Featured Ingredient: Forbidden Black Rice
I’m always on the look out for unique, tasty foods to use in my muffin tin creations. Black rice from China definitely fits the bill. Also called Forbidden Rice®, Chinese lore says that this guise of rice was reserved only for emperors in ancient China because of its ability to promote longevity and good health.
Recently, scientists at Louisiana State University Agricultural Center reported that black rice (its more like a really deep purple color) is brimming with antioxidants including the same anthocyanins found in blueberries. It’s the antioxidants that lend this rice its striking hue. This on top of all the other benefits that come with a whole grain rice such as extra fiber, vitamins and minerals.
With a rich, nutty taste and chewy texture, look for it at an increasing number of health food stores. For the recipe below, I used the black Forbidden Rice® from forward-thinking Lotus Foods. Keep in mind that this is not the same rice as black sticky rice used in Asian desserts.
These cakes are beautiful in their simplicity. Feel free to sub out the tofu for diced chicken breast. The easy to make sweet and spicy sauce really completes the dish. Make these and bring them for lunch to elicit a few “wows” at the office.
Does anyone have any other ideas for using this splendid rice in a muffin tin?
Black Rice Tofu Cakes with Sweet and Spicy Sauce
1 cup black rice
3 large eggs
½ block tofu, diced into small cubes
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup rice wine
1/8 cup sugar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1-2 Tbsp garlic chili sauce, depending on how hot you want the sauce
1 garlic clove, grated
½-inch fresh ginger, grated
In a small saucepan, combine rice with 1 ¾ cup water. Bring to a boil, reduced heat and simmer covered for about 30 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Let cool.
Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs. Stir in rice, tofu, thyme, salt and pepper.
Divide mixture among 12 prepared muffin cups. Cook for 15 minutes or until set.
As rice cakes cook, bring rice wine and sugar to a simmer in a small saucepan and cook until sugar is dissolved. Stir in soy sauce and simmer until slightly reduced and thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in chili sauce, garlic, and ginger.
Serve cakes topped with sauce.