From a journey of being traditional to exotic, from being a side dish to the centrepiece and plain white rice to a flavourful gourmet – rice is one of the most consumed ingredients. Celebrated in different cultures and prepared in various cuisines, rice has travelled across continents to claim a significant place in the world foodscape.
With the advent of culinary innovation and several stories around rice, there are various rice adaptions owing to its attributes – aroma, size, colour, behaviour and more. Whatever may be the reason, rice varieties can be described as comfort food, nutrient-rich grain, gluten-free or flavoursome and it is here to stay.
Here are cues from the latest trends showing how to include this versatile ingredient in your diet.
Bowls have changed the way people consume rice. They have sort of carved a place for rice as a mainstay ingredient wrapped in a combination of grains, protein, vegetables, good fats, and sauces. Bowls have typically replaced dinner plates with their health appeal.
Be creative in lending desired flavours, textures and vibrancy to the bowl builds with your choicest rice base (white, brown, long-grain, etc.) or whole-grain and starch (quinoa, noodles, etc.) followed by a protein of your choice (pulses, eggs, meat, etc.) and a perfect dressing.
You can also make a soul-satisfying congee (rice porridge) bowl. A simple dish at heart, Congee’s names and style of preparation vary depending upon the regional culture influences and availability of the type of rice (long-grain, broken, parboiled).
A rice salad a day keeps unhealthy gut at bay.
The evolution of rice in salads is a home run. Across the world, rice is gaining its prominence as a crispy addition to salads. Whether as a crispy rice patty or as crunchy puffed rice. Whether it’s leftover basmati rice or nutty brown rice or freshly cooked sticky (glutinous) rice. Whether as a main ingredient or as add-ins, you can have numerous iterations.
In the end, salad is all about personal preference.
Rice as breakfast? Yea you heard it right. Globally, breakfast is evolving to be rice’s new edge with various restaurants including rice in their breakfast. Moreover, consumers’ perception is shifting towards the inclusion of rice in more than one meal. Perhaps, it’s time to ditch toasts, oatmeal, smoothies, etc. and embrace rice as your breakfast.
Whether you have some rice prepared in advance served with eggs or a freshly prepared batch of rice pudding topped with raisins and almonds or grilled frozen tuna to make a risotto, you are in for a real treat with a punch of carbs, protein and everything nutritious.
The sky is the limit when trying to flavour up rice. New formats of rice such as hybrid Thai berry rice or puffed rice offer huge opportunity for wide application of rice across all the meals. Not just these varieties, you can add coconut milk, creamy broth or another desired flavour to long-grain rice or Jasmine rice and let your taste buds come alive. Rice can also be caramelized or pan-toasted to enhance its nutty texture.
If you so like, you may churn out brown rice milk or wild rice popcorns. With these adoptions, rice has made its place in menus of leading restaurants of the world.
There’s always an ongoing debate: Is rice healthy? The good news is this fundamental and widespread crop fueling more than half of the world’s population have a plethora of benefits – rich in carbohydrates, proteins, fibres, vitamins and provides instant energy. With more than 40,000 varieties of rice (not all are equally nutritious), some are naturally more beneficial as compared to others.
Irrespective of the type, all rice varieties are gluten-free and with the rise of global consumers preferring such products, they continue to become global staple.
Tired of consuming rice in its original form? We have an idea! Consider consuming rice in the form of pancakes, idlis, puris, rotis, khichdi, etc. The only point of consideration in this style of preparation is consistency and proportion. You may choose from medium or short-grain rice and broken rice.
The evolving global culinary landscape and its underlying advances along with consumers’ enthusiasm towards exploring traditional and heirloom rice varieties have led to the rebirth of rice. With the ever-increasing appetite of consumers to consume rice in new avatars, rice revolution is surely round the corner.