What Is Forbidden Rice? (What It Tastes Like, How To Prepare It + More)

Rice has been a staple in many countries since ancient times. Since not all types of rice are created equal, some types of rice are held in higher esteem and this is especially true when it comes to forbidden rice.

Given its mysterious name, you might be wondering what exactly forbidden rice is. I looked into it, and here’s what I found!

What Is Forbidden Rice?

Forbidden rice is another term for black rice. In ancient China, black rice was rare and considered a tool for prolonging life. Consequently, black rice was eaten only by the emperor and was forbidden to everyone else, hence the name forbidden rice. Contrary to popular belief, forbidden rice is not a type of black rice, but is black rice itself.

In case you’re interested to learn more about the origins of forbidden rice and what qualities make forbidden rice stand out from other rice variants, keep reading!

Why Do They Call It Forbidden Rice?

Forbidden rice got its name from the fact that black rice was not allowed to be consumed by anybody else in ancient China but the emperor.

Given the difficulty of cultivating forbidden rice and the many health benefits that forbidden rice brings, people believed only the emperor had a right to eat forbidden rice.

Where Is Forbidden Rice Grown?

Forbidden rice is mainly cultivated in Zhejiang in the northern region of China. However, forbidden rice is also grown in Manipur, India, and Japan.

What Does Forbidden Rice Taste Like?

Forbidden rice has an earthy taste and aroma with sweet, floral undertones. Generally, the earthy taste comes from the forbidden rice bran.

Additionally, the sweeter notes come from the forbidden rice’s endosperm, where the starch is mainly concentrated.

Is Forbidden Rice Gluten-Free?

Forbidden rice, just like other rice variants, is naturally gluten-free.

Unless the forbidden rice is processed with gluten-containing ingredients, which is usually the case with boxed rice, forbidden rice should be safe for celiacs.

Is Forbidden Rice Wild Rice?

Forbidden rice and wild rice may look similar, but they aren’t the same. Forbidden rice is a grain, while wild rice is the seed of a semi-aquatic grass that grows mostly in the West.

Additionally, wild rice has more in common with white and brown rice than with forbidden rice. On the tongue, wild rice has a nutty taste combined with grassy flavors.

In comparison, forbidden rice has a stronger earthy aroma and taste.

Is Forbidden Rice Whole Grain?

Forbidden rice is whole grain rice because forbidden rice is eaten with the edible components of the forbidden rice, namely the bran, germ, and endosperm.

Is Forbidden Rice Dyed?

Is Forbidden Rice Dyed?

Authentic forbidden rice is not dyed. Forbidden rice naturally has a pigment called anthocyanin that gives forbidden rice its deep purple color that looks black.

However, there is forbidden rice that is dyed. You’ll know whether this is the case when you rinse the rice and the water changes color or the rice turns a significantly lighter shade.

Additionally, the water you use to rinse the rice shouldn’t stain your hand.

Is Forbidden Rice Keto-Friendly?

Just like most rice variants, forbidden rice is not considered keto-friendly because of forbidden rice’s carb content.

Is Forbidden Rice Healthier Than Brown Rice?

Forbidden rice is considered healthier than brown rice, mainly because brown rice contains more fiber and is rich in antioxidants.

Additionally, forbidden rice has fewer calories than brown rice, making forbidden rice an excellent choice for people who are trying to manage their weight.

Is Black Glutinous Rice The Same As Forbidden Rice?

Forbidden rice comes in long-grain, medium-grain, and short-grain formats. Regardless of the black rice is glutinous, black rice still falls under the category of forbidden rice.

How To Cook Forbidden Rice?

Forbidden rice can be cooked in different ways, but the most popular is the absorption method.

When using the absorption method, you have to rinse the forbidden rice thoroughly, drain it, and place it in a saucepan. Pour water over the rice and bring the rice to a boil.

Make sure to use medium-high heat and once the water is boiling, add salt, and reduce the heat. Put the lid on and let the forbidden rice cook for at least thirty-five minutes.

Once all the water has been absorbed, turn off the heat and let the forbidden rice rest for ten minutes. Finally, fluff the rice with a fork and serve.

How To Cook Forbidden Rice In A Rice Cooker?

To cook forbidden rice in a rice cooker, rinse the forbidden rice until the water is clear and put the forbidden rice in the metal insert of the rice cooker.

Pour one cup of water for every cup of forbidden rice you use. Afterward, set the rice cooker to brown rice mode.

In case there’s no brown rice mode, set the timer for forty-five minutes or simply push the appropriate button.

How To Cook Forbidden Rice In Instant Pot?

To cook forbidden rice in an instant pot, rinse the forbidden rice and place the forbidden rice in the instant pot. For every cup of forbidden rice, you must use one cup of water.

Afterward, secure the lid and set the instant pot to cook on high pressure for around seventeen minutes.

Finally, use the instant pot natural release setting for ten minutes before releasing the remaining pressure inside the pot. Fluff the forbidden rice before serving.

Take a look at our other articles to learn what Baldo rice is, what vermicelli rice is, and what veggie rice is.


Forbidden rice is another name for black rice. When black rice was still reserved for the Chinese emperor in ancient times, black rice was called forbidden rice.

While forbidden rice is accessible to the general public today, forbidden rice is still regarded as rarer and superior to other types of rice.

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