Tag Archives: black rice

Mexican Pulled Chicken With Black Beans And Chipotle


What will endear you to this recipe is its versatility to be served several different ways. I have three different meals that I tend to make from this one chicken recipe.

There’s the obvious way – served with rice. My pick is often with black rice (which isn’t black once cooked but rather a deep purple and the more wholesome of the choices). Of course it’s absolutely delicious with both brown and white as well. Any steamed green will add good balance here.

On other occasions it’s soft tacos. The pulled chicken piled into a soft tortilla and adorned with guacamole, sour cream and something green, be it coriander, spinach, or crisp iceberg lettuce. Now that’s a meal my children LOVE.

Both of those meals tend to leave me with left overs, so what better meal to turn the remainder chicken into than soup!

An easy option for soup using the leftovers: Cook diced celery and carrot slowly till soft, add vegetable or chicken stock, add a large spoon of the pulled chicken – beans and sauce included – and possibly some more tinned tomatoes, simmer it gently, eat it lovingly.



Don’t be daunted here, you prepare pulled chicken in much the same way as you prepare pulled pork, pulled beef, and pulled lamb. The simple method of using two forks to gently pull apart the tender meat is effortless when the meat has been cooked long and slow.

Here, whole chicken thigh fillets are braised in a Mexican flavoured sauce of tomatoes, spices, and chipotle chilli, and finished with grated chocolate, in much the same way as Mexican mole would be (but far easier). The chicken is then ‘pulled’ before going back in the sauce.

Although the amount of  chocolate used is small it must be of a high cocoa content – the sweet stuff won’t do. I use chocolate made with 70% cocoa beans. The sauce takes on a richer taste with a subtle earthiness that matches gracefully with the black beans.



Mexican pulled chicken with black beans and chipotle 


700g free range chicken thigh fillet 

2 medium brown onions, sliced thinly

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

3/4 cup chicken stock

2 chipotle chillies in adobo sauce, chopped – see note

400g can whole peeled tomatoes

2 tbsp grated 70% cocoa chocolate

1/2 tbsp brown sugar

400g can black beans, drained and rinsed

Olive oil

To serve

Steamed rice ( black, brown or white)

Mashed avocado

sour cream

chopped coriander 

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 1tbsp of olive oil in a heavy based pan with tight fitting lid, seal the chicken till lightly coloured on all sides.  Remove chicken and set aside.

Using the same pan (no need to wash it) heat another tbsp oil and cook the onions and garlic gently for 3 minutes. Add the oregano, cumin and cinnamon and stir till fragrant.

Place the chicken back in the pan, add the stock and chipotle chillies, and squeeze the tomatoes to break apart before adding to the sauce. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid, turn the heat to low and simmer gently for 45 minutes.

Remove the chicken and place in a flat tray. Using two forks pull the chicken into thin strips. Set aside.

Meanwhile, place the sauce back on the heat, add the chocolate, sugar and black beans and simmer for 15 minutes.

Place the pulled chicken back in the sauce, check the seasoning and serve with rice, avocado, chopped coriander and sour cream.

Note: Chipotle chillies in adobo sauce can be found in most green grocers, some Asian stores, delicatessens, or even order them on line. Once opened, store them in a air tight container in the fridge and use within three weeks. or try them in this great relish .




Creamy Black Rice With Ginger, Coconut And Mango


I wouldn’t for a minute want you to think that this is a breakfast dish I eat regularly. It’s not. Most mornings it’s homemade muesli with yoghurt and fruit, or my latest obsession a green smoothie with chia seeds. But every now and then, when time and circumstances permit, I turn to this slightly exotic, utterly creamy, black rice.

In my kitchen black rice would usually find its way into salads, be used in a vegetable fritter, or be served under a spicy beef curry. So I admire it for finding it’s way to my breakfast table. The nutty wholesome flavour agrees with my tastebuds and funnily enough, unlike white rice, it’s rather soothing on the digestive system. Probably because it’s gluten free. 

I’ve used fresh ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves to delicately impart their flavours, and honey to sweeten at the end. On other occasions I have instead used vanilla bean and pure maple syrup (also delicious). And always coconut milk.

Slices of mango, now that they are in season, are sweet and tropical but not essential. The berries are though! These add a crucial sour taste and of course essential vitamins and antioxidants. And with all the antioxidants already contained within this gorgeously coloured black rice (which actually turns purple after cooking) you’ll be super charged with goodness for what ever the day ahead may bring. 


Creamy black rice with ginger, coconut and mango


1/2 cup black rice

500ml water

400ml can organic coconut milk 

4 cardamon pods

2cm piece ginger, sliced

4 cloves

1/2 cinnamon stick, broken into smaller pieces

1 1/2 tbsp honey or pure maple syrup

To serve:

Sliced fresh mango


Toasted coconut chips – optional 

Place the rice in a medium-small saucepan, cover with 500ml water, bring to the boil, turn down the heat and cook for 25 minutes. By this stage nearly all the water will have evaporated but don’t drain or rinse the rice. Add the coconut milk and bring back to the boil.

Meanwhile, place the sliced ginger and cardamon pods in a small mortar and pestle and bruise lightly for the flavours to release. Add these to the rice along with the cloves and cinnamon. I don’t bother tying up my spices in muslin cloth as I don’t have a problem picking out the spices at the end. If this bothers you, maybe you might. Continue cooking the black rice on a gentle simmer for a further 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Once rice is cooked, remove what spices you can find and stir through the honey. Set aside to cool slightly before serving. In fact in hotter weather it’s nice when it’s served almost cold.

Divide the rice between bowls, top with blueberries (or any other fresh berry), sliced mango and toasted coconut chips. 

(C) Copy right 2016 – Creamy black rice with ginger, coconut and mango

Backed ricotta salad with black rice and corn



The Blue Mountains, two hours west of Sydney, has always held a special place in my heart, and it will continue to do so as I had the great pleasure of marrying my spunky husband there last weekend. For those of you who have had the experience of getting married, you’d know how absolutely time consuming planning a wedding is. We survived.

To my husband, I love you. Welcome back to life.

The past weeks I’ve been planning some recipes I’d share when I finally gained my time back. This wasn’t one of them. But you know, inspiration comes from many places.

My brother, also a chef, cooked us a wonderful wedding breakfast the morning after. Apart from the homemade tomato and currant chutney with habanero chilli, that he lovingly bottled and gifted for our small, intimate family wedding, there was eight hour slow-cooked double smoked ham, fresh croissants, silky scrambled eggs, cheeses, marinated olives, crispy pastizzi, and the most delicious baked ricotta.




So, the inspiration for this salad comes from my adoring brother. Thanks Dan.

Ricotta is versatile and when baked becomes firm and sweet, the soft cheese being completely transformed. Add flavour with lemon zest and smoked paprika, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and cracked black pepper. Herbs are also a wonderful thing when baking ricotta, especially if you are fortunate enough to snip them fresh from the back garden or potted balcony. Try some fresh thyme, dill, or bay leaf. Rubbing the tray with oil before placing the ricotta down ensures a crisp layer will caramelise during baking and gives colour and flavour to the once white ricotta.




A quick word on black rice. If you haven’t yet tried it, run, run now to the supermarket and grab yourself a box of this gorgeous staple. Also called the forbidden rice it’s deep purple colour when cooked is just as irresistible as it’s flavour, which I’m not sure how to describe other than delicious. Black rice has a similar cooking time to brown. Try serving it with your next casserole or curry, you won’t be disappointed. I like it in this salad for its flavour, colour and texture.




I wanted a dressing with a little spice. Cumin and dried chilli are cooked with the corn and fresh coriander. A glug of extra virgin olive oil and the juice from the zested lemon is added with salt and pepper. It works. Though lime would be equally good and in hind sight I’ll do that next time. Lime zest and lime juice.

I used Frisee lettuce , because I love it’s shape, and it’s bitter flavour. Be sure to only use the lighter inner leaves and if you don’t like bitter lettuce, baby spinach or some peppery rocket would be divine. Let the other ingredients shine through and only use a handful of greenery.




Baked ricotta salad with black rice and corn

This recipe will serve 4 as a starter


1/2 cup black rice

300g fresh ricotta

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1 tsp hot smoked paprika

2 cobs corn

1/2 tsp dried chilli

1 tbsp cumin

1/2 bunch coriander, chopped

Extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt

Cracked black pepper

1 avocado, sliced

Inner leaves of frisee lettuce or handful baby rocket or baby spinach


Place black rice in a medium pot, cover with plenty of water, bring to the boil and cook for 25-30 minutes, drain and lightly rinse, set aside to cool.


Pre heat oven to 200C. Grease the bottom of a small baking tray with oil, add ricotta and press firmly into a small rectangle. Sprinkle with lemon zest, smoked paprika, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 25-30minutes. Set aside to cool.


Remove the kernels from the two cobs of corn. Heat a medium fry pan with a little extra virgin oil and cook corn gently for 5 minutes, add a little water during cooking to help steam the corn. Add chilli, cumin and chopped coriander, cook for 1 minute. Turn off the heat add juice of 1 lemon and 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, season with sea salt and black pepper, set aside to cool.


Peel and slice avocado into small wedges. When all ingredients have cooled, place a handful of frisee lettuce in a large bowl, add black rice, cooked corn, and crumble baked ricotta into large chunks, toss gently to combine. Add sliced avocado and gently toss, divide between four plates or serve on a platter for guests to help themselves.