I was given some Black Burma rice by Ashok and Vivek who grow this among other indigenous rice like Telosing, Ambemohr, and Sarveti on their farm. I believe Vivek got the seeds from the Andamans and the deep brown paddy field is a fine sight among the other saturated greens.
Looking at the rice closely it seemed like a variegated purple rice, with its medium size and different coloured grains. Black hull colouration of the rice is controlled by 3 complementary genes and therefore each geographical area seems to have a different variety.
Grown more extensively in South Asia, Thailand, Indonesia than in India it is popularly made into a sweet rice pudding with coconut, sesame seeds and cinnamon in that region.In Burma it is served in the rural areas accompanied by cups of steaming hot tea during the Karen New Year when glutinous steamed rice is traditionally made after the harvest.
By the way Black Burma or purple rice is not to be confused with Himalayan wild rice which is really a grass rather than a paddy. The rice had been very lightly polished in order to keep all the precious nutrients . Kheer is made with vermicelli or rice here and the black burma rice has been used instead of a white rice.
Black or Purple Rice Pudding/ Kheer
- 1 cup black or purple rice
- 2 litres milk ( 4 pints)
- 6 elaichi / cardamoms
- 1/2 cup sugar
Wash the rice and soak for six hours. Add to the 2 litres of milk and bring to the boil in a heavy bottomed pan. Turn heat to low and add whole cardamoms. Simmer for approximately 1 1/2 - 2 hours till the rice is cooked, soft and the mixure fairly thick and glutinous.Stir occasionally to make sure the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Add 1/2 cup sugar and stir till dissolved. Remove cardomom and serve.
Serves 4-6 .The pudding has a lovely nutty flavour and a mauve to plum colour depending on how long it has been cooked. Quite unusual.