I love love love forbidden rice. It is not something I frequently see in the grocery store but I can tell you when I spotted it I scooped it up right away. I’m not even a huge rice person but there is something about the flavor and texture. It has this chewiness that other rices don’t have. Maybe thats why the Emperors made it “forbidden” 100 years ago in China. That’s where it gets its name from and they made it off limits to everyone else. They believed it made them especially strong and that it contained exceptional benefits. Well lets just say they were on to something. Forbidden rice is jam packed with anthocynanins which are like super powered antioxidants that are found in all “purple” foods. It actually has a deep dark purple color which you see when you cook it.
So I have had this lovely ingredient patiently awaiting in my pantry for its call into a dish and that time finally came after I made a trip to a nearby Asian grocery store. I picked up some Maiktake mushrooms also known as hen of the woods. They are really pretty looking and they have great earthy flavor.
Just a few health benefits of these mushrooms is that they can boost the immune system, help you lose weight because they are high in fiber and low in calories, anti-cancer properties by activating macrophages which are your “good guys” in your immune system and they can help lower blood sugar levels. Just to name a few.
When I was thinking of what direction I wanted to go with this dinner I couldn’t decide between Asian or Indian, so I’m sure you can assume what I did. Yup I combined them. I’m not sure this is for everyone because it had a lot of flavor but I really enjoyed it. I wanted to use some Indian spices that I have had and not really cooked with them much. Some cumin seeds, coriander seeds and a few fenugreek seeds. I wanted to use these because they too are packed with nutrients which I was not aware of before I made this. Did you know 1 tbsp of cumin seeds has 22% of your daily iron needs? Fenugreek seeds too have 20% your daily iron needs as well as almost 3 grams of protein and fiber. Together these seeds have been shown to help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, ease digestive problems and help prevent cancer! Who knew these seeds were actually superfoods!
So although I wanted to throw all of these into the dish I also have been loving miso paste lately and wanted it to join the party. I consider this to be another superfood because it is alive with good bacteria to help your tummy. It also taste really good. So I wanted to use a smidge of this with a bit of love from tamari and some chili flakes for heat ;) But really just a smidge. In case you have never worked with it before just make sure you add it once your food is taken off the heat so not to kill the healthy bacteria.
-Up to 1 tbs of cumin and coriander seeds
-1/2 tbsp fenugreek (these amounts really depend on your taste)
1/4 cup uncooked forbidden rice
1/4 cup vidalia onion
1 garlic clove
3 maitake mushrooms
1 cup baby eggplant diced
*optional, vegetable stock for healthier stir fry
*optional dinosaur kale leaves chopped
1 tsp miso paste
splash of tamari
sprinkle of chili flakes
-Cook forbidden rice according to package
-Once it is almost done, begin toasting your seeds in large enough frying pan over medium heat. Toast them until it smells fragrant but becareful not to burn. You may or may not use oil (I don’t).
-Add splash of oil or vegetable stock, onions, mushrooms and eggplant and saute over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Add either another splash of oil or more stock and add your kale and garlic. Cook until wilted. Season with tamari and chili flakes.
-Once everything is cooked, remove from heat and stir with rice. Add miso paste and stir well.
*If you don’t want the whole seeds in your dish, use a coffee grinder after they have been toasted and cooled. Then sprinkle over the onions when you begin to saute and stir well.