Have you ever cooked with black rice? It is an ingredient very new to my kitchen, for I started cooking with black rice fairly recently. These Indian Black Rice Pancakes are something I used it in a while back, and they were so much loved by everyone at home!
Some quick facts about Black Rice
- Black rice has a deep black colour, which comes from the anthocyanins present in them. Anthocyanins are a family of antioxidants that are present in foods with a similar colour, such as blackberries and blueberries.
- The anthocyanins in black rice help in preventing cancer and heart disease, regulate blood sugar, and reduce the absorption of cholesterol. This rice is higher in fibre and protein than ordinary white rice, too. It has a high level of iron and Vitamin E. It has a lower number of calories than brown rice.
- Black rice has a mild, nutty taste that lends itself well to both sweet and savoury dishes. The rice turns purplish in hue when cooked.
- Black rice is majorly grown in tropical areas like North-East region in India, as well as in China, Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar. There might be variations in the types of black rice grown at each of these places.
- Considering that black rice is so high in nutrition, it was once reserved only for royalty in China. Only rulers and their families would be allowed to eat it, due to which it was given the name ‘Forbidden Rice’. Though the rice is still referred to as Forbidden Rice at times, it is now widely available in supermarkets and health stores across India.
- In spite of its high nutritional content, black rice still remains a largely unexplored ingredient in India. The Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu, though, has been using this rice since ages. The Chettiars or the locals of this region, mostly traders, would often travel for business to Indonesia and Burma (now Myanmar), and would bring back packets of black rice with them. The Chettiars call this rice Burma Rice or ‘Kavuni Arisi‘, and largely use it in a sweet preparation called ‘Kavuni Arisi Halwa‘.
- Black rice is also referred to as Purple Rice or Magic Rice.
- It is different from Wild Rice.
- For best results, black rice should be soaked overnight before cooking. It is best cooked in a pan, covered, with twice the amount of water. Care should be taken to ensure that it is cooked just enough, as overcooking will make it quite sticky and mushy.
- In North-East India, black rice is commonly used to make a sweet dish called Chak-hao.
Recipe for Indian Black Rice Pancakes
In Bangalore, black rice has been making an appearance lately on the menus of new-age cafes, mostly in the forms of salad and pudding. I decided to use it in a savoury preparation, a very South Indian one at that – Indian-style pancakes or adai.
The Kavuni Arisi Adai tasted lovely, and the addition of onions took the taste higher by several notches. Thanks to the urad daal in it, it turned out super soft too. Actually, I added in a variety of lentils to the batter – even some of the black moth daal that I picked up in Kashmir. Super nutritious, with all those whole grains in!
Here’s how I made the Indian Black Rice pancakes or Kavuni Arisi Adai.
Ingredients (yields 28-30 pancakes):
For the batter:
- 1 cup black rice or kavuni arisi
- 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek (methi) seeds
- 1/2 cup raw rice
- 1/2 cup Kashmiri black moth daal
- 1/2 cup chana daal
- 1/2 cup split black urad daal
- 1/2 cup toor daal
- Salt, to taste
- 7-8 dry red chillies
- 6-7 cloves of garlic, peeled
- A 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped finely
- 2 sprigs fresh curry leaves
To make the pancakes:
- Oil, as needed
- Finely chopped onion, as needed (optional)
- Finely chopped coriander, as needed (optional)
- Place the black rice, chana daal, fenugreek seeds, urad daal, raw rice, toor daal and Kashmiri moth daal together in a large vessel. Wash these ingredients well under running water a couple of times. Then, drain out all the water.
- Add in enough fresh water to cover all of these ingredients. Cover the vessel with a lid. Let the ingredients soak for 8-10 hours or overnight.
- When the soaking time is over, drain out the excess water from these ingredients. Grind half of the ingredients to a coarse batter, in a mixer jar. Transfer the ground batter to a large vessel.
- Now, take the rest of the soaked ingredients in the mixer jar. Add in dry red chillies, peeled garlic cloves, and peeled and chopped ginger. Grind coarsely. Add this batter to the one we ground earlier.
- Add salt to taste to the batter, as well as curry leaves. Mix well. The batter is now ready to use to make pancakes or adai.
- When you are ready to make the adai, add finely chopped onion and coriander to the batter (optional), as needed. You may even add in finely chopped green chillies, as needed. To make the adai, heat a dosa pan well on high flame. Now, reduce the flame to medium. Place a ladleful of the batter in the centre of the pan, and spread it out. Add some oil all around the adai. When cooked on the bottom, flip it over. Cook on the other side too, on medium flame. Serve immediately.
1. I used Sona Masoori raw rice in the batter. You can use any type of raw rice that you prefer.
2. I used Manipuri black rice from Happy Healthy Me, to make these adai.
3. If you do not have Kashmiri black moth daal, you can entirely skip adding that to the batter.
4. This batter does not need any fermenting, and can be used immediately after grinding. However, if you want a slight sourness to the adai, you may set aside the batter, covered, at room temperature for fermenting for a few hours.
5. If you do not plan on using the batter immediately, you can store it in the refrigerator. It keeps well for 2-3 days.
6. Add the onion, coriander and green chillies (if using) just before you begin preparing the adai. It is totally optional to add these, but I would highly recommend that you do.
7. I had a bit of batter left over after making these adai, with onion and coriander added, and used it to make kuzhi paniyaram. Those also turned out absolutely lovely, soft and delicious!
8. These Kavuni Arisi Adai do not really need an accompaniment. However, they go well with powdered jaggery or a simple South Indian coconut chutney.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!
Also, would you like to see more black rice recipes on my blog?