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The Colors of Rice: Rice Varieties for Healthy Asian Rice Bowls

 

3 different kinds of rice on a chopping board

 

Rice a staple food for more than half of the world’s population and 90% of the rice that we enjoy in our dining tables comes from Asia. Really, who can turn away from a good steaming bowl of rice

With thousands of varieties to choose from, you may be tempted to substitute one for another. However, each type of rice differs in shapes, sizes, color, taste, texture, and nutritional properties. It would be a shame to overlook their uniqueness because it can make a huge difference in your recipes and journey to a healthier lifestyle.

As an Asian Rice 101, we’ll give you a brief walkthrough of the colors of rice so you can learn which type of rice goes well with Asian rice bowl recipes and what health benefits you can gain from these fibrous grains.

All About White Rice

 

a 5 pound bag of Jasmine Rice

White rice is a hulled, milled, and refined version of raw rice. It’s one of the most versatile and commonly used types of rice across several cuisines due to its shelf life, filling flavors, and subtly sweet taste.

However, the milling process tends to strip the rice of its bran and germ which are sources of dietary fiber. To make up for this, manufacturers enrich their white rice with folic acid, calcium, and iron to boost its nutritional value. 

One popular type of white rice is Jasmine white rice. Cultivated in Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries, it has a fragrant jasmine aroma and sticky texture which allows spices and seasonings to soak in easily. Use it with your Thai curry recipe, Chinese-style fried rice, or pair it with any type of protein! 

All About Brown Rice

1 bowl of Annie Chun's Rice Express Sprouted Brown Sticky Rice

Brown rice is a 100% whole grain food that’s rich in vitamins and minerals. It’s considered as the healthier and diet-friendly version of white rice because it retains the fiber that's found in its nutrient-dense bran layers; hence, its grainy brown color. 

When cooked, it’s light, fluffy, and chewy in texture. It also has a mild nuttiness to it that adds character to your dishes. With brown rice, you can lose weight and still enjoy flavorful dishes like brown rice and vegetable stir-fry, katsudon bowls, and more! 

All About Red Rice

a 5 pound bag of Dragonfly Red Rice

Red rice can be likened to brown rice in terms of nutritional profiles. Red rice is also rich in fiber, B vitamins, zinc, iron, manganese, and other nutrients due to the bran and germ that’s left intact. As another type of unhulled rice, it maintains a mild nutty flavor and chewy texture that’s great for low-glycemic recipes.

Its uniqueness lies in its interesting red and almost deep purple color which is attributed to the antioxidant called anthocyanins. It’s the same compound that’s found in fruits and vegetables of the same hue. 

Beyond its color, the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants present in red rice are believed to reduce inflammation, boost your body’s defense mechanism, promote weight loss, and lower blood pressure.

It’s a great choice of rice for health buffs, particularly individuals who need to follow stricter diets due to diabetes or high blood pressure.

All About Black Rice

a bag of Dragonfly Black Sweet Rice

When you combine the nutritional benefits of brown and red rice, you get black rice. In fact, it was once referred to as forbidden rice in Ancient China because such a unique and nutritious food should only be served to royals. 

It is rich in fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and phytochemicals, protein, iron, and other nutrients. It also contains a high content of anthocyanins that can be found in red rice which can prevent risks of cancer and heart disease, among several other health properties. 

Another thing that makes black rice so unique is that it can be used in desserts. In Thai and Indonesian cuisine, coconut milk and coconut sugar are added to black rice for a sweet black rice pudding recipe that’s best enjoyed during breakfast or as a midday snack. It’s a healthy way of indulging in a guilt-free dessert and getting your fill of vitamins and nutrients at the same time.

Just as there is a wide variety of rice, there are also a ton of rice recipes that are waiting to be discovered by you. Whatever your food cravings or fitness goals are, don’t deprive yourself of a good Asian rice bowl. There’s definitely one that fits your lifestyle. Discover the best type of rice for you with our Asian rice selections only at Karman Foods!

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