Forbidden Rice Salad


I can’t resist black food at Halloween.

Chinese black rice is a nutrient-rich, nutty, heirloom rice that is actually a deep purple. They say it has historically been reserved for Emperors. I’m skeptical, though. If all the foods that make that claim really were just for emperors, those emperors would have been really fat. You can vary the vegetables in this dish to fit the season, or switch it up to reflect another cuisine. See the Variations for ideas.

Makes 4-6 servings


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup scallions or chives

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

½ teaspoon sesame oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 inch of fresh ginger root, grated

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

Grated zest and juice of 1 orange

1 cup of cooked black rice, cooled

½ teaspoon salt – try Japanese shio

12-3 tangerines or oranges, sectioned


  1. Heat vegetable oil in a large wok or sauté pan over high heat. Add the scallions and sesame seeds and cook briefly, until charred, about 2 minutes.   Set aside.
  1. To the same pan, add sesame oil, garlic, and ginger and warm briefly. Add the vinegar, orange zest and juice, and remove from the heat. Add the rice, salt, and orange sections. Toss everything until well coated, then chill completely.   Serve chilled with a final sprinkle of good salt.


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