Black rice is actually a type of brown rice, which is to say rice without the bran and germ removed. It gets its deep color, ranging from dark purple to black, from high levels of the antioxidant pigment anthocyanin. There are many different varieties of rice marketed under different brands, but when cooked they all take on a showstopping deep purple color that is social media-ready.
Black rice can be more bitter than other rice varieties, but in East Asia and Southeast Asia it’s often sweetened, particularly with palm sugar and coconut milk, and used in desserts. In the United States it’s used as an attractive, nutrient-dense substitute for other rice varieties in bowls, salads, sides and elsewhere.
According to market research firm Datassential, black rice is found on only 1% of American restaurant menus but has jumped more than 100% in the past four years.
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