Black Rice 101

There is no denying, black is always the new black...Especially when it comes to black rice, we completely get all the hype  - how could we not? They are bold, beautiful, with complex nutty notes and most importantly a nutrition bomb (full of antioxidants & anthocyanins!) 


But here’s where everyone gets stuck - How to cook your black rice? What can you do with it? How to pair? What is the best way to eat this beautiful grain!?

We understand how overwhelming it can be, so we’ve got you covered!

If you are new to cooking black rice here are our top tips

  1. Always, always soak the rice overnight - black unpolished rices are  best cooked when soaked over 6-8 hours
  2. Wash & drain the soaked rice - and if some colour bleeds, fret not! Anthocyanin (the compound that gives the black rice its colours) is water-soluble. 


       3. Cook with a 1:4 ratio of water - for 3-4 whistles on high and 12-15 minutes on low. 

      4.The key is to not open the cooker until the steam subsides - as that's when the rice gets completely bouncy, cooked & a royal purple

      5.  Drain the excess water, add a pinch of salt & enjoy it as Kanji water. It is a refreshing, nutritious drink.

Pairing your black rice

The key to pairing your black rice - understand black rice is not a monolith! Just like red, brown, white rice, there are a number of varieties in black rice. Each distinct in character, nutrition, flavour and what it performs best as. From tracing what each rice is traditionally used for and adding our own experiments & online recipe deep dives, here are our findings

  • Kaala Malli Phulo is a great table rice. It is the perfect introductory black rice.  This heirloom black, glutinous, unpolished rice comes from farms in West Bengal is easy to cook & pair. Goes well when served with sauteed veggies & topped with coconut milk. Here are the ways we’ve enjoyed Kaala Malli Phulo rice 


  • Karuppu Kavuni on the other hand in more dessert rice and works well as payasam. The traditional Kavuni Payasams are a Tamilnadu delicacy and a must in Chettinad weddings.  Here’s a quick & easy recipe from us     

  • All black rices, in general, are also wonderful as kheer/payasam and other deserts.  

  • As Soup - Our take on the food writer Naomi Duguid’s  Srilankan rice soup. Cooked black rice generously topped with coconut milk garnished with fried onions, garlic, ginger, curry leaves, salt, pepper, raw cane sugar - A delicious monsoon breakfast

  • Don’t forget to let loose and have fun while experimenting with traditional grains. If you want some more inspo on how the sky’s the limit here are some more of our favourite creations with our black rice!


@milletkitchen ‘s amazing Black rice waffles, Sujit Sumitran’s Karuppu Kavuni Kheer & Loaf & Co’s black rice sourdough

If you need any more tips & tricks on cooking, eating, pairing black rice, our DMs & mails are always open🙂  If you have any particular black rice dishes you've come to love, do let us know below. Happy Cooking!

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