Rice is loved by millions of people and in all different cultures. Arguably, the main reason it is so widely eaten worldwide is for its versatility – you probably know a few different recipes that you can use rice to make a whole new eating experience. Often, the recipes which do include rice are to die for! Simply put, well-cooked rice makes meals complete in any household. It’s given us some great culinary experiences offering aromatics and a simple taste. Whether you want to use it as a side dish or a main dish, rice is widely used in every household.
For years, people have been experimenting with rice. They have turned this seemingly simple ingredient it into some pretty unique dishes thanks to rice’s ability to work well with numerous different flavors, ingredients and sauces. However, some types of rice aren’t seen as much as others. One type is bamboo rice, a variety of short-grain rice – the last souvenir of dying bamboo shoots that holds so much potential for making your dishes exciting!
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What is Bamboo Rice?
Bamboo rice comes from a dying bamboo shoot. When bamboo shoots die, it flowers a rare seed variety of rice known as bamboo rice. It’s said that bamboo rice harvesting is a huge source of income for some tribal communities.
Bamboo rice is a variety of short-grain rice that offers powerful aromatic flavors and aromas which is largely because it is infused with pure bamboo juice. It’s pale green in color and provides an herbaceous flavor and makes the dish pretty for any plate, adding more color than traditional white or brown rice would be able to.
The texture of bamboo rice is sticky. This makes it particularly suitable for a range of particular dishes, primarily when used to make a great risotto or an excellent base for sushi rolls. It’s gluten-free and provides a light and tender cooked texture.
Why is Bamboo Rice Green?
This short-grained rice is infused with chlorophyll-rich bamboo extract. Chlorophyll is a naturally produced substance that serves a vital role in the bamboo – and other plants – before harvest, allowing the plant to produce energy and sugars through photosynthesis. This chlorophyll gives bamboo rice its green color, in much the same way as chlorophyll is also what gives plants their own green color.
Delicate Flavor & Unique Color
Bamboo rice has a very distinctive and unique color among foodstuffs. This is especially the case for rice; few other rice varieties can offer such a unique color or flavor selection. This rice offers a delicate flavor, which is commonly said to be similar to jasmine tea; this mildly fragrant flavor means that it not only provides an excellent base for other sauces and ingredients in cooking but can also contribute its own flavors.
White Rice Replacement?
Bamboo rice is great for replacing your typical white rice in many different recipes. Its unique color and flavor can help to add a whole new dimension to a dish and provide a new and exciting palette. It makes for exciting side dishes as well that’ll be a great conversation starter for any guests, who will likely find themselves wondering about not only the unique aroma and tastes but also the enticing light green color from the chlorophyll. Furthermore, since it is rich in B-complex vitamins, bamboo rice is a healthy addition or alternative to any meal, regardless of whether the meal is usually served up with rice or without.
Harvesting and Storing Bamboo Rice
Given the unpredictable thorniness and flowering of the bamboo plants, it is often said that bamboo rice harvesting becomes tricky. As such, if you are thinking of trying out bamboo rice in your cooking, you should consider this before getting started.
Chances are that the bamboo rice you will buy will have imperfections and may not be ‘perfect’ as soon as you open the bag; therefore, you may need to clean off the bamboo rice with water to remove any impurities and hopefully ensure that the rice is smooth and perfect.
During the harvesting process for bamboo rice, workers take some precautions in order to hopefully get perfectly polished rice. The area surrounding the base of the bamboo shoot should be cleaned and any debris and dirt should be thoroughly removed to ensure the rice is clean when it is harvested, and then the base is smoothed with clay and allowed to dry. Once it has been fully dried, the bamboo rice is stored and gathered up to be eaten.
How is Bamboo Rice Different to Other Types of Rice?
Bamboo rice is different to other varieties of rice in many ways. Of course, the most obvious difference is that of its color and fragrance, which is derived from the chlorophyll in the rice itself. However, its flavor also differs quite notably, which means that bamboo rice can help to add a new layer of flavor to dishes compared to standard white rice.
Bamboo rice has a wheat-like taste and somewhat resembles paddy rice. Offering a slightly sweet taste when it is cooked similarly to other rice, bamboo rice is a great combination as a side or a main dish.
The other primary difference lies within its texture when it’s cooked. It’s sticky and moist when cooked properly, but when consumed, it’s got a slightly more substantial and chewy texture than other types of rice. This unique taste, texture, color and aroma thus mean that many cultures use bamboo rice for celebratory events.
What is the Best Way to Cook Bamboo Rice?
There are several ways to cook bamboo rice, just as with other types of rice. It all depends on what you are making with it. One method is to bring it to a boil on the stove and simmer for 12-15 minutes. Remove it from the heat and fluff it with a fork and then serve. Make sure when you are cooking bamboo rice not to rinse it.
If you have not seen it yet, you should check out our epic guide on the best rice cookers, right here!
Health Benefits of Bamboo Rice
Ever heard that bamboo rice offers numerous health benefits? Not many people would think of this, but in fact, several benefits come from bamboo rice. Not the paddy rice that’s infused with bamboo juice, but actual bamboo rice.
Bamboo seeds are rich in nutrients. Other than protein, bamboo rice is full of vitamins B1, A, B3, B6, and B2. It’s also loaded with phosphorus, calcium, iron, and fiber. This means bamboo rice is highly nutritious, especially for small children, as it gives immediate energy.
Bamboo rice has been studied extensively in certain cultures, and studies have shown that consuming bamboo rice can help increase women’s reproductive fertility.
Controls Join and Rheumatic Pain
As bamboo rice offers calcium, pain related to arthritis, rheumatism, and more are controlled and eased when consumed.
Helps Control Diabetes
Bamboo rice offers a low Glycemic index, and therefore, diabetes becomes controlled. It’s rich in iron and phosphorus, making it healthy for the heart and can control heart enlargement.
Bamboo seeds have no fat in them. Carbs that are present can increase blood glucose slowly, which helps reduce the accumulation of cholesterol. Burning fat that’s accumulated is possible because of the low Glycemic index.
High Content of Phosphorus
There’s about mg of phosphorus in bamboo seeds, which plays an important role in forming teeth and bones. It can determine how the body uses fats and carbs. Phosphorus can help the body accumulate additional protein for the repair of organs and tissues. Because it combines with vitamin B and can help with kidney function, nerve signaling, and the heart rate.
Blood Pressure is Regulated
Consuming bamboo rice regularly can help keep your blood pressure within normal limits. It does this by maintaining mineral constituents found in the body. Phosphorus, calcium, and iron act simultaneously in your body, keeping the brain and heart working in unison.
Bamboo Rice Recipes
There are many delicious recipes that you can make with bamboo rice. Each one offers a different flavor, and here is just one delicious recipe to consider preparing for your next dinner.
Risotto of Bamboo Rice and Sea Asparagus
- 1 cup bamboo rice
- 2 1/3 cup chicken broth
- 2-3 shallots
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- ¼ c dry cooking wine
- 1 c. rinsed sea asparagus
- 1/3 – ½ grated Grana Padano in addition to more for serving
- 2 tbsp fresh mint leaves
- Heat the stock in a small pot and reduce to a simmer and keep ready to use.
- Heat 1 tbsp butter over medium high heat. Also, heat 1 tbsp oil in a sauté pan.
- Add the shallots and then stir for a few minutes until they are softened. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for an additional 2 minutes.
- Add the rice while stirring to coat well with the oil. If needed, add in more oil, and stir for about a minute.
- Add in white wine and cook it down until it’s about evaporated.
- Using a ¼ c, take the simmering stock and add to rice. Stir it regularly until liquid is evaporated and add more and repeat. You may need to continue adding more depending on the stock or broth you have. Repeat this until your risotto is cooked entirely. You want it to be thick like porridge.
- When tender, add in sea asparagus and stir until warm.
- Add as much cheese as you want and stir until creamy. Serve with mint and pepper and enjoy!
Easy Fragrant Bamboo Rice
- A pinch of sea salt
- 2 ½ cups of water
- 1 cup of bamboo rice
In a large saucepan, bring rice, water, and salt to a boil. Stir once or twice.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove from the heat, let is sit for 5 minutes, and then gently fluff with a fork and enjoy!
Coconut Bamboo Rice Pudding with Mango
- 3 cups of water
- 1 cup of bamboo rice
- 14 oz coconut milk
- ½ cup of white sugar
- ¼ tsp of kosher sea salt
- 2 large mangos, peeled and sliced
- Black toasted sesame seeds
Combine the bamboo rice and water in a saucepan and let boil. Reduce the heat and keep at a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the rice to sit for 5 minutes.
While the rice is cooking, combine sugar, salt, and coconut milk in a small saucepan. Whisk to dissolve. Bring to boiling and reduce to a simmer. Cook until heated thoroughly and thick. This should take about 10 minutes.
Stir in half coconut sauce to the rice and check consistency. If you want looser pudding add in more sauce. For firmer pudding use less. Remember it becomes tighter as it cools off.
Serve at room temperature or warm with mango slices and sprinkle with black sesame seeds. Enjoy!
Nutrition Found in Bamboo Rice
Because bamboo rice doesn’t contain any fat, it’s great for those of you trying to lose weight. While fat isn’t the best food to consume, it does provide energy that you can burn off during exercise. It also is great for helping the body absorb vitamins.
Bamboo rice is calorie dense. A single cup can provide 160 calories. This equals out to be 8% of the daily intake suggested of 2,000 calories. For those of you who are dieting, bamboo rice can be burned off quickly with a simple jog or jumping rope for about 15 minutes.
The main calorie source in bamboo rice is from carbs. Each cup of bamboo rice contains around 34g of carbohydrates. This is 9g more than what you will find in a cup of your favorite oatmeal. High-carb foods are great for fueling athletic activity because carbs are a great source of energy.
Just like any other type of rice, bamboo rice is low in protein. With each cup containing a mere 3g, it provides half of what an egg would provide. Protein is important to rebuild the body’s tissues and cells.
Bamboo rice is a common type of rice in many cultures. It can be a great addition to any dish you are creating. These recipes are easy and delicious and can be a great addition to any new dinner you want to try.