Forbidden Rice Porridge

imageThe once wild and lawless lands of Cudden Point, where smuggling was a way of life, are situated in the most south western tip of Cornwall. Here lie hidden coves tucked into the edges of the sea and protected by the shelter of  Mounts Bay. This dark and rich landscape, with its secretive history, combined with the treasured black rice of this post, made me think of all the summer holidays I have spent here with my children. The Forbidden black rice of this porridge echoing the colour of the black slate shoreline. Its an exotic and rare ingredient, like smugglers contraband brought in under cover of darkness from far off countries.

IMG_5277Now that my two elder daughters have left home I still meet in this beautiful and mysterious place, with my friend Cathy, her two children, and my son and niece every summer. We spend our time, making memories, and building on customs and traditions that grow as every summer passes. Even at the height of summer it is a demanding and challenging holiday and not one for sissies. A storm can whip up out of nowhere and tear your tent away and even when the sea looks calm, the strong undercurrents in the sea can snatch you out to sea when least expected. The weather can feel quite extreme and dramatic at times, but when the sun is shining and you watch your children gaining confidence as they jump higher off the rocks at each passing year, it is heaven on earth.

The making of porridge for breakfast is one tradition we never tire of, also going to the health food shop, which is a little shack at the side of the road selling local produce and fair trade goods. I can’t tell you how happy this makes a couple of health nerds like us! Cathy is queen of the toppings and this is always what makes our porridge extra special. She usually brings a whole box of carefully chosen ingredients for this very purpose. My job is to provide the kefir, which travels with me like a very loved member of the family. We need porridge in this tough terrain, something that will stick to the sides and keep us going for hours. If we walk to the beach we may only be able to carry a few snacks and so we need a breakfast which will be both hearty and nourishing to sustain us and the children.

imageForbidden rice is an ancient grain which is not as common or popular as brown rice, yet it has some very impressive health benefits.  Eaten for thousands of years in the far east, it was for centuries reserved solely for the use of  Chinese royalty, every single grain of rice was was banned by anyone who wasn’t from a noble, or extremely wealthy family, it was completely forbidden for the lower class Chinese people to grow or consume it, and has only relatively recently been able to be purchased in the West.

imageBlack rice is a very deep black or purple colour and it is this colour, like blueberries which indicates its high antioxidant properties. The outer bran hull of black rice actually contains one of the highest levels of the antioxidant anthocyanin found in any other known food. Anthocyanin antioxidants  have been shown to help protect against cardiovascular disease caused by free radical damage, reduce inflammation and detoxify the body. Although both brown and red rice are high in beneficial antioxidants it is only the black rice which contains anthocyanin.

Forbidden Rice Porridge


  • 1 cup of forbidden or black rice (preferably soaked over night)
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 3 cups of water (you may need to add more or less)
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • pinch of sea salt

Optional toppings

  • Date syrup
  • sliced ripe banana
  • fresh raspberries
  • kefir or greek yoghurt
  • freshly ground flax seed
  • pumpkin seeds
  • walnuts
  • Bee pollen
  • Maca powder
  • Extra coconut milk


The night before soak rice in a bowl

The next morning drain and rinse rice

Place in a medium sized pan along with  coconut milk, water, coconut oil and salt

Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce the heat to the lowest setting and simmer gently for 1-1/2 hours

Keep an eye on the rice and stir from time to time to make sure the bottom doesn’t stick. At the end of the cooking time check for softness of the rice and consistency, you may want to add more milk or water, if it is too wet let it cook with the lid off for about 10 minutes.

Spoon porridge into bowls and add your toppings.









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