Rice alternatives

Rice is undeniably a major staple in the country, if not the ultimate. Almost everyone eats rice for all three meals in the day; without rice, it’s never a meal. Our rice eating culture is so ingrained that even international quick service restaurants that don’t have rice in their original menu, would include would include rice meals when they operate here. In fact, to most people, how can one enjoy chicken pork adobo without a cup (or two) of warm rice?

There are many alternatives to traditional white rice such as quinoa and oats. FREE IMAGE FROM PEXELS.COM

However, rice as part of the Filipino diet does pose its own health hazards. Too much of it increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, among others.

With access to many options nowadays, consumers look for healthier alternatives to rice, especially those who are watching what they eat. These alternatives often have the same texture of white rice gives, which makes for a good eating experience.

Some of the alternatives available are:

– Brown, black, purple rice — largely available in the supermarkets or in your community markets. The Cordillera region also produces heirloom rice (varieties of which include these too)

– Adlai — gluten-free and considered as superfood due to its health benefits. Also known as Job’s Tears (adlai has tear-shaped grains), adlai has a low glycemic index which makes it good for those watching their blood sugar.

– Oats — one of the healthiest grains available, rich in fiber and antioxidants. Instead of using glutinous rice when making arroz caldo, try to use oats as a replacement (oats caldo).

– Quinoa — very high in protein and is considered one of the plant proteins available, also rich in fiber and low in glycemic index. Use as base for your power bowls
– Cauliflower — pulsed cauliflower is a great substitute for rice, high in fiber and a good source of antioxidants

Below is a rice alternative recipe you can try at home:

Cauliflower Rice

1kg cauliflower
1 piece carrot, cubed
1 cup green beans
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small onion, sliced
Leeks to garnish
Salt, pepper, liquid aminos
Optional: broccoli

1. Take out the cauliflower florets and put in a food processor. Pulse a few times to get a grainy texture similar to rice. If you don’t have a food processor you may grate the florets.
2. In a wok heat oil.
3. Saute garlic and onions until translucent.
4. Add carrots, green beans or any other preferred vegetable of choice.
5. Add the cauliflower.
6. Cover the wok to cook the vegetables for a few minutes. If too dry, add a bit of water.
7. Season with salt, pepper, liquid aminos and sesame oil.
8. Garnish with leeks

– For a complete vegan meal, pair it with fried tofu slices and chili garlic sauce on the side.
– For a regular meal, you may opt for sunny side up eggs.

Yield: 3 to 4 servings

The author may be reached at kaycalpolugtu@gmail.com or follow her at Instagram @kaycalpolugtu and @aplateofbahaykubo.