Forbidden Rice Pudding (Gluten-free, Sugar-Free)

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetI love rice. I could eat it every day. I always tell my friends it’s my “desert island food.” As in, if I were stranded on a desert island and could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, that thing would be rice. My love for this amazing grain does not discriminate. I love white rice, brown rice, sticky rice, rice pilaf, wild rice, Spanish rice, arborio, jasmine, basmati, long grain, short grain, you name it. Don’t be grossed out, but my all-time favorite midnight snack is a bowl of steaming white rice doused in ketchup. You heard that right. Ketchup. Don’t knock it ’til you try it. ; )

Rice is Chinese comfort food. I love the huge family-sized bowl of rice on a Chinese dinner table. I love spooning it into my smaller bowl where it will get soaked in sauce after delicious sauce as I gingerly chopstick morsels of sizzling veggies and tofu and lay them comfortably on top. Chinese love to make rice the star of their desserts as well. Whether it’s a glutinous rice ball, a steamed sweet rice cake or a bowl of fragrant Forbidden Rice Pudding, rice is just as delicious sweet as it is savory.

This recipe is a stunner. Chinese black rice (also known as Forbidden Rice) is said to have once been eaten exclusively by the Emperors of China. It has a deep purple color, a soft texture with just the right amount of bite, and a somewhat nutty flavor. It’s also vitamin- and mineral-rich, packed with fiber, and loaded with antioxidants. It looks gorgeous on a plate, topped with vibrant, fresh mango.

You only need a few ingredients to serve up this magnificent pudding. It can be enjoyed as a dessert, snack or even breakfast! And it’s gluten-free and sugar-free so what are you waiting for?

Here’s the lineup:

  • one 15-oz bag of forbidden black rice (I use Lotus Foods brand)
  • 3 + 3/4 cups water
  • one 14-oz can of full-fat coconut milk
  • 7 oz unsweetened almond milk (possibly more for desired consistency)
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • black sesame seeds, for garnish
  • one ripe mango, cubed


  • 2-5 tsp maple syrup or agave (for those who desire a sweeter taste)


Wash your rice and then place it into a saucepan along with the water. Cook on high heat until it comes to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover partially with the lid, and continue cooking until the water has all been absorbed.

The rice after it has absorbed all the water

The rice after it has absorbed all the water

Combine the coconut milk, almond milk and bananas (and optional sweetener) in a blender until smooth.

When your rice has finished cooking, simply pour the milk-banana mixture over the rice and gently fold it in until the rice is evenly coated. If you desire a more soup-like consistency, simply add more almond milk, continuing to stir until you have it the way you like it.

Spoon the pudding into small bowls (this is a rich, decadent pudding so servings should be modest), top with your fresh mango and a sprinkling of black sesame seeds, and enjoy!

Happy eating!