Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Chinese Black Rice and Bibimbap

I received my January/February Cook's Illustrated about a week ago and in the Notes From Readers section, there was a question about black rice.  Here's what CI had to say:

Like brown rice, black rice is unpolished, meaning that the hull of the grain--a rich source of insoluble fiber--is still intact,  But only black rice contains anthocyanins, the same antioxidant compounds that make blueberries and blackberries such a valuable addition to our diets.  These compounds are what turn the rice a deep purple as it cooks.

Many varieties and brands of black rice are available; we cooked up Forbidden Rice by Lotus Foods, adding 3 1/2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon water to 2 cups of rice and cooking it covered over low heat.  The grains were tender in just 30 minutes (about half the time it takes to cook brown rice).  The cooked grains remained distinct and firm to the bite, with tasters describing the flavor as pleasantly nutty and slightly sweet.  As an even more nutritious, quicker-cooking alternative to brown rice, what's not to like?

With such a ringing endorsement from CI, what could I do but try black rice?

I found my rice in the bulk food section of the grocery store, and I cooked it according to the directions provided: 1 cup of rice to 1 3/4 cup water.  The rice was done in about 35 minutes and lived up to expectations--chewy, nutty and flavorful!

So, what did I serve with my black rice?  Why, bibimbap, of course!

Every Saturday, I crave Korean food.  I'm not sure what what started it, but ever since we began taking Duncan to doggie classes on Saturday mornings back in July, when lunchtime rolls around, I'm ready for Korean BBQ and all its accompanying fermented garnishes.  To make matters worse, in October I experienced Revel for the first time.  It's an incredibly addictive Korean/French restaurant down in Fremont, and just thinking about their egg bowls and BBQ pork sets my mouth to watering, even after a hearty breakfast!  Seeing as how it's the holiday season and we just shelled out $1100 to fix my little white Saturn, we're experiencing only home-cooked meals for awhile, so I needed to re-create that tantalizing pork and those crunchy-spicy veggies at home.

It's not grilling season, and even the temptation of crispy grilled pork couldn't get me to huddle over my BBQ, so instead I used a basic slow-cooker recipe.  The arugula salad is an inspiration from Revel, and tastes amazing slightly wilted with the egg on top.

The best part of my Korean food experiment is that it fed us for days.  I'd say this one pot of pork and accompanying ingredients lasted Ben and I and a couple of our friends for 7 meals!

Here are the parts of my Korean-inspired egg bowl. 
To assemble, pile it on in whatever proportions you like!

Black rice: See above for cooking instructions

Kimchi: Purchased at my local Asian food store

Egg: Fried sunny side up in a bit of butter

Salad: Arugula tossed with a light dressing made of champagne vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard, salt and sugar

Pickled veggies: 1 shredded carrot, 1 cup bean sprouts, 1 cubed cucumber, mixed with 1 cup seasoned rice vinegar and left to sit for at least 30 minutes

Peppery Asian Ribs
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Biggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes

3 1/2 pounds country-style pork ribs
6 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup GF tamari
1/4 cup molasses
2 T brown sugar
2 T hoisin sauce (I used 1 more T of brown sugar instead because I have yet to find GF hoisin)
2 T white wine vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp hot pepper oil
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp white pepper
  1. Place pork ribs in a slow cooker.
  2. In a small bowl, combine all other ingredients and pour over pork ribs, turning to coat.
  3. Cover and cook 8 to 10 hours on low, or 4 to 5 hours on high.


  1. That looks fantastic! I'm going to have to get brave and try black rice.

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