Chinese Forbidden Black Rice is awesome. It’s short-grain, so the consistency is perfect for this salad. However, I have to tell you that it is not easily found in a supermarket. I buy mine at an all-natural grocer. It costs about $6 for a pound, but it’s well worth the investment. There is no substitute for this, so do not use the Black Japonica Rice that you can find at the supermarket. This rice truly is “black,” not purplish.
The recipe calls for roasted, diced butternut squash. The one thing you do not want to do is cook this until it is mush. You want to put it in the oven in a single layer, making sure to turn it and brown it on each side. Taste test it to be sure it will hold up when you toss the salad.
The rice isn’t the only thing that makes the salad great. The very simple dressing is just plain delicious. No additional spices are needed.
2 cups forbidden rice
3.5 cups water
pinch of salt
1 lb roasted, diced butternut squash
1.5 cups snow peas, blanched and cooled
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1/2 cup diced yellow pepper
1/2 cup diced orange pepper
6 scallions, sliced
6 tbsp Tamari
9 tbsp sesame oil (or 6 tbsp sesame oil and 3 tbsp hot chili sesame oil if you like a little heat)
sea salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
Bring rice, water and a pinch of salt to a boil. Cover and lower heat. Simmer for 30 minutes.
While the rice is cooking, bake the butternut squash (see note above), and allow to cool. Bring another pot of water to a boil, toss in the snow peas for no more than a minute or two, drain and rinse under cold water. The idea here is to make them a bit “pliable” if you will.
When the rice is done, drain it and put it into your serving bowl. Whisk together the Tamari and sesame oil. Add it to the rice while it is still a bit warm.
After the rice has cooled, add the peppers, snow peas, scallions, and butternut squash. Mix together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Not only is it absolutely delicious, but it’s a pretty attractive salad as well!