On a recent trip to Kolkata, I found ‘Black Rice’ at the Biswa Bangla store when I was looking for Nolen Gur. As a habit I pick up my new ‘finds’ and once back home, search for ways to use them. A hectic travel schedule meant that the Black Rice packet was forgotten.
Kavuni Arisi Payasam or Black Rice Pudding is a specialty of the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu. This gorgeous deep violet hued sweet, is a prominent preparation of most festive fares of the Chettiars. Apparently, Black Rice was brought in from Burma (then Mayanmar) by the Chettiars during their business travels. Authentic delicacies at Chidambara Vilas and this Black Rice payasam was one of them.
Black Rice is sometimes also referred to as ‘Forbidden Rice’. Legend has it that this ancient grain was once exclusively reserved for the Chinese royalty and hence ‘forbidden’ for the commoners.
This Anthocyanin rich, nutritious rice is revered to be an extremely healthy food.A variety of Black Rice is also cultivated in the North-Eastern Indian state of Manipur.
Other than the traditional way, you can also serve this as a Black sticky Rice pudding with fruits like mangoes or Lychees. For this the rice is cooked with coconut milk,chilled and served with the fruits. Or a Black Rice Phirni (on my to do list) topped with fruits should taste equally delicious