Thai Style Forbidden Rice w/Coconut Milk & Autumn Vegetables

 2015-10-22 20.21.12Inspired by a fabulous dish I had at Zest restaurant in Salt Lake City, here is the version I created.

Black rice has been eaten in regions of Asia for thousands of years; in fact for centuries it was reserved for only Chinese royalty. Despite being less popular than brown or wild rice, black rice – known as forbidden rice – is an ancient grain that has even more impressive health benefits than most other closely related rice varieties.

It is very high in the antioxidant anthocyanin, which causes its deep black or purple color, as it does in blueberries or blackberries. Black rice contains less sugar than regular rice, more fiber & vitamin E, enhancing its anti-oxidative property. It is absorbed into the digestive tract more slowly than ordinary white rice, hence, it doesn’t spike blood sugar levels.

Serves 4 -6


Black rice:

  • 1 ¾ cups water
  • Add to water by whisking: 3 TBS Green Curry Paste
  • 2 tsp tamarind chutney (melt in microwave with a TBS water for 10 -15 seconds)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup black rice, rinsed well. (Follow cooking directions on your package. I don’t recommend soaking it overnight, it gets too soft & gummy.)

Coconut milk sauce:

  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp jarred minced galangal * optional
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 TBS fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • Juice from 2” piece of ginger, (peeled, grated & squeezed)
  • 2 heaping tsp. agave or honey

The vegetables: you can do whatever seasonal vegetables float your boat, here is what I used:

  • 1 yam or sweet potato, peeled, sliced in ¼” thick quarter rounds, drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 med/large carrot, sliced however you choose J
  • 1 TBS. Organic coconut oil
  • 1 TBS Sesame oil
  • 1 onion, sliced in half, then into half moon strips
  • 1 red pepper, sliced in long thin strips
  • 1 TBS or so of white & / or black sesame seeds
  • 1 small bunch of broccolini, cut in thin long strips with stem, or 1 -2 cups broccoli flowerets
  • 1 medium/small zucchini, sliced in half moons
  • Handful of crimini mushrooms, in quarters
  • 1 bunch spinach leaves or 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1” piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • ½ tsp Red pepper flakes – or to taste, minced
  • 1-2 TBS fresh lime juice
  • 1 -2 TBS Braggs liquid amino acids, or 1 TBS tamari
  • 2 scallions, diced
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves, or to taste* optional


Use 1 package of firm or extra firm organic tofu


Preheat oven to 375


Add the curry, tamarind chutney & salt to water and then add the rice. Bring to a boil over high heat, uncovered. Cover, reduce heat & simmer for 30 minutes. Let stand covered for a few minutes. Place in bowl, fluff gently with fork, set aside.

Coconut milk sauce:

In a sauce pan, simply whisk all ingredients together with light coconut milk. Warm gently and keep low flame under it. Don’t’ burn or boil.

Vegetable stir fry:

Peel & slice yam and carrot. Place on baking sheet with olive oil, S & P, & a drizzle of water. Mix well. Bake until just softened, about 25 minutes.  Check & turn over after 20 minutes.

Heat coconut & sesame oil on medium/high flame in cast iron or heavy bottomed fry pan, or wok. Add onion & red pepper. Sauté until juicy. Add minced ginger, red pepper flakes, and sesame seeds. Stir well. Add broccolini and sauté 3-4 minutes. Add zucchini and mushrooms. Keep stirring the contents of the pan. When mushrooms release juices, add lime juice and Braggs Liquid Aminos. Add yam and carrots when just soft! When the vegetables are bright and not overcooked, add spinach and simply stir gently to wilt leaves. Finally, add scallions and cilantro leaves. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed, with attention paid to the balance between lime juice, ginger, Braggs & hot pepper.

Tofu:  Cut into ¼” thick rectangles. For extra good flavor, marinate for 4 hours in some coconut milk sauce. Sauté over medium high heat with coconut oil in cast iron fry pan or skillet, letting skin get crispy before turning over.  Drizzle a little Bragg’s or tamari on top before flipping over to the other side.

To serve:

This dish looks beautiful on a big platter: mounded black rice in 1 corner, the stir-fry veggies across the plate, tofu steaks fanned out. Drizzle some heated coconut sauce over everything. Save some to pass around the table.


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