Warming Black rice & coconut porridge

I thought winter had moved on to his next stop, but it seems he has come back! It’s freezing here in Berlin and I just cannot leave the house without a warming and comforting breakfast . My ‘go to’ cold morning comfort food is black rice and coconut porridge, so yummy and really sets you up for the day. Black rice is also called the forbidden rice for its high nutrient and antioxidant values. Here we have one fine anti-ageing food or breakfast shall I say.

Like with all rice it takes a bit longer to prepare, but I try and use the time for a little morning mediation at the stove. Watching the rice simmer away is the perfect moment to think about what you are grateful for.  Some music to go along and time flies by. If you are in a rush in the mornings, pre-soaking the rice over night helps speed up the cooking process.  For a full blown meditation session you only need to soak the rice for a couple of hours :).

There is more behind soaking the rice than just speeding up the cooking process though. Soaking reduces the anti-nutrient phytic acid, a food inhibitor, which is found in the outer layer of the grain.  So, the soaking makes nutrients more bioavailable to the body, which is great news in this case, because black rice is a real nutrient powerhouse. It is high in protein, rich in fibre and iron and has a higher amount of antioxidants than most other rice varieties.

The black colour of the rice already gives a hint about its high levels of free radical scavengers, which are similar to those found in red grapes, blueberries or raspberries. The magic stuff is an antioxidant called anthocyanin which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and protection against free radical damage.

The garnish also has a purpose, because plant based iron is not easily absorbed, however, vitamin C may help with that. So the pomegranate and pears make a delicious vitamin C ‘bus service’ for the iron.  Kiwi, berries, apples or oranges also work a treat, as do tropical fruit such as pineapple or papaya. The latter go really well with the creamy coconut milk and the vanilla which give this creation a delicious and fine flavour. To add a little sweetness I used  chopped dried apple slices.

But now, lets get cooking the rice, well you better start soaking it and come back tomorrow morning or later as this a fabulous dessert after a light lunch or dinner !!

Warming Black rice & coconut porridge – Serves 3-4

Ingredients: organic if possible
200g  black rice, soaked at least 2 hours, even better overnight
400ml full-fat coconut milk
½ cup water to add whilst cooking the rice
20g of dried apple slices-finely chopped – raisins or apricots work too
½ vanilla pod or 1/2 tsp of Tonka bean
1 pinch of salt
4 tbsp  coconut flakes to garnish
Seasonal fruits of your choice: I used pear and pomegranate

1. Pre-soak the rice in freshly filtered water for at least tow hours or even better overnight. Once soaked, drain the rice and rinse well.

2. Next, take a medium sized pot, place the rice, 3/4 of the coconut milk, the content of the vanilla pod and the pod, the chopped dried apples and a pinch of sea salt in the pot and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer covered until the rice is cooked and the liquid absorbed. Stir now and then and add some water if needed. With overnight soaked rice the cooking process  takes about 30 minutes, unsoaked black rice can take up to 1 hour or more to cook.

3. Whilst the rice is simmering away and after you have done your meditation at the stove, prepare the fruit and the coconut chips. For toasting the chips, simply take a frying pan and toast them without oil until slightly golden brown and crisp.

4. Once the rice is cooked, leave to sit for another 5 minutes before serving it hot garnished with the fruit of your choice and the toasted coconut chips.  Plain nuts also work well with this dish, you can toast those too, if you like.

Enjoy and keep warm, proper spring  and more sunshine it on its way.