Brown Rice: Beyond the Color

Reviving a lost health food

Brown rice or pinawa in Tagalog, had been popular among Filipinos until the early 1950s. Brown rice then was in the form of partially polished rice produced by hand pounding using mortar and pestle or stone grinder. With the introduction of milling machines that produce the white polished rice, consumer's tastes and preferences started to shift in favor of white rice. Only a few consumers, such as health-conscious people and balikbayans who occasionally eat brown rice in the US as health food, continued to demand brown rice from the market.

White rice connotes a 'classy' lifestyle because of its distinct white polished grains. Brown rice, on the other hand, became associated with that harvested from a poorly managed paddy because of its 'dirty' look or off-color. It was regarded as suited only for animal feed.

Beyond the 'dirty' look, however, is a wealth of nutrients that are contained in the bran layer. This lost health food is now being revived and taken back into the regular diet of consumers, but this time without reintroducing the back breaking hand pounding and stone grinding method.

What is brown rice?

Brown rice is unpolished whole grain rice that is produced by removing only the hull or husk using a mortar and pestle or rubber rolls. It may be distinctly brown, reddish or purplish. The embryo may or may not be left intact depending on the hulling process. It becomes milled or white rice when the bran layer is stripped of in the milling or 'whitening' process. Thus, the distinguishing factor should be its unpolished feature and not the color.







Why is brown rice better than white rice?

Brown rice is loaded with vitamins and minerals not available in white rice. Unknown to many, the bran layer contains very important nutrients such as thiamine, an important component in mother's milk.

Brown rice is also rich in fiber and essential oils. Fiber has been involved in the prevention of major diseases such as gastrointestinal and heart diseases. The essential oils in the bran have also been shown to prevent heart diseases because these decrease serum cholesterol, which is a major risk factor in heart disease.

Some pharmacological studies have shown that phytate, a component of brown rice known to inhibit iron absorption, may on the contrary, prevent cancer. This, however, needs further investigation. Phytate can also lower one or more of the following: glucose, insulin, cholesterol, and triglycerides. Although phytate reduces mineral absorption, this can be easily mitigated by eating fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C.

The Los Baños Pinawa


The Asia Rice Foundation (ARF) launched the promotion of brown rice as health food in the Los Baños science community on August 11, 2000 at University of the Philippines Los Baños. The Los Baños Pinawa undertaking aimed to rekindle the interest in and initiate with its partners a nationwide campaign to promote the brown rice in the Philippines. ARF, headed by Dr. Emil Q. Javier, has invited selected members of the Los Baños community to participate evaluating the acceptability of brown rice as healthy substitute for milled rice.

Production

The Los Baños Pinawa is a premium quality brown rice produced from rice varieties MS8, IR841, and Burdagol. These are classified as Fancy or Special Rice varieties. Other rice varieties are being tested to satisfy the aroma, flavor, and consistency requirements.

The Los Baños pinawa may contain red rice, which lends color to the usual drab brown (no need therefore for artificial food coloring) and does not affect the taste or the nutritional content of Los Baños pinawa.

Processing

As far as possible, the threshed grain of the Los Baños pinawa is dried the natural way, that is, by slow shade or sun drying method to preserve the taste and aroma. When it is mechanically dried, as during the rainy season, the drying rate and temperature are controlled to prevent overheating or over drying that results in low milling quality.

Only the rice hull or husk is removed using a pair of rubber rolls. An aspirator or a blower cleans the brown rice of hull or dust, bran particles, and portions of the embryo that may be detached inadvertently during hulling. Since the polishing or whitening process is omitted, about 65% of the total energy requirement for processing brown rice is saved.

Grading

Los Baños pinawa is graded to remove most of the brokens and to meet the minimum standards for Premium Rice of the Special Rice Variety in accordance with the grade standards set forth by the NFA.

Packaging

Los Baños pinawa is packaged in sealed transparent plastic bags to ensure that the aroma is preserved and to differentiate it from white rice.

The package should be stored in the coldest compartment of the refrigerator, but not in the freezer, to slow down the action of free fatty acids that cause rancidity after some time.




Availability

Currently, Los Baños pinawa is confined primarily in Los Baños area. It is available only in limited quantity and is used mainly for promoting brown rice as health food.

Plans are being made to encourage a nationwide production of brown rice that have similar quality as the Los Baños pinawa.

Interested parties, either as consumers or producers, should contact the ARF Brown Rice Committee at Tel. No. (049) 536-2285.

Cooking

The Los Baños pinawa may replace any dish where white rice is used. There is no need to wash the Los Baños pinawa before cooking as it is hygienically processed. For better texture, brown rice is soaked in water for about 30 min before cooking. Soaking reduces cooking time, thereby saving energy. Normally, the proportion of brown rice to water is 1:2 (1 cup brown rice to 2 cups water). This may be adjusted according to the desired softness and the variety used.

Sample Recipes


Brown rice champorado

Ingredients:

1/3 c brown rice
3 ¼ c water
2 T cocoa powder
¼ washed sugar ("DD")
1 T cornstarch
evaporated milk

Procedure:
  1. Soak brown rice in 1 cup water for 1hr.
  2. Switch burner to medium heat 5 min before the end of 1 hr soaking.
  3. Cook brown rice in medium heat for 10 min, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add another cup of water and continue cooking for another 15 min with occasional stirring.
  5. Put dissolved cornstarch into the mixture and stir constantly while cooking for additional 5 min.
  6. Serve warm or cold with evaporated milk.

Preparation time: Approximately 50 min, excluding soaking time

Cost of ingredients per recipe: P10.65

Serving suggestions:

Note: C
1/3 c cabroves cut into strips
1 t soy sauce
¼ c iodized salt
1 T cornstarch

Procedure:
Cooking of vegetable mix

  1. Boil beef in 1 c water for 20 min
  2. Put additional 1 ¾ c water to the boiling beef.
  3. Add beef cube and continue boiling for 2 min or until cube is dissolved.
  4. Remove 2 c of broth for soaking rice.
  5. Dissolve cornstarch in ¼ c broth and set aside.
  6. To the boiling beef, add carrot, cabbage, and sweet green pepper.
  7. Cook for 2 min.
  8. Add soy sauce, salt, and dissolved cornstarch. Stir well.
  9. Remove from heat and set aside.

Cooking of brown rice
  1. Soak brown rice in 2 c beef broth for 1 hr.
  2. Cook brown rice under medium heat for 30 min.
  3. Switch to low heat and cook for 10 min lo to low setting. Continue cooking for 20 min. For best results, leave the cooked rice undisturbed for 15 min.

Cooking of fried pinawa
  1. Heat cooking oil in a skillet.
  2. Stir fry meat, carrot, and cabbage for 2 min.
  3. Add ginisa mix and stir well.
  4. Combine brown rice with the mixture and continue cooking for 5 min with constant stirring.
  5. Place iodized salt and mix well.
  6. Serve warm with your favorite viand and beverage.

Preparation time: Approximately 30 min

Cost of ingredients per recipe: P15.00

Serving suggestions:

Note:

Brown Rice with Vegetable Mix

Ingredients:
1 c brown rice
2 ¼ c water
1 pc beef cube
¼ c carrots, cut into strips
1/3 c cabbage, cut into strips
1 t soy sauce
¼ c iodized salt
1 T cornstarch

Procedure:
Cooking of vegetable mix

  1. Boil beef in 1 c water for 20 min
  2. Put additional 1 ¾ c water to the boiling beef.
  3. Add beef cube and continue boiling for 2 min or until cube is dissolved.
  4. Remove 2 c of broth for soaking rice.
  5. Dissolve cornstarch in ¼ c broth and set aside.
  6. To the boiling beef, add carrot, cabbage, and sweet green pepper.
  7. Cook for 2 min.
  8. Add soy sauce, salt, and dissolved cornstarch. Stir well.
  9. Remove from heat and set aside.

Cooking of brown rice
  1. Soak brown rice in 2 c beef broth for 1 hr.
  2. Cook brown rice under medium heat for 30 min.
  3. Switch to low heat and cook for 10 min longer.
  4. Switch off burner. Leave undisturbed for 15 min.
  5. Pack cooked brown rice tightly into a half cup and unmold onto a plate.
  6. Top with ¼ c of vegetable mixture.
  7. Repeat steps 5-6 until all cooked brown rice has been packed.
  8. Serve warm.
Preparation time: Approximately 1 ½ hr, excluding soaking time.

Cost of ingredients per recipe: P39.25

Serving suggestions:

Note:






Please send questions, suggestions, and comments to:
Brown Rice Campaign Committee, The Asia Rice Foundation
Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines; Tel: (63-49) 536-2285; E-mail: asiarice@laguna.net


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