Forbidden rice is such a great switch up from the normal plate of brown or white. "Forbidden" because it was only allowed to be eaten by Chinese royalty, it is now readily available to us common folk. It has a wonderfully nutty flavor that is extenuated by toasting the grains first before simmering in water.
Sweet, sticky and spicy hoisin marinade slathered over thick pieces of grilled eggplant with lightly charred bok choy and beautifully black forbidden rice.
Grilled Hoisin Eggplant
1 large eggplant, 1/2" discs
1 tbl canola oil, plus more for grilling
3 garlic cloves, minced
1" piece fresh garlic, roughly chopped
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
1 tbl rice vinegar
1 tbl tamari
salt and pepper
1 bunch bok choy, roughly chopped
2/3 cup black forbidden rice
3 tbl cilantro
Place eggplant discs in a colander and sprinkle with 1 tbl of salt. Let sit and drain of excess moisture for 30 minutes.
In a small pot, heat 1 tbl of oil and saute the garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes for 2 minutes until toasty. Add the hoisin, vinegar and tamari. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes then set aside.
Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium high heat.
Pat eggplant dry and brush both sides with olive oil. Season both sides with salt and pepper and grill for 5 minutes on each side.
Lightly toss the bok choy with 1 tsp of oil and toss on the grill. While the greens are wilting, baste one side of the eggplant with marinade and grill 2 minutes. Turn over and baste the other side, cooking 2 minutes more.
In a small pot over medium heat, toast the rice in a dry pan for 2 minutes then add 1 cup water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes until the rice is tender and the water has been absorbed. Toss with 2 tbl cilantro.
Serve grilled eggplant with bok choy and forbidden rice. Garnish with 1 tbl cilantro.