With the Indian market, and palette, becoming increasingly open to new, and in some cases renewed, tastes, there are a lot of new food products doing the rounds in our supermarkets. One major category among these is grains or other substitutes for rice - in a market where white rice was King for what seems like eternity, new substitutes have rushed into the shelves in recent times, bringing with them a variety of tastes and also a bunch of nutritional and health benefits.
Two of the most popular white rice substitutes that have gained favour with the Indian audience are quinoa and millets.
Quinoa, while commonly considered a grain, is actually a seed that you can cook up just like a whole grain such as barley or rice. It has its origins in the Andes in South America, and was dubbed the “mother of all grains” by the Incas.
Most millet crops are indigenous to India, and have been consumed as a staple by our ancestors, thanks to their hardiness and nutritive values.
Let’s take a closer look at these grains and see what they bring to the table.
Before we dive into the many diverse and delicious ways in which quinoa can be prepared and enjoyed, let’s take a look at the health benefits it delivers.
- A complete protein – Quinoa is one of extremely few foods that have an ideal balance of all nine essential amino acids which our bodies cannot produce on their own.
- Rich source of fibre – Consumption of healthy amounts of fibre has long been linked to health benefits such as a reduced risk of heart disease, better digestion and cholesterol control.
- Anti-inflammatory properties – Quinoa helps promote probiotics, in the digestive system. Maintaining a healthy balance of probiotics reduces the probability of chronic inflammation.
- A better heart – Quinoa contains monounsaturated fat as well as omega-3 fatty acids and linolenic acids which help lower the risk of heart disease.
- Nutrient Rich – Quinoa also is an excellent source of manganese, and a good source of Phosphorus, Zinc, Copper, Magnesium, and also antioxidants.
The taste and texture of quinoa like a cross between brown rice and oatmeal. It’s fluffy, creamy, crunchy and mildly nutty, all at the same time. This unique flavour and texture profile makes it quite versatile, which means it can be prepared in several ways, and easily incorporated into any cuisine. Though white quinoa is the most commonly consumed variant, it also comes in red and black.
Here are few easy-to-prepare, and a treat-to-enjoy recipes with quinoa that you’ll love to add to your cooking report repertoire - try this flavourful texture-bomb quinoa salad the next time you’re in the mood for a fresh, tasty and filling meal. It’s also suitable for vegans!
The comfort of Indian flavours can’t be beat, and if that’s the direction you want to go with your next meal, try this innovative tandoori quinoa that’s a tangy, crunchy fusion recipe which is sure to excite your taste buds!
Quinoa cooks just like rice, and takes approximately 15 minutes to get done. Rinse and place in a pot with 1:2 quinoa to water ratio, bring to a boil and let simmer water is fully absorbed. Fluff it up for an amazing texture!
Millets are an interesting, indigenous, and nutritious alternative to white rice. They are a good source of some very important nutrients, like copper, manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium. Millets come in various varieties, like barnyard millets, kodo millets, foxtail millets and others.
- Millets are gluten free and non-allergenic. They are a good source of protein, micronutrients and phytochemicals.
- All millets are rich in dietary fibre, which has water absorbing and bulking properties. It increases the transit time of food in the gut, which in turn helps reduce the risk of inflammatory bowel disease and acts as a detoxifying agent in the body.
- Depending on the variety, millets contain between 7-12% protein, 2-5% fat, 65-75% carbohydrates and 15-20% dietary fibre.
- Millets also contain fewer cross-linked prolamins, which is an additional factor that contributes to higher digestibility of the millet proteins.
Now that you are armed with all the information you need about these tasty, nutritious alternatives, give them a try by using them as a replacement for white rice, or put on your thinking cap and whip up something completely unique!