Rice is our staple, perhaps an identity for many of us. If there is one culinary topic that can trigger a plethora of debates, then it should be rice and in these modern times, any information that is related to this quintessential ingredient of the world cuisine is being instantly lapped up.
Be it long, medium or short, rice is actually a cereal grain that goes with the botanical names Oryza sativa and Oryza glaberrima. Rice is available in numerous varieties across the globe and is often served as a main dish along with curries, dals and other accompaniments or as a one pot delicacy like biriyani.
According to the estimates, rice serves as a staple diet for over half the world’s population and is considered as the main source of dietary energy, that is super affordable in 17 countries across Asia and the pacific, 9 countries in the north and south America and 8 countries in Africa.
Health experts believe that the nutritional content of rice differs based on the variety, mostly the colour, besides the soil it was grown in, polished or unpolished, age of the rice etc. India being one of the largest producers of this agricultural commodity is home to numerous varieties. While South Indians take pride in fluffy Sonamasoori or Ponni, North Indians swear by their long grainy Basmati for their biriyanis and pulaos. In India, white rice is the most popular variety but thanks to awareness, brown rice and red rice too are gaining equal amounts of attention, especially among the weightwatchers and mindful eaters. While each rice variety comes with its own goodness, shall we talk about red rice in this article?
Why? Trust us. It’s a good variety and you will learn about its amazing benefits in the next few paragraphs.
What Is Red Rice?
Red rice is a long, grainy rice variety which gets its reddish tinge from the presence of anthocyanin – a water soluble pigment. Available in full hull or partially hulled varieties, red rice comes with a nutty flavour and is high in nutritional content when compared to polished rice. Red rice is botanically referred as Oryza longistaminata or Oryza punctata. It is known as Rakthashali in Ayurveda while in Kerala where it is mostly consumed, is widely referred as Matta rice or Kerala red rice, Palakkadan Matta rice.
Red Rice In Ayurveda:
Ayurveda, the ancient Indian medicine praises red rice for its innumerable health benefits. It is mentioned as Rakthashali in ancient texts and is greatly prized for its exceptional ability in pacifying all tridoshas – Vaata, Pitta and Kapha. Red rice, though time consuming when it comes to cooking, is a powerhouse of antioxidants, zinc, calcium, iron which play a crucial role in strengthening the body.
Benefits of Red Rice:
Consumption of rice is often associated with weight gain but not all varieties contribute to the same. While nutritionists recommend cutting down on white or polished rice if you are on a weight loss journey, including red rice in the daily diet might help you with satisfying rice cravings. Being rich anthocyanin, red rice offers numerous health benefits.
Lowers Blood Glucose:
High levels of blood sugar can play a major havoc with health and interfere with the functioning of all major organs including eyes, liver, kidneys and heart. The glycemic index of red rice is estimated at around 55, making it an ideal choice for the diabetics. It not only keeps your blood sugar levels under check but also keeps you satiated for longer hours, preventing those midday hunger pangs.
Fights Against Lung Disorders:
Coronavirus pandemic had made us realize the importance of lung health like never before. With the contagious infection still lurking around, people with history of lung diseases like asthma and pneumonia are at high risk. Including red rice in daily diet improves lung capacity, thanks to its copious amounts of magnesium. It not only improves and regulates breathing patterns but also improves oxygen consumption, circulation to each cell in the body.
Builds Bone Health:
Red rice is your awesome pick, if you are looking forward to losing on weight without compromising on strength. It is highly recommended for those above 40 years of age as it helps in preventing the onset of arthritis, osteoporosis and various bone related disorders, owing to the presence of calcium and magnesium in significant amounts.
Red rice is an amazing source of both soluble and insoluble fibre and is greatly recommended for those with digestive issues. Digestive fibre plays a crucial role in regulating digestion, optimum absorption of nutrients, easing bowel movement. This rice when cooked properly and consumed helps in treating both constipation and diarrhea.
Triggers Weight Loss:
Red rice even in small quantities works wonders in losing weight. It keeps you satiated for long, improves digestion and triggers weight loss. The amount of fat in this versatile rice is an absolute zero, making it an idle main dish be it for lunch or dinner. Unlike other varieties of rice which are high on carbs, red rice offers 45 grams of carbs after cooking, and you can eat it without worrying about weight gain. So, enjoy it to your heart’s content without worrying about weight gain.
Maintains Heart Health:
High levels of bad cholesterol is one of the main triggers behind various heart related ailments. Clogged arteries lead to heart attacks and can turn fatal. Doctors believe that switching over to red rice from white rice makes heart healthier. The presence of whole grains in rice brings down the levels of bad cholesterol in the body, thus protecting the heart.
Glow From Within:
One of the unique properties of red rice is its presence of anthocyanin, an antioxidant that can delay the signs of premature ageing. If you are often exposed to sunrays and suffer from UV induced skin diseases, its time to consume red rice regularly. Vitamins like zinc, iron and other minerals make your skin to glow from within.
Is Red Rice Better Than Brown Rice?
Red rice and brown rice possess an impressive array of nutritional profile and various plant compound. Both high in protein and fibre when compared to white rice and rich in antioxidant properties, like anthocyanins apigenin, myricetin, and quercetin. However, research suggests that red rice can fight free radicals and prevent cancer and other chronic ailments than brown rice. You can eat both brown rice or red rice to lower the inflammation and keep blood sugar levels under control.
Can We Eat Red Rice Daily?
Red rice can be consumed daily and it in fact serves as a great substitute for brown or white rice. You can add it to the dosa and idli batter for that slight reddish tinge and it in fact has 10 times more antioxidants when compared to brown rice.
How To Cook Red Rice?
Cooking red rice can be a little time-consuming owing to thick, long and grainy texture. Here is how you can cook it perfectly.
In A Saucepan:
Wash and soak red rice for half-an-hour
For one glass of red rice, add 3 glasses of water and let it boil
Add rice and cook it on medium flame with the lid on
Keep stirring and fluff it, for every 5 minutes
It will take around 30 to 40 minutes for the rice to get cooked completely
In A Pressure Cooker:
Wash and soak red rice for 20 minutes
In a pressure cooker, add 2 cups of water and rice
Cook it on medium flame for 6 whistles and switch off the stove
Wait till steam releases, open the lid and fluff the rice
Red Rice Recipes:
Red rice is not just your main course, it can be dished into various appetizing avatars. Here are few easy to make red rice recipes.
Red Rice Kichidi:
¾ cup red rice
¼ cup yellow moong dal
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp crushed black pepper
2 tsp desi ghee
2 green chillies, slit
2 whole dry red chillies
Salt to taste
Soak red rice for 30 minutes before cooking.
In a pressure cooker add moong dal, red rice along with 5 cups of water
Cook it on medium flame for 8 whistles
Switch off the stove and let the steam from cooker release
In a kadai, add ghee, cumin seeds, dry red chilli, green chillies, dry chillies and fry for a minute
Meanwhile, mash the red rice mixture and add this ghee tadka
Red rice is rich in antioxidants, making it a super food. Loaded with impressive nutritional profile, red rice helps you in losing weight without compromising on health or causing health complications. Moong dal like red rice is also high on dietary fibre making it an ideal choice for those dealing with digestive issues. Cumin, pepper too trigger digestive juices and alleviate stomach issues. Desi ghee not only offers great flavour to the dish but also offers incredible health benefits including glowing skin, immunity boost and protecting the body from various diseases.
Red Rice Kheer:
100 grams red rice, soaked for 30 minutes
2 tsp desi ghee
2 cups of milk
¼ tsp cardamom powder
Fistful of assorted nuts including cashews, almonds etc
Sugar as per the taste
In a pan, add nuts and sauté till they turn golden brown
In a saucepan, add soaked red rice and milk
Cook it till becomes tender. If needed add more milk or water
Add in sugar and stir till it gets completely melted
Add cardamom powder and nuts
Serve hot or cold
Red rice is an ideal choice for those on weight loss journey. Loaded with calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, dietary fibre, this versatile rice variety is nutty and sweet to the taste making it ideal for rice based sweet dishes. Milk is rich in calcium and vitamin A, for boosting immunity, keep bones healthy. Desi ghee adds great taste to the dish besides offering incredible benefits. Assorted nuts keep heart healthy and avoid cardiovascular diseases.
Red rice is undoubtedly a great variety of rice but do not overconsume it. Though there are no side effect perse, it can still lead to severe stomach discomfort, pain and indigestion if not consumed in moderate amounts. If you have just started eating red rice as a part of diet plan and started having severe stomach discomfort, gas and heartburn, stop it for few days and start it later.
Make sure to soak it for at least 30 minutes before cooking. Consuming undercooked red rice might lead to indigestion, stomach pain etc. If you have never eaten red rice before and hoping to include it into your daily diet regimen, start with small quantities. Ensure using aged rice as it offers highly impressive nutritional content. If you are pregnant, with severe constipation do not eat it or seek advice from your nutritionist.
Red rice, the bright reddish tinge variety is a powerhouse of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals like zinc, calcium, magnesium which contribute greatly to overall wellbeing. With just 45 grams of carbs for every 100 grams cooked, this is an ideal choice for those on weight loss journey. This versatile variety that comes with nutty, chewy texture is rich in dietary fibre and is hugely recommended for those suffering from digestive issues. Red rice is also low on glycemic index which means that it can control blood sugars and prevent sudden spikes in the levels than any other rice variety. Contrary to the opinion that it can be only served as a main dish, red rice can be whipped into various delicacies both sweet and savoury.However, undercooked red rice may lead to severe stomach issues. If you have constipation and trouble digesting, talk to your doctor if this rice variety is good for you.