Shrimp and Black Forbidden Rice

12 Nov

“There’s such a thing as black forbidden rice?” That’s what I asked myself when I saw this recipe title in my “Weeknights With Giada” Cookbook. And no, I’m not calling Giada De Laurentiis a liar, I had just never heard of black forbidden rice, which meant I was very excited/nervous to try it. Something new to cook and eat? I’m in! Why is it called forbidden? Because it was considered the finest grain in the land and only the emperor in ancient China was allowed to eat it. The black rice turned out to be similar in taste and texture to white sticky rice.

Back in September my good friend (and blog mentor) Mary was leaving Los Angeles for an exciting new job in Austin, TX and before she left I went over to spend an afternoon with her. Before leaving, she gave me a grocery bag full of food that she wouldn’t eat before leaving and wouldn’t survive the drive to Texas. Among those items was a bag of frozen shrimp. The next day when figuring out what to do for dinner I realized I had a great excuse to make the black forbidden rice recipe from Giada. So I ran to the store (and yes, I found black forbidden rice at Ralph’s, my local grocery store here in Los Angeles), got what I needed and was excited for dinner.

Shrimp and Black Forbidden Rice Ingredients L-R: Honey, Rice Vinegar, Grapeseed Oil, Ginger, Peach, Black Forbidden Rice, Shrimp, Soy Sauce, Sugar Snap Peas

Shrimp and Black Forbidden Rice Ingredients L-R: Honey, Rice Vinegar, Grapeseed Oil, Ginger, Peach, Black Forbidden Rice, Shrimp, Soy Sauce, Sugar Snap Peas


  • 1 Cup Black Forbidden Rice
  • 1 Piece Fresh Ginger (about 3/4″)
  • 5 Tbsp Grapeseed Oil
  • 3/4 pounds peeled large shrimp
  • 4 oz Sugar Snap Peas
  • 1 medium size Peach
  • 1/8 Cup Rice Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Honey
  • 2 Tsp Soy Sauce
  • Kosher Salt (or regular salt) and Pepper

If your shrimp are frozen remove from the freezer to let them thaw. Then you want to make your rice first, which will be cooked with the ginger, so peel the piece of ginger and then chop it finely. Although rather than chop, I chose to grate my ginger with my microplane grater. I’m less likely to chomp down on a piece of ginger later.

Fresh ginger grated in my microplane grater

Fresh ginger grated in my microplane grater

Follow the directions on the rice package when it comes to how much water per cup of dry rice, and combine the water, rice, ginger and 2 teaspoons salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low/simmer, cover the pot and cook until the rice is tender, about 30 minutes. While your rice is cooking work on the rest of the dish.

Black Forbidden Rice uncooked

Uncooked black forbidden rice is a BEAUTIFUL black-deep velvet color

First, trim your snap peas and cut in half so they are about one inch long. Slice up your peach into about 1/4 inch thick slices (be sure to remove the stone) and set aside. Pull out a medium to large skillet and heat 2 tablespoons of the grapeseed oil over medium-high heat. *Side note, if you don’t have (or don’t want to buy) grapeseed oil, sesame or olive oil will also work. Grapeseed is a lighter oil in both weight and taste.* Add in your shrimp, season with salt and pepper and cook about 5 minutes, or until the shrimp are cooked through. They should be slightly opaque. Remove to a plate and set aside. Wipe down the pan with paper towels to reuse. *Side note: my shrimp still had their skins so after they cooled I also had to remove the skins by hand. I highly recommend buying already skinned shrimp.*

cooking shrimp

Cooking the shrimp


Yup, I de-shelled all my shrimp by hand. Not fun.

Heat another tablespoon of your oil over medium-high heat and add in the snap peas, stirring frequently about 2 minutes, or until they are slightly soft. Add in your peach slices and cook another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to combine with the rice when done.

sugar snap peas

Weighing out my sugar snap peas

Sugar Snap Peas

white peach

My white peach sliced up

Sugar Snap Peas and Peaches

Sugar Snap Peas and Peaches

Peaches and peas almost done cooking

In a small bowl make your dressing. Whisk together your vinegar, 2 tablespoons oil, the honey and soy sauce until smooth. Set aside to dress the rice.

Honey and Soy Sauce Dressing

Honey and Soy Sauce Dressing

black forbidden rice

The black forbidden rice is done. And yes, that’s steam you can see.

Once your rice is done, remove from the heat and set aside for 5 minutes to finish cooking. Fluff with a fork and pour into medium or large serving bowl. Add in the peas and peaches and mix well. Pour the dressing over the mixture (start with about half of the mixture and add more as needed) and mix well. Then toss in your shrimp, serve and enjoy! Mine didn’t look as pretty as Giada’s, but it tasted pretty good. Wasn’t as good re-heated the next day so I recommend making enough for one at a time or for a group. Now I wonder if black forbidden rice is good in sushi?

Shrimp and Black Forbidden Rice

Shrimp and Black Forbidden Rice

2 Responses to “Shrimp and Black Forbidden Rice”


  1. Gourmet Burger and Sweet Potato Fries | Acting Like A Chef - November 14, 2013

    […] I saw the box of gourmet hamburger patties that my friend Mary gave me before she left for Texas (remember the shrimp?) and it hit me-I could make sweet potato fries to go with a yummy burger! It was a nice day so I […]

  2. Oscar Party: Shrimp Plus Quinoa and Rice Salad | Acting Like A Chef - June 12, 2014

    […] rice, which I happened to have just enough of in my cupboards from previous recipes. (Remember the Giada dish that used black […]

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