• Koji black rice and snake bean (Food Safari Earth)Source: Food Safari Earth

A flavour explosion - from the koji rice to salted kombu, black rice - this one has a nutty flavour and is full of antioxidants.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (4 votes)

"It’s astounding how much flavour top chef Brent Savage (Yellow, Bentley, Cirrus)  incorporates in this clever dish. One of the key flavour building blocks is koji - the bacteria that breaks down the protein in rice or soy beans adding umami - which Brent likens to the deliciousness and taste of parmesan cheese. There are so many intriguing ingredients in this dish - from the koji rice to salted kombu, black or forbidden rice (not the same as sticky black rice) - this one has a nutty flavour and is full of antioxidants. And to make the very delicious black rice crisps, you’ll need a dehydrator. The result of all these complex parts is dark and seriously delicious. A flavour explosion." Maeve O'Meara, Food Safari Earth 



  • 375 g koji rice
  • 110 g pink salt
  • 560 ml water

Kombu stock

  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 400 g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 15 g shredded salted kombu
  • 1 tbsp koji

Black rice

  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 15 g finely chopped ginger
  • 600 g black (forbidden) rice

Black rice crisp

  • 50 g cooked black rice mixture (see above)
  • vegetable or grapeseed oil, for deep-frying 

Dehydrated parsley

  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked 

Herb sauce

  • 1 bunch basil, leaves picked
  • 1 bunch dill, sprigs picked
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked
  • 1 bunch mint, leaves picked
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 2 golden French shallots, chopped
  • 2 green tomatoes, chopped
  • ¼ long green chilli, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, peeled
  • 4 cloves confit garlic (or roasted garlic)
  • 100 ml water
  • 50 ml white wine vinegar 

Snake bean salad

  • 500 g snake beans, cut into 10 cm lengths
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Smoked sour cream

  • 500 g sour cream
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 5 g salt
  • 2 g smoke powder (or liquid smoke to taste) 

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


You will need to begin this recipe at least 4 days ahead.

Dehydration time: 6-8 hours

For the koji, combine all the ingredients on a sterilised metal tray – making sure the rice is evenly distributed through the water. Cover the tray with foil and keep in a warm place for  4-10 days, stirring every 2 days. The temperature should be 27°C -37°C. The rice should break down into a mushy liquid form.

The day before serving, for the kombu stock, combine the stock, mushrooms and salted kombu in a saucepan.  Bring to the boil over medium heat, then simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain. Add the koji and mix well.

For the black rice, preheat the oven to 180°C. Heat the olive oil in an oven-proof frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook for a few minutes or until translucent. Add the rice and stir for 1 minute or until well coated. Add the hot kombu stock and bring to the boil. Cover with a cartouche, then bake for 40 minutes or until tender. Remove and set aside 50 g for the black rice crisp, then cool and refrigerate the remainder until ready to use the following day. Reheat gently to serve.

For the black rice crisp, place the cooked rice between 2 sheets of baking paper and use a rolling pin to flatten the rice as thinly as possible. Peel off and remove the top sheet of paper and place in a dehydrator at 50°C for 6-8 hours (or bake at 50°C for 6-8 hours) or until dried. Heat the oil in a saucepan or deep-fryer to 180°C. Fry the dried black rice in large pieces until crisp, then drain on absorbent paper. Store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

For the dehydrated parsley, place the leaves on a baking paper lined tray and stand in a warm place (or an oven set to the lowest temperature as possible until completely crisp. Crush and sift through a fine sieve to make a powder. 

On the day of serving, for the herb sauce, blanch the parsley, dill, basil and mint leaves in boiling water for 30 seconds, then drain and refresh in iced water. Drain again and gently squeeze out the excess water. Process the herb leaves and olive oil in a blender until very smooth. With the motor running continuously, add the remaining ingredients, one at a time until a smooth puree forms. Set aside for 1 hour, the pass through a fine sieve. 

For the snake bean salad, preheat a charcoal grill or barbecue. Drizzle the beans with olive oil and season with salt. Grill until lightly charred all over. Cut into 3 cm lengths.

For the smoked sour cream, place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until the sour cream becomes light.

To serve, place a dollop of smoked sour cream on the bottom of each serving bowl. Top with snake beans, then spoon the warm black rice over the beans. Spoon herb sauce around the outside and top with rice crisp.  Finish with a sprinkle of the dehydrated parsley.



Ideally, Brent prefers to make the black rice crisp with a separate batch of cooked and dehydrated rice the day before serving, then make another batch on the day to serve as is. If you prefer you can do this too- just make half a recipe of the black rice for the crisps.


Brand-new series Food Safari Earth airs Thursdays at 8pm on SBS then on SBS On Demand. For recipes and more visit the program site right here.