July 2011

Black Rice

recipe by SANG YOON

SARAH
TAYLOR

PHOTOS: MAREN CARUSO / FOOD STYLIST: CHRISTINA WOLHEIM

Most people don’t give rice much thought beyond considering its utility as a neutral backdrop for flavors cast off by more glamorous counterparts. Chinese black rice, however, challenges such a pedestrian characterization by projecting an aura of intrigue and exoticism that belies its humble status.

Ancient Chinese legend has it this “forbidden rice” was reserved for the exclusive use of the royal family, and consumption by commoners was punishable by death. Sang Yoon, chef-owner of Father’s Office and its Asian neighbor Lukshon, both in the Helms Bakery complex, says of its uniqueness, “Black rice isn’t traditionally used for fried rice, but I like it for its firmer texture and nuttiness. It pairs really well with sweet Chinese sausage.”

And it’s not just the chic coloring that makes this heirloom rice stand out. Packed with flavor and antioxidants, the dark husks help the grains hold their form during cooking, resulting in a pleasantly resistant bite.

FRIED BLACK RICE WITH LAP CHEONG (CHINESE SAUSAGE)

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 ounces dried Chinese sausage, thinly sliced or diced
16 ounces black rice, cooked
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch of ginger, peeled and minced
2 ounces Shaoxing wine
2 ounces Chinese light soy sauce
½ cup chopped scallions
Salt and white pepper

Heat vegetable oil in wok. Add sausage, ginger, garlic and rice until coated. Add wine, soy sauce and scallions. Toss about 3 minutes, adding salt and pepper as you like. Serves 4–6.