Korean purple rice was my favorite kind of steamed rice growing up, and still is! It’s steamed rice with a purple color that comes from mixing white rice with black rice.
Heukmi bap (흑미밥) means black rice in Korean. What I’m making is technically “japgokbap” which is a multigrain rice, but usually has beans in it. This one is somewhere in the middle. Either way, the rice turns out purple and I always get questions about where to find “purple” rice grains. There is no such thing! It’s just a little black rice mixed with white rice 🙂
I use a gamasot (가마솥) pot to make my rice. It is a traditional Korean cooking pot that has been used for centuries. It can be used for cooking other things too, but I mostly use mine for rice. I think it is WAY better than a rice cooker! Plus, I already have SO many kitchen gadgets, so it doesn’t make sense for me to have a rice cooker when I can save counter space and money on a pot instead.
Why I prefer cooking rice on the stove
Even if you don’t have a gamasot like this one, I still prefer cooking rice on the stove. All you need is a heavy bottomed pot. The main reason I prefer making rice this way is because I LOVE nurungji! Nurungji is scorched rice, which is made by leaving a thin layer of rice on the outer edges of the pot to cook until they become crispy.
Another reason I prefer cooking rice on the stove is because you can’t really use a rice cooker to make ALL types of rice. I make Mexican red rice, Cuban rice, and coconut garlic rice pretty often and you need to do this on the stove because of all the added ingredients that are added at different times and need to be sautéed.
Short grain white rice – there are many brands you can choose from, but I do not have a preference. I just buy whatever is on sale, and always a Korean or Japanese brand.
Pressed or rolled barley- barley has a lot of fiber and protein. It has a chewy texture and slightly nutty flavor. This is not required to make purple rice- it’s just how I make mine.
Sweet rice (glutinous rice)- I use the same ratio of sweet rice as the barley. It adds a tiny bit of sweetness to the rice, and is also stickier. This is also not required to make purple rice!
Black rice- not to be confused with wild rice, this is what makes the rice purple! You only need a little bit. If you like a more purple rice, just add more black rice grains. And yes- black rice is much healthier for you than just white rice.
I love the subtle flavor of all of these grains combined! This is how my mom has made rice for years.
Water– Unfortunately, I do not have any “fool proof” ways to measure rice against water. I’ve made thousands of pots of rice and just learned how to eyeball it. But my mom taught me a trick a while back for how you can measure it- Lay your hand flat on top of the rice and make sure the water is just covering your knuckles. Works every time!
Make sure you start by washing your rice! You want to wash it 3 to 4 times, or just until the water starts to run clear. You need to remove as much starch as possible, or the rice will be really gummy.
Let the rice soak in water for 30 minutes. By letting your rice soak up some of the water, you reduce the cooking time which will result in a more aromatic rice. The longer you keep rice on heat, the less aromatic it will be. Cooking the rice for a longer period of time will affect the way it tastes, so I really recommend soaking first!
After soaking, cook the rice COVERED for exactly 20 minutes on medium low heat. Turn off the heat and crack the lid, but do not touch the rice for 5 or so minutes. Then fluff the rice with a rice paddle to release steam. If the rice looks too wet- don’t worry it will dry up a little as more steam is released.
Nurungji (누룽지) is scorched rice- I make this every single time I make rice and it is one of my favorite snacks! It is the crunchy rice that is usually left at the bottom of the pot and can be slightly burnt. These are the best parts of rice! Below is a picture of nurungji made from steamed white rice, but it can also be made with purple rice. Click here to see how to make it.
Korean Purple Rice- 흑미밥 (Heukmi Bap)
- 1.5 cups short grain white rice
- 1/4 cup glutinous rice (sweet rice)
- 1/4 cup pressed barley or rolled barley
- 2 tbsp black rice
- 2.5 cups water roughly
- Rinse your rice under cold water until it runs clear, about 3-4 times.
- When adding water, I place my hand flat on top of the rice and cover with enough water to just cover my knuckles. Cover and let the rice soak for 30 minutes. *If you are using a rice cooker or pressure cooker, you can skip this step.
- After 30 minutes, cook the rice COVERED on medium low heat for exactly 20 minutes. Heat settings may vary depending on the thickness of your pot and the strength of your stove. Please refer to the photo to see flame and heat setting on mine.
- After 20 minutes, turn off the heat, remove the lid and gently fluff the rice with a rice paddle. If the rice looks a little too wet, don't worry- it will dry as more steam is released.
- Let the rice rest for 5 minutes with the lid on, but slightly cracked to release some steam.
- Rice is ready to serve. Each grain of rice should be seen distinctly (not mushed together or broken).