Photo by DOST-FNRI

Rice is the staple food of the Filipinos. It is an excellent source of carbohydrates and the best source of energy for the body.

The 2008 Food Consumption Survey of the Department of Science and Technology – Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) showed that eating rice contributed to more than one-third of a person’s average daily food intake. The usual Filipino meal is a combination of rice-vegetable-fish.

White rice may be well liked, but brown rice is becoming popular because of its nutritional benefits. Unlike white or well-polished rice, only the husk or hull is removed from brown rice. Hence, brown rice retains most of its vitamins and mineral content.

High in dietary fiber, brown rice promoted weight loss and helps people maintain a healthy weight. It also lowers the risk of Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and colon cancer. Eating brown rice also helps prevent constipation.

During the milling and polishing of white rice, significant amount of calcium, thiamin and potassium are usually lost. Brown rice, though, has undergone only minimal milling, and retains most of its dietary fiber; minerals like magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, zinc, iron and calcium; and vitamins like thiamin and niacin.

However, not many households recognize the nutritional value and use of brown rice in daily cooking. Brown rice has its “dirty look”, is at rish to weevil, and spoils easily. Its coarse texture makes cooking and chewing difficult. For ordinary citizens, brown rice is not popular because it is not readily available in the market, costly and easily becomes rancid.

To address these issues, the DOST-FNRI conducted a study on “Optimization Studies for the Improvement of Shelf-life of Brown Rice”. The study showed that the variety of palay affects the appearance, color and acceptability of brown rice.

The study also showed that steam drying treatment has an effect on the compactness and chewiness of the grain, and on the formation of fatty acid and increase in water activity. With steam drying technology, brown rice can now be stored for a longer period of time.

Rice is normally eaten steamed or boiled. To promote the use and consumption of brown rice, the FNRI developed recipes to increase brown rice’s visibility and promoted its inclusion in daily meals.

Recipes are popular vehicles in nutrition education. While rice recipes exist, most traditional ones use white rice and/or glutinous rice as base ingredient. Among the criteria used in developing the recipes is that they be nutritious, delicious, appetizing, affordable and easy to prepare.

While brown rice recipes may not always be easy to prepare, as in local kakanins or delicacies, the step-by-step cooking procedure ensures that the resulting products will be acceptable. Because rice is bland, it blends well and contrasts with sour, salty, sweet, spicy and even fermented ingredients used in cooking.

Brown rice is versatile and has many culinary uses. It can be made into nutritious and delicious traditional and contemporary recipes to suit the taste and appetite of the Filipinos.

To encourage the use and consumption of brown rice as a staple and part of the daily meal, FNRI developed 23 recipes to serve as a guide in preparing traditional and contemporary recipes using brown rice. The recipes underwent several testing and evaluation for the acceptable combination/proportion of ingredients, amounts and cooking procedure.

The recipes were categorized into fried rice (5), rice ulam (6) and snacks or desserts (12).

Fried rice recipes include kesong puti sa brown rice, fried rice with mushroom, tinapa sa brown rice, rice and vegetable medley and fried brown rice sa aligue.

Rice ulan recipes comprise of pahiyas brown rice, seafood in brown rice, sweet Italian brown rice, brown rice adobo wrap, brown rice a la spaghetti and chicken rice.

The choices for snacks and desserts include Triple chocolate champorado bar, brown rice and squash congee, kalamay sa gata, kalamay sa salabat, fruity arroz, Onde-onde, Arroz de huevos, brown rice loaded patties, Suman duo with duce de leche dip, pinoy maki, everlasting turon and Hawaiian rice balls.

Each recipe is photo-documented for visual appeal. Estimation of energy and nutrient value per serving were done using the FCT+ Menu Eval software.

The recipes were collected in a recipe booklet titled Lutong FNRI: Brown rice recipes para sa Lahing Kayumanggi. Because cooking preference and texture for brown rice varies, one must keep in mind the proper ration of water to rice, variety and age of rice, soaking of grains for easy digestibility and eating quality, and prevention of lumping and scorching.

The recipe booklet provides a practical and convenient alternative to promoted awareness and encourage the use of brown rice in the country. This can be valuable and useful tool in the homemakers’ preparation and regular serving of brown rice for the family.

With healthy options offered in the recipe booklet, readers can choose, prepare and eat brown rice and enjoy healthier meals for the family anytime of the day.

In December 13, 2013, the recipe booklet was awarded Best Single Subject Cookbook in the Philippines by Gourmand International Awards in Madrid, Spain. It was also a contender for the Gourmand International Awards World’s Best Single Subject Cookbook in Beijing, China.


Dr. Imelda Angeles-Agdepa
Department of Science and Technology - Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI)

Published by:
Department of Science and Technology - Science and Technology Information Institute (DOST-STII)