When it comes to food, Filipinos and rice are inseparable. You can bring Filipinos anywhere in the world and make him eat foreign food but he will always look for rice! Our obsession with rice made us one of the largest rice importer in the world—which isn’t really good when it comes to sustainability. On the good hand though we have self-sustainability when it comes to corn, so why not use it as an alternative?
You might be thinking, “corn as an alternative to rice? No way!” I too was quite skeptical to corn actually substituting rice in our meals. I mean, corn kernels are quite big and they have a distinct flavor and nobody would imagine pairing corn with adobo, sinigang, etc. but when I saw RiCo Corn Rice, I was very much intrigued. It looked like rice grains, but how does it compare with real rice, and how does it taste?
For us to find out, RiCo Corn Rice, invited us for an intimate taste test. Of course we can’t just eat it on its own—the Chef Jessie Sincioco of Chef Jessie Rockwell Club was up to the challenge of giving us a taste of great food using RiCo Corn Rice.
Visually-speaking, cooked corn rice looks very similar to regular rice except for the color. Without looking closely, corn rice actually looked like “java rice” and actually, the “rice” in the steamed dory picture above is RiCo Corn Rice. In terms of texture, it is quite close to that of white rice, and in terms of flavor, it is very neutral, again much like plain white rice. And as Chef Jessie demonstrated, you can do much more to RiCo Corn Rice than just a mere alternative to white rice.
Our gastronomic adventure started with the Mesclun Greens Salad in Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing with Prawn Corn Rice Pops. This is just really, really delicious. I’ve never had a raspberry vinaigrette dressing, and now I’m a fan! If you’re wondering, the rounded stuff in this salad is prawn covered in breading with corn rice made to be like the usual popped rice. Surprisingly, it really is similar although Chef Jessie admitted later it was more difficult to make than expected.
Next up is the Minestrone with Corn Rice. This is simply one of the best minestrone I’ve ever had, and the corn rice really goes well with this soup.
For the main course, I opted for the heavenly Pan-Fried Codfish Fillet in Pommery Mustard Sauce Served with Corn Rice Pilaf and Sautéed French Beans. The flavor of the fish can be easily overpowered but the corn rice really went well with this dish.
Finally for dessert, Corn Rice Crocant Roll. This was a great way to cap our sumptuous lunch. It is not too sweet and the corn rice gave it that slightly crunchy texture.
Why should you consider corn rice? Based on the product page of RiCo Corn Rice:
Corn is ideal for diabetics due to its low glycemic index that ensures slow and steady absorption of blood sugar. Corn is naturally rich in beta-carotene, which helps prevent certain types of cancer; rich in lutein, which maintains good eyesight; and rich in fiber, which deals with digestive disorders and lowers blood cholesterol levels. Because corn rice has no cholesterol, it is good for the heart.
RiCo is also fortified with B-vitamins that boost the immune system, calcium that strengthens bones, and iron that improves blood circulation.
So, not only is it fortified with nutrients, it is also good for those trying to avoid sugar from rice!
RiCo Corn Rice is made from 100% Philippine-grown corn and comes in 3 pack sizes: 1 kg (SRP ₱70), 2 kg (SRP ₱125), and 5 kg (SRP ₱300).
Here are some recipes you can try with RiCo Corn Rice:
With so many possible alternative to white rice, RiCo Corn Rice may be one of the better option by being friendly to diabetics, having natural and fortified nutrients, and its taste and texture that goes well with our favorite dishes. It can even be used in soups and as breading! And by looking like grains of rice, RiCo Corn Rice removes that “separation anxiety” with real rice. It may even be beneficial for us as a country if we lessen our consumption of rice by substituting it with corn as we get to support our local corn industry and keep our dollars away from imported rice.
…And to be honest, I actually like corn rice better than brown rice!