, heart diseases, and also obesity. All the purple, blue or pink fruits & vegetables like purple cabbage, purple brinjal, purple berries (nava pazham/ jamun), blue berries, plums, prunes, grapes, pomegranates, pink radish, beet roots, rajma beans, black rice, red rice, etc. are the rich sources of anthocyanins.
Black Kavuni Arisi Recipes:
Chinese use black rice for making soups, salads and desserts. Generally black rice requires over-night soaking to reduce the cooking time and also to minimize the loss of nutrients. Hard black rice grains turn sticky, chewy & purple when cooked, so it is ideal for making desserts like payasam, kheer, sakkarai pongal, etc. Besides we can grind black rice into batter for making south Indian specialties like idli, dosa, adai, or paniyaram. Also we can use black rice flour to prepare gluten free chappathi, idiyappam, puttu, kozhukattai, modhagam, murukku, adhirasam, chocolate cake, etc.
Chettinad Kavuni Arisi Sweet:
Chinese prepare sticky black rice pudding by adding coconut milk & sugar and serve with fresh seasonal fruits. Chettinad kavuni arisi sweet is prepared by adding grated coconut and jaggery into the cooked rice. Now I have prepared Chettinad style black rice pudding and garnished with fresh mango slices.
How to cook kavuni arisi:
First we need to wash & soak the black rice in plain water for at least 5 hours. Then we can pressure cook the rice by simmering for 20 minutes after reaching the high pressure. Since the cooked black rice turns sticky and glutinous after a while we can use the water in the ratio of 1:5.
- Cooked black rice (karuppu kavuni arisi)
- Jaggery (vellam)
- Grated coconut
- Ghee-roasted cashewnuts
- Cardamom powder
- Heat a cooking pan with cooked black rice in medium flame.
- Add powdered jaggery and stir in until incorporated.
- Add cardamom powder, grated coconut and roasted cashew nuts.
- Mix well and remove from flame.
- Serve kavuni arisi warm or chilled garnished with mango slices.