Do the Rice Thing

Raul Lacara
Executive Chef
Stanford University
Stanford, CA

"‘Black forbidden rice' is a type of rice primarily used in Southeast Asian, Thai, and Indonesian cooking. It has a natural sweetness and a rich black color that is unique. It's typically used as a dessert, but here we use it as a side dish.

"It goes really well with milder fish. It brings out the natural flavors. And the beautiful purplish-blackness of it makes for quite the conversation starter in the dining room!

"Introducing Stanford students to black forbidden rice has been a wonderful experience. So many of them don't know what it is, but are willing to try it. They ask all sorts of questions about the color, and the taste. They don't believe it's natural.

"We serve it with curry and coconut, basil infused, or with lavender. Sometimes we turn it into a powder and cross it with portabella."

Costa Magoulas
Coordinator of Culinary Operations
Volusia County Schools
Deland, FL

"Because of our wellness policy, we have to have a certain number of whole grain items everyday. Rice is a great stand alone whole grain item that the kids love.

"We use rice in a lot of our soups instead of pasta. It's a wonderful starch when added to soups. We do a mulligatawny soup—like the one from Seinfeld—that goes over really well. The teachers get a laugh out of it because they remember Seinfeld's soup Nazi.

"We also do a lot of cultural dishes with rice incorporating tomatoes, curry or Cajun spices."

Daniel McCorkle
Dining Center Service Manager
Haverford College
Haverford, PA

"We offer a spinach tofu risotto that is really popular with students, especially vegetarian students. The rice gives the dish a heartier feel. Other popular rice dishes include the chicken paella, vegetable sierra stew, and arroz con pollo. Of course we also offer rice every day for lunch and dinner, brown rice being the more popular type.

"I think the trend is toward recipes that include rice with protein and vegetables will continue. Students have come to expect more from rice dishes than they get from the traditional steamed white version.

"Haverford College is a sister college to Bryn-Mawr College and dining service managers from both colleges are on our menu committee. Both agree that there is a student demand for more rice dishes as center of the plate entrees."