Thai Black Cargo Rice is a long-grain black rice that is high in nutritional protein, dietary fibre, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc and antioxidants Vitamin B, Vitamin E, Anthocyanins and Proanthocyadin. Laboratory testing has determined this rice is up to 7x higher in nutritional content than white rice.
Though called "black rice", this grain has a deep purple colour which mellows to a lighter shade and it becomes soft and sticky after cooking.
Grown in chemical-free areas in Central Thailand, the grains are selected carefully and are minimally processed to remove only the outer, inedible husks and maintain the highest nutritional levels.
I've tried brown rice in the past, having read that it was healthier than white rice but never really could get used to the taste and so stuck with white rice ever since but I've always been open to trying other rice so when this came up for review I knew I needed to ask for some to try out. This comes vacuum packed, so buyer beware when opening it. My six year old was in charge of picking dinner and wanted to make a tomato and rice soup, so we tried this rice. A big thing to note was that it took longer than white rice, to cook, but other than that it turned out beautifully and the leftovers for lunch the next day had soaked up all the remaining liquid but tasted just as good.
I have a recipe that I'd been holding onto as it required sticky rice, but I thought that this could be used well for my recipe. I cooked the rice as per the instructions on the bag, pertaining to quantity of rice and water, and popped in my rice cooker. I did notice that it took longer to cook and my machine was spitting out purple water (due to the black rice). I beat two egg whites until frothy and then stirred them into the rice. I used some silicone muffin cases to put the rice mixture in, smoothing it up the edges, and then baked for twenty minutes. They came out wonderfully as little black rice bowls, which were then filled with a sweet and sour vegetarian mix and were solid enough to eat like little pies.
As easy as any other brand, just note it requires more time to cook, other than that it's a good rice that tastes nice. Price means I won't get this often, but when I want something a little more special, I'll have some of this in reserve.
To be honest I have never heard of Black Rice until the possibility of reviewing it came about - which is kind of funny considering how much rice we eat. I was surprised when I received it how heavy it was compared to normal rice and then got concerned about how to use it. I typed in 'Black Rice Recipes' into goggle and was met with so many choices, which put me at ease. I was planning on making the broccoli salad with it but ended up making Chicken Satay with a Peanut Sauce and a Broccoli and Cranberry Salad and then had the rice on the side (saw a picture and my mouth watered). Thought it was a quick meal and since Tuesdays we don't get home till after 5 pm being fast is a necessity.
I am used to throwing my white rice in to the rice cooker and it being ready within fifteen minutes and I was expecting the same with this. I used two cups of the rice, cleaned it and then added four cups of water. Got busy preparing the rest of the meal and became really concerned after thirty minutes and it was still cooking. Not only that noticed the lid which is usually clean had gone purple around the edges. After forty minutes I took the lid off to check and there was no water left in it but it was still pretty wet and still going. Thankfully it clicked to warm shortly afterwards. I left it in the pot on warm for just under fifteen minutes and then dinner was served.
Dishing it up I was surprised at how much had stuck to the base of the pot and also how much was sticking to my serving spoon. It was rather dark and I was a little worried at how everyone was going to react to it. Putting the plates down in front of the girls they both asked 'what it was' and after explaining its a special kind of rice they both tried it to mixed reviews. My youngest hated it and refused to eat it, even after mixing in some chicken and satay sauce with it. My eldest said 'it was alright, bit funny tasting but eatable' my husband said 'he saw no reason to not use it again and having it in any of the rice dishes we had.' I on the other hand was not sure but I can say when you add cranberries to it, it is delicious.
I am not sure how it would taste with our usual Butter Chicken or Sweet n Sour Pork but as there are so many options available with this rice I am willing to give it a go. Definitely not a fast cooking meal but an interesting one. I do like that is healthier than our friend the White Rice but the taste is something we will need to get used to.
Black rice is something new, that I didn't even know existed. But if it's healthier than white rice I'll give it a go. I've personally stopped eating rice this year because I've been trying to eat healthier, and have been told that white rice is not the best for dieting. The pack comes vacuum sealed, so need to have something ready to pour it into. Luckily the flatmate had just emptied a resealable container of pasta shells, so I nicked that container. Once the vacuum seal has been broken, you can see the real dry colour of the rice, which is a mix of red and brown.
I have no rice cooker, so I had to cook it on the stovetop. Placing a cup of rice in a pot, I added water until it was submerged by an inch. I added a generous dash of salt and let it come to a boil, before lowering the heat to minimum and leaving it to simmer.
Once all the water had been absorbed I tested, I tried some of the rice, and noted it was still very firm. So I added more water (submerged under an inch again) and again left it to simmer. Once the water was absorbed a second time, the rice was much softer, but still not the consistency I was after so I added a little bit more water (just up to the level of the rice, and let that simmer down.
Once finished cooking, I simply ate the rice with a homemade beef curry, and found the texture to be very similar to that of brown rice (that is to say that it takes a little bit more chewing than that of white rice). The colour of the rice had changed to a dark purple, and left a bit of purple mess in the saucepan. I suppose I could have allowed it to simmer further, until absolutely all liquid had been absorbed, but I did not want to dry out the rice.
The rice had a subtle, almost nutty flavour to it, which was nice. Altogether it probably took about 40 minutes to cook the rice, which is much longer than it takes to prepare white rice, and took more than twice the amount of water that I'd usually use. But it wasn't anymore difficult to prepare than any other rice. The rice is significantly more expensive than many other varieties of rice available (though it is similar in price to other black rice), so if the price is no issue, and if time is not a factor for preparing meals, then the additional flavour of the rice combined with the higher nutritional content would make this a great choice.
I am a huge rice eater as rice is my favourite food but I do have rices I cook more often due to the dishes I cook and personal preference. I eat a lot of curries and I prefer to serve them with basmati or jazmine rice as I prefer the dryness of these rices, not sticky or stodgy like the plain white long or short grain rices. I have also tried brown rice but was not a fan and have tried wild rice which I loved. I was very keen to try this black rice as I have seen it used on televised cooking programmes and have always been intrigued.
I wanted to try a rice salad I usually make with wild rice, so I cooked the rice according to packet directions and left to cool. I used a rice cooker as the packet directed and felt it took a lot longer to cook than other rices take in the rice cooker. Once cooled I added spring onion, capsicum, cashews and a soy sauce and olive oil dressing with garlic and ginger. Like I said I normally make this with wild rice as the colours make it more interesting than a plain white rice and it doesn't go gluggy with dressing added, but I think I preferred it with the black rice by far!!
The colours of this rice once cooked are so impressive with colours ranging from black to purple which make it a very exciting addition to dishes. It looks pretty before you even add anything to it and has enough flavour that you could just serve it on it's own with your chosen stirfry, or curry dish easily. I loved the flavour it is nutty and almost savoury in taste without anything added. It made the rice salad savoury without any addition of meat.
I really wanted to try a sweet dish I had seen some celebrity cooks make rice pudding so I decided to try this out myself, I did do a google search for recipes but couldn't find a particular one that took my fancy so I used cooking instructions and used ingredients that appealed to me. I cooked the rice in coconut milk, and added diced mango, banana, the juice of a lime, a bit of vanilla paste, and some toasted almonds and hazelnuts. I was worried the savoury taste of the rice I had experienced when plain would come through in a sweet dish but I didn't need to be concerned.
The rice just as easily took on the sweet flavours and the addition of toasted nuts brought out that nutty taste I spoke off earlier and really complimented the rice pudding dish. I didn't add sugar as the fruit and vanilla and coconut milk added enough sweetness. Other family members were really impressed with this dish and went back for seconds luckily I had made heaps so there was plenty to go around. A dish I will definitely make again.
This is the first time I have tried this rice, so I was amazed to find just how much flavour it has compared to the white variety. It is almost a meal in itself - even without added seasonings it is a taste sensation, reminding me of the earthy flavour you get from some nuts. The whole family loved it, right down to Miss Five who is something of a rice connoisseur!
Cooking it could not be easier. The instructions said to use a rice cooker; as we don't have one, we cooked it the same way as we would when using plain white long grain, and it was fine. We rinsed it once and then cooked it in just enough water to allow it to absorb the liquid and become tender. It took slightly longer to cook than white rice, but much less time than brown rice. The result, once it was cooked, was a light, fluffy dish with shades that ranged from brown through to purple and even blue. It certainly looked interesting
We tried it several different ways. The first serving was with a standard curry. Here it performed exactly as expected, as a traditional accompaniment to the meat and curry sauce. We added some trimmings - pickles, yoghurt, and a couple of poppadums - but the rice was still the star. There were eight of us for dinner that night, all family members, and it was the first time any of them had come across this product so it caused a lot of interest.
Although I thought we had cooked a small amount, there were still leftovers for the next day - and there was also a large amount left uncooked in the packet! One of the nice things about this rice is that, although it is quite filling, it is not at all stodgy. It stays fluffy and you don't get that clumping effect you can sometimes find in brown rice. We used some of the leftovers mixed into a Greek salad which made a colourful platter with the tomatoes, olives and lumps of white cheese.
Even after the salad, there was still a small amount left so we thought we would try it in sushi. I did not think it would work as I thought the rice might not be sticky enough, but again I was wrong. We ended up with two sushi rolls which held their shape well once we had chilled them, and stayed intact when we sliced them into rings. I think I will become a fan of this rice - but I still have plenty left in the packet so it will be a little while before I need to buy more. This has got to be one of the best value-for-money foods I have seen in a long time.
Was I nervous about the thought of trying a black rice? Yes, black rice I must say is something I have neither seen or heard of before and so the idea of cooking with it and eating it was a bit hard to get my head about. However I decided to give it a go as my family eats a lot of rice, at least a few times a week and upon hearing that is even better for you than white, or brown rice varieties I thought it would be worth trying, anything to get us to eat a little bit healthier has to be worth trying right?
One of the most important things to note if buying this rice is that it is infact vacuum packed so it is best to open it up over a container in which you wish to store the rice in, otherwise you may just end up with rice everywhere! I found that opening the plastic packaging using a sharp knife along the top was a lot more doable than trying to cut it open with a pair of scissors was!
Interestingly enough the preparation instructions on the back of the packaging are for preparing the rice in a rice cooker, however as I don't own a rice cooker I had to prepare mine the old school way in a pot of boiling water. I took a medium sized pot and filled it half way with water once it was boiling I added half a cup of the black cargo rice and a pinch of salt. The rice took roughly between 15 to 20 minutes to cook, and I was surprised to see that the rice had gone from a dark black and brown colour straight out of the packet to a almost purple shade that was a lot lighter in colour throughout the cooking process. Miss 4 was clearly excited by this as purple is her favourite colour and so requested she just have a bowl of plain rice for dinner, easily pleased.
The rice was light, sticky and fluffy, and I was pleased that I hadn't caused it to go glunky or rather undercooked it like I tend to do! I served the rice up as a side to a satay chicken dish I had cooked up and the flavour and the texture of the rice were great I really enjoyed it. Since cooking it the first time I have also used it to make a rice salad which I added some white rice to also for added colour which was also tasty. I haven't yet done it but I would love to see how this rice would work in a risotto though I do wonder if it would perhaps be a little to sticky?
A very yummy rice and for the price and the amount you get it is great value, I can see this lasting my family for some time.
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