Saturday, June 06, 2015

Black Rice Salad With Cherries And Snow Peas

At first there is something a bit forbidding about a bowl of black rice salad. It is so dark and mysterious looking and if you are not familiar with black rice it doesn't even look that tasty. Add to that the legend that it used to be forbidden rice...available in China only to the elite. It's a wonder anyone eats it.

If you do, you will know that this is a first rate dish. The rice is nutty tasting and it goes so well with the bright citrus notes of the lime and orange, with the sweet cherries, the delicate snow peas and the crunch of sliced almonds. It's an unusual combination, but delicious.  I added grilled chicken, cut into bite sized pieces, to the salad to make it even more of a main dish. Sweetie at two portions and not just to get more chicken.

Surprise your family with this dish or take it to a pot luck or picnic. If you leave out the chicken it can sit at room temperature for quite a while. Black rice can be found at Costco according to a friend, or I/m pretty sure you can buy it at Trader Joe's. I've had my bag of rice a few years and I got it there, so it's likely they still have it. You can absolutely buy it on Amazon. This recipe makes enough for a crowd, but it keeps well, too, so it can make a couple of meals if your numbers are smaller.

So whats with the photo at the top? Well, I forgot to take any photos of the rice dish, so you get to see my photo from last week's trip to the redwoods. The photo below is from my 2012 post of a similar rice dish. Pretend that you see cucumber moons, snow peas and sliced almonds instead of celery, OK?

Black Forbidden Rice with Cherries
based on a recipe of Giada De Laurentiis'

Serves 6 - 8

3 1/2 cups water
2 cups black forbidden rice 
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon dried orange zest or fresh orange zest
a few drops orange oil (skip if you use fresh orange zest)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley
1 green onion, sliced, white part only
1 small cucumber, peeled if peel is tough, cut into thin half moons
6 oz fresh cherries, pitted and halved
2-3 oz. fresh snow peas, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 chicken breasts, grilled and cut into bite sized pieces (optional)
1/3 cup sliced almonds

1/4 cup Champagne vinegar 
1/4 cup olive oil 
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce 
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
For the rice: In a medium saucepan, bring the water, rice, ground ginger, orange zest (and orange oil if using) and salt to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer , cover the pan, and cook until the rice is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and place in a large serving bowl. Let cool to barely warm.
Add Italian parsley, green onion, cucumber, cherries, snow peas and chicken breast pieces (if using)  to the serving bowl with the cooked rice. Stir to combine.

For the dressing : In a medium bowl, whisk together the champagne vinegar, oil, honey, lime juice, soy sauce and lime zest until smooth.

Pour the dressing over the rice and cherry mixture and toss gently to combine.  When ready to serve, stir in the sliced almonds. Serve warm or at room temperature. 


  1. "Pretend that you see cucumber moons, snow peas and sliced almonds instead of celery, OK?"

    It's funny how we used to photograph everything, and now I find myself forgetting more often than not as well. D. made an amazing homemade pizza the other night, using live yeast instead of dry, and we've been talking about how brilliant and different that is -- and we haven't taken one picture yet.


    And I agree with you on the rice - I've not wanted to eat it because it doesn't often look appetizing, but it's quite tasty!

  2. I love pretend! And I can see I'd find your salad very appealing.