Rice is life: Three ways to spice up your black rice

Photo by Joanna Kosinska from Unsplash.

By Vina Medenilla

If there’s one food that Filipinos can’t live without, it’s probably rice. Locals incorporate rice in various dishes–from full meals to light snacks. 

Rice is the most important agricultural crop in the country and is consumed by 90 percent of the total population, according to a journal published in the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)’s website. 

Apart from the white rice that everybody loves, other rice varieties such as black rice (Oryza sativa L. indica) are tasty, too! Plus, it carries hefty nutrients that you can harness in a lot of ways. 

Here are a few recipes that you can try out to add a twist to your black rice: 

Black rice bilo-bilo 

Ginataang bilo-bilo is a sweet Filipino delicacy that is made with handmade sticky rice balls, coconut milk, and other goodies.

Black rice bilo-bilo. (Screengrab from ATI’s webinar titled ‘Now Brewing Rice Coffee and its Benefits.’)

Grind the uncooked black rice using a blender or other food processor to turn it into powder. Combine rice powder with water, then mix them thoroughly until it reaches a soft and sticky texture.

Using your hands, scoop around one to two teaspoons of the mixture and roll it in between your palms to make a round shape. The size of the bilo-bilo or rice balls is up to you, but do not make it too big!

Add the glutinous rice balls to the boiling water, followed by kamote, gabi, tapioca pearls, coco sugar, and coconut milk. 

You may also add other ingredients such as lemongrass and pandan leaves for a richer flavor and aroma. 

Stir them until cooked. Serve and enjoy a bowl of this dessert soup any day. 

Lumpia with rice

Lumpia or spring rolls come in different sizes, fillings, and flavors. If you wish to take your lumpia to the next level, spice it up with ingredients that are not typically added to this dish. 

Simply add all the ingredients, which include the cooked black rice, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and deboned tinapa in a bowl. Mix them until well-blended. 

Next, get one tablespoon of filling and place it at the bottom part of the egg roll wrapper. Roll the wrapper upwards tightly, fold the sides, and do not forget to dip your finger in the water to seal the edges of the wrapper!

Fry the lumpia for several minutes until it turns brown. Serve them with a dip of your choice. 

Lumpia with black rice. (Screengrab from ATI’s webinar titled ‘Now Brewing Rice Coffee and its Benefits.’)

The addition of rice to your lumpia will make it a great on-the-go snack!

Rice coffee

Rice coffee is also easy to prepare. You only need to follow two steps: roasting and grinding. 

Start by roasting a half kilo of uncooked black rice in a pan over low to medium heat. Continuously stir it to make sure the rice is evenly cooked.

After 30 minutes, or when the rice has turned a dark, roasted color, remove it from the heat. Then crush the cooked rice until it becomes a powder.

In a separate container, mix one-half kilo of black rice powder, a half kilo of sugar, and two tablespoons of turmeric.

Pack your black rice coffee into a food-grade jar or plastic pouch before selling them to the market.  

Rice is undeniably essential in a Filipino diet, and it doesn’t have to be consumed the ordinary way. It can be enhanced by incorporating them into meals that we can all enjoy and benefit from–just like these three food items. 

Photos and information from a webinar held by the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) titled ‘Now Brewing: Rice Coffee and its Benefits.

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Vina Medenilla
Vina Medenilla is a content producer for Agriculture Monthly magazine. She is a graduate from Miriam College with a bachelor’s degree in Communication. Fashion, photography, and travel are some of the things she loves. For her, connection with nature is essential to one’s life.

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