Delving into the Archives… Black Rice

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summary: recipe for perfect rice every time; Basement of St. Lawrence Market; local asparagus is way better than imported; is expensive black rice really better? Yes, if there are shrimps in Pernod;

black rice

Back in the middle of June, at the height of asparagus season, we rode our bikes to St. Lawrence Market. I can’t remember now exactly why we HAD to go to St. Lawrence Market. It wouldn’t have been for the asparagus. We get terrific asparagus in June at our favourite vegetable store just down the street from our house.

But. Could it have been Placeware’s kitchen supply to look at pullman bread tins and find out they are quite expensive and rather large? (How many times really would we want square bread?) Or were we looking for Asian gold mustard seeds at Kozlik’s? Or perhaps it was for the bacon at Witteveen Meats….

Whatever the reason, we decided to wander around the lower level. Once there, we couldn’t help but stop to gaze at all the dried lentils, beans, grains and rice at Rube’s Rice. Who knew there were so many different kinds of rice!

We asked the vendor what her favourite rice was. Without hesitation, she pointed to the organic black rice; she loves its nutty flavour.

We hesitated for a moment. It wasn’t the exorbitant price. It was the memory from long ago of a miserable 24 hours after dining at a Thai restaurant. What did we have?? I really don’t remember but I suspect there may have been seafood. I do remember the dessert: a sticky short-grain black rice pudding. I don’t remember how much of it I ate. But I can’t imagine that I had very much of it. I’m not at all a fan of rice pudding. T, on the other hand, adores it.

That sticky black rice pudding did NOT adore T….

But we kept telling ourselves that T must have had a bad clam or something. And that long-grain black rice would be completely different. So we decided to take the plunge. Even though it was expensive, we’re worth it.

With the price at around $19 a kilo, we got just enough for one dinner. (We’re not THAT special. :-) :-) )

As we rode home, we kept hoping we’d like it.

Just to make sure, T decided to make shrimps in Pernod to go with it. After all, almost anything tastes great with shrimps in Pernod!

shrimps in Pernod

Stunningly beautiful Ontario asparagus drizzled with butter sealed the bargain. We garnished the plates with parsley, chive flowers, summer savory, and tarragon from the garden. And a crisp cold (but not too cold) Trebbiano d’Abruzzo.

Once again, we ate like kings.

And the organic black long-grain rice? Well, it was good. And it sure looks pretty. But was it really better than the long grain white Thai rice we get? We’re not so sure. In fact, I doubt that we’ll be racing to St. Lawrence Market to get more organic black rice.

We might race there to get more bacon though….

Here’s how T cooked the rice to perfection:

Perfect Long-Grain Rice Every Time

  • 1 c uncooked long-grain rice
  • 2 c water
  • salt, to taste
  1. Put the rice into a pot and cover with cold water. Use your fingers to gently mix it. Pour the water out and repeat two more times until the water is relatively uncloudy.
  2. Put the drained uncooked rice into a largish heavy bottomed pot. Add water and salt; turn the heat up to high.
  3. As soon as it comes to a boil, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid; place it on a footed rack over the hot burner and immediately turn the heat off. Allow the rice to sit on the stovetop that is turned OFF, always covered, for 40 minutes. DON’T PEEK UNDER THE LID!!
  4. Just before serving, fluff the rice with a fork.


1.) how much water The amount of liquid may vary, depending on the rice used. We’ve found that with the white Jasmine long grain rice we buy, 1+5/8 cups of liquid for 1 cup of uncooked rice is the correct amount. The finished rice should be quite separate and dry, ie: NOT sticky.


black rice

Kozlik’s Canadian Mustard was established in 1948 and has remained family owned and operated to this day, producing hand-made mustard in small batches. […] We are deeply committed to natural ingredients and socially responsible business practices, as our mustards are non-GMO, gluten-free, and contain absolutely no additives or preservatives.
– St. Lawrence Market Vendors | Kozlik’s Canadian Mustard
Have you been looking everywhere for a particular kitchen or cooking item, but just can’t find a store that sells it? […] [L]ook no further! Come on down to Placewares—a kitchen gadget and specialty store […] [with] enough items to provide hours of browsing (or rapid and courteous service from our wonderful staff)
– St. Lawrence Market Vendors | Placeware’s
Doug Witteveen […] takes great pride in making sure your every meal is delicious. […] Be sure to try the fresh Sliced Bacon made from Doug’s original recipe created 40 years ago. […] Witteveen Meats – selling the highest quality of Beef, Pork & Poultry Products for 65 years. Family owned & operated.
– St. Lawrence Market Vendors | Witteveen Meats
[Rube’s] was the first business to open in the South Market basement in the early 1970 […] [with] many loyal, regular customers who know they can find rare varieties of rice amidst the largest selection of rices in Canada (if not North America).
– St. Lawrence Market Vendors | Rube’s Rice

Asparagus: Imported vs Local

The other day, we saw that our vegetable store was selling 2 largish bunches of asparagus for $2. Wow!

Of course we bought some.

And that night, we sat down to dine.

And. We. Had The. Worst. Steamed. Asparagus. Ever.

Not only was it woody, but it was almost flavour free. It was nothing at all like the stunningly beautiful local asparagus we had with the black rice in June.

The next day, at the market, we looked a little more closely at the sign over the “special” asparagus. It had travelled a looooong way to get to our favourite store. It was from South America….

We sure learned our lesson. We will only ever get locally grown asparagus from now on!


This entry was posted in food & drink, posts with recipes, vegetarian on by .

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2 responses to “Delving into the Archives… Black Rice

    1. ejm Post author

      It is pretty beautiful, isn’t it, Tanna? But I’m not sure it’s worth the extra expense. I think we’ll just use regular white Jasmine rice – that way, we can use the money we save to by more bacon. :-)


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