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Red and Black Rices: The New White
What’s red or black and eclipsing white on the plate this year? Rice.
And color isn’t the only attribute driving diner interest in red and black rices.
BEMIDJI, MINN., January 7, 2011 – Colored rices are splashing across U.S. menus, evidenced by the recently released National Restaurant Association’s 2011 What’s Hot survey of chef-members of the American Culinary Federation. Dominating starches and side dishes? Rices in black and red.
Indeed, “black/forbidden rice,” a newcomer to the annual What’s Hot survey, started at the top—it’s No. 1 among sides/starches and ranks 27th overall among 226 items. Red rice, also new to the list, ranks third among sides/starches and 43rd overall.
Several drivers of interest in black and red rices include novelty on the plate, not to mention greater demand for heirloom foods. More important, black and red rices carry a better-for-you nutritional profile, according to Michael Holleman, Director of Culinary Development for category leader Indian Harvest.
“Our red and black rices offer the whole-grain goodness that an increasing number of diners seek,” he says. “What’s more, both rices contain anthocyanins—the antioxidants found in blueberries, grapes and acai—that have been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer.”
Red and black rices are nuttier-tasting and heartier than white rice, making them strategic in development of rice dishes with customer appeal, Holleman says. And for enhanced menu intrigue through color, red rice retains its hue when cooked, whereas black rice turns a stunning deep, dark purple.
Indian Harvest offers three varieties of red rice—Red Jasmine from regions beyond the Himalayan Mountains, Ulikan Red from the Philippines and exclusive Colusari™ Red, which was rescued from a Maryland seed bank and grown to commercial viability in California—and black rice imported from China. Additionally, several unique grain blends feature red rice, such as Indian Harvest’s Aztec Blend (Colusari™ Red Rice, amaranth, brown rice and multi-colored split peas), Mountain Red Blend (a mélange of Red Jasmine and Ulikan rices, heirloom white rice, black quinoa and green lentils) and Whole Grain 5 Blend (Colusari™ Red Rice, grano, wild rice, sprouted brown rice and parboiled long-grain brown rice). Indian Harvest also offers green bamboo rice from China, purple Thai rice, brown basmati rice from India and short-grain brown rice.