Black Japonica Rice

Preparation info

  • Makes about

    7 cups

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Seductions of Rice

By Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid

Published 1998

  • About

This is another specialty rice developed by the Lundberg brothers of California. It is a mix of two rices: about 75 percent mahogany-red medium-grain rice and 25 percent black short-grain japonica-type rice. Neither rice is milled, so the mixture has the cooking characteristics of brown rice. The grains of Black Japonica gleam beautifully against the red when you see the raw grain in bulk. After thorough washing, some of the coating on the red rice comes off and the grain looks more mottled in color. Because the rice is whole-grain, it, like brown rice, needs more water and a longer cooking time than white (milled) rice. There is not much aroma as the rice cooks. When done, it has a grainy, slightly nutty aroma and its taste, too, is grain-like rather than aromatic; it almost tastes like wheat berries. During cooking, the grains burst open as they absorb water, exposing the tender, almost-white grain inside. The cooked rice is reddish brown; it clumps together somewhat, but is less sticky than cooked Japanese-style white rice. The texture is somewhat chewy yet not tough.

If you plan to serve this rice to accompany Japanese or other East or Southeast Asian flavors, do not salt it. If you are using it as plain rice to accompany Western-style dishes, then do use salt during cooking if you wish.

Because of its slight chewiness and firm grains, this rice lends itself to reheating or to use in soups and stews. Because of its distinctive grain flavor, itโ€™s not a rice to serve plain with subtle tastes and textures; conversely, it stands up well to strong, meaty flavors (rich stocks, for example). It can be substituted in most recipes for brown rice or for Wehani. Serve as an attractive accompaniment to almost any savory dish. Alternatively, use to make Multicolored Black Rice Salad.