Trying New Foods

I wandered into our local natural food market and discovered the bulk bins which I’d never looked at before. They had foods I’d only read about:

  • Forbidden Black Rice
  • Madagascar Pink Rice
  • Black Lentils

I’m a rice fiend. I love rice! I already had Jasmine Rice, Brown Rice, Wild Rice, Arborio Rice and Basmati Rice, but I had to have  that black rice, I mean wouldn’t you? How could you resist “forbidden black rice”!

The Black Lentils will join the Red Lentils and Brown Lentils I already have.

Black, brown & red lentils

I decided that we would have a “taste test” of the different rices and lentils, to see what we liked? I’d do the lentils Friday and the rices Saturday.

There’s no easy way I can cook six pots of grains/beans at the same time. (I have what I call “half pans” (actually 3 to a burner) which are mini pans, and that’s how I’m planning to cook these. But I only have one diffuser and the 6 grains/beans would need 2. The half pans want to tip over on my gas stove without the diffuser.)

I intended to cook the lentils on Friday and then the rices Saturday.  Except of course life had other ideas.

My half pans weren’t where I expected them to be. Then I remembered I’d taken them out of the primary kitchen storage and moved them to secondary storage, still in the kitchen, but not in the main cooking area. This makes sense, as I hardly ever use the pans.

Where hoarding and my daily life collide: the pans were in a bottom cabinet. The cabinet was behind the dead-not-yet-fixed refrigerator and the stuff that had been stacked behind it: wooden crates, boxes of books and papers (of course!) and so on.

Okay… Plan B! …except I hadn’t made a Plan B.

I cooked all the lentils together. My idea was that I could separate the colors on my plate and see if I could taste any differences? Except for size. color, & shape, there wasn’t any obvious difference. The lentil test has to be redone alas.

I did make these observations about the black lentils:

  • They’re rounded, like little footballs & not lens-shaped like other lentils which is a a nice textural change from the others.
  • They color the water and everything they’re cooked with. If you want white rice and black lentils, cook the lentils separately.

Saturday night I cooked the rices. Because I knew the “half pans” were buried and where they were, I dug them out beforehand. We cooked the rices separately using modified instructions from the Lorna Sass book, Whole Grains.

white jasmine rice, Madagascar pink rice, & Chinese black forbidden rice, uncooked

She doesn’t list pink rice or white jasmine rice, which is what we had. (She has red rices and brown jasmine rice instead.)  We cooked the Jasmine Rice and  Madagascar Pink Rice using the same amount of water and for the same length of time. The Black Rice took both more water and longer to cook. We cooked all three only in water,  nothing else, so we could taste any differences. I carefully piled two spoonfuls of each on our plates.

We had the left over lentils with it and DH grated Parmesan.

DH decided that he preferred the taste of the black rice, I liked the pink a bit better. The black rice also colored the water it was cooked in, so the same warning about cooking it separately (like the black lentils) applies.

I’ll add these to the pantry for variety if nothing else. They add color to what could be otherwise rather boring fare. I expect I’ll have to  dig to find these at a price I want. (I deliberately didn’t pay attention to prices when I bought them.) Now that I know they’re something we want, it’s time to do a serious price/availability search!

I looked a little Saturday night and found black rice which was “precooked,” i.e., converted. It was relatively cheap. But I don’t buy converted white rice or use a “rice cooker.” Cooking rice takes about 1/2 hour, not long. I can boil water and add grains just fine, thanks, I don’t need to pay a company to do it for me. DH taught me how to cook rice years ago and once you learn, it’s easy!

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2 responses to “Trying New Foods

  1. wow, those rices are so pretty. I wanted to try black lentils but they don’t sell them here, but red and brown are very popular. I wanted them for a recipe that looked really good – here it is in case you want to give it a try, since I can’t heh. http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/10/spicy-squash-salad-with-lentils-and-goat-cheese/

  2. Heidi, you’re right that does look yummy, thanks! I wonder why you can’t buy blank lentils in Greece?

    Take care —
    Jenny

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