Chakhao Amubi (Black Rice Pudding)
I have been staying in North East India for about two years now and finally managed to get my hands on the coveted Manipuri Black Rice. Thanks to a colleague of mine who brought this for me from Manipur.
Manipur or the land of jewels is so beautiful that it is called the ‘Switzerland of India’. With Nagaland, Mizoram and Assam on three sides, Manipur shares its eastern border with Burma. Surrounded by forests, wildlife sanctuaries and beautiful lakes, the state of Manipur is rich in culture and tradition and is a host to a wide variety or art and dance forms. I haven’t yet been fortunate enough to explore the beauty of Manipur, have been there only on short business trips, but this is something that’s definitely on the top of my to-do list.
Black Rice, also known as purple rice is one of the healthiest forms of rice available today – rich in Protein, Iron, Antioxidants, Vitamin E and Fibre. It is typically sold unmilled with the fiber-rich black husks still intact. The outer layer of bran contains one of the highest levels of anthocyanin antioxidants found in food (Wikipedia says antioxidants in black rice even exceeds that found in blueberries).
There’s also an interesting story associated with black rice which I would like to share. During the years when China was ruled by an emperor, black rice was believed to have magical powers and that it could extend lives, hence it was set aside only for the emperor and members of the royal family. The common people were not allowed to eat or even grow this rice for themselves and if anyone dared to do that, he would have to face life threatening consequences. Hence Black rice is also known as the ‘forbidden rice’.
Now, coming back to the dish, the flavours of this rice are awesome and you can see the beautiful color. Chak Hao Amubi is a special dish and is made mainly during festivals and auspicious occasions in Manipur. The recipe is pretty straightforward and is made the same way as you would make a white rice pudding (Kheer), the only difference being in the soaking time.
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook time:20 minutes
Serves : 8, Level : Easy
1 Cup Black Rice
8 Cups Milk (preferably full cream)
1 Cup Sugar or as per taste
1/2 Tsp Cardamom Powder
Raisins as desired (Optional)
1. Wash the rice and soak it in water for about 3-4 hours.
2. Heat the milk in a big vessel till it comes to a boil.
3. Drain the rice and gently add it to the Milk.
4. Cook on medium-low, stirring occasionally, till the rice is cooked and the Kheer reaches a thick consistency.
5. Add the Sugar, Cardamom powder and Raisins. Keep stirring till the sugar is dissolved and desired consistency is reached.
6. The Kheer will thicken more once it cools so adjust the consistency accordingly. If you think it has become too thick, you may add a bit of Milk here.
7. Take it off the heat and garnish as desired. I have used Cashews, Raisins and Pistachios here, you may also use slivers of almonds or any other dry fruit you prefer.
8. You may serve it warm or absolutely chilled as per your choice.