Forbidden Rice Casserole
Throughout history, black rice has been treasured and reserved for royalty. In ancient China, black rice was specifically set aside for the Emperor and/or the royal family because it was thought to extend their lives. It turns out they were right! Black rice is loaded with antioxidants, Vitamin E, fiber, and valuable anti-inflammatory properties – which are thought to prevent life threatening diseases and conditions such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Luckily, we no longer live in times of the “forbidden rice” and can enjoy this meal that is fit for a King (or Emperor)!
Forbidden Rice Casserole
2 c black rice (or Forbidden Rice)
2 each Japanese sweet potatoes, medium size
3 c sugar snap peas, cut in half
2 each leeks, sliced thinly
2 each Bok Choy, small size, sliced thinly
1/2 c peanuts, skin on if possible
3 inches ginger
4 each garlic cloves
3 Tablespoon sesame oil
6 brown mushrooms, sliced thick
1/3 c rice wine vinegar
1/4 c soy sauce
1 1/2 c water
2 Tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 Tablespoon honey
Instructions for Adults:
1. Set a large pot of salted water on high heat until it comes to a boil, then place Japanese sweet potatoes in water for approximately 20 minutes or until just under cooked. It will continue to cook in the oven further along in the recipe, but for now, set aside and once the potatoes have cooled, cut into 1/4 inch slices.
2. Place black rice into another large pot with 3 c water and a pinch of salt over high heat. Once the water comes to a boil, reduce the temperature to low and cover pot. Allow this to simmer for 15 minutes, turn heat off, and let rice sit for 5 minutes covered. Drain any excess liquid and set the rice aside.
3. Finely chop all of the ginger and garlic together. Use a small food processor or food chopper if it is available.
4. Heat 2 Tablespoons of sesame oil in a saute pan over medium heat and add sliced mushrooms. Saute until mushrooms are browned, approximately 4-5 minutes. Add the ginger/garlic mixture to the pan and saute for 2 minutes. Add the rice wine vinegar to the pan and cook down until the pan liquid begins to thicken, about 1-2 minutes.
5. Transfer the mushroom and liquid mix to a blender. Add soy sauce, water, arrowroot powder and honey and puree until smooth. Mix this sauce and the cooked black rice together and set aside.
6. Place the last Tablespoon of sesame oil to the saute pan the mushrooms were cooked in and place over medium heat. Add the leeks to the pan and allow them to cook down, then add snap peas and bok choy. Saute for 30 seconds and add half of the black rice, mixing to combine the vegetables and rice evenly.
7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the black rice without vegetables in the bottom of an oven safe 13×9″ glass pan and spread this out evenly. Put the slices of Japanese sweet potato on top of the rice, then top the potato layer with the rice and vegetable mix.
8. Bake the casserole for 15 minutes. Once removed from the oven, sprinkle raw peanuts on top.
9. Allow the casserole to set before enjoying. Do this by allowing it to cool for 30 minutes, or overnight, before serving it.
Instruction for Kids:
Help your adult measure out the ingredients and before the casserole is assembled, watch the sauce get pureed in the blender! Once all of the ingredients are ready to go, help your adult place the Japanese sweet potato slices in between the layers of forbidden rice and before serving, by sprinkling peanuts on top.
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