Rice is one of the staple foods consumed around the world. For many, rice is something you cannot avoid but only love and crave. There have been sadly some misconceptions floating around stating rice to be the culprit for causing weight gain. The reasons vary ranging from consumption increasing glucose levels to promoting weight gain. But is rice really all that bad?

Did You Know?

According to NSSO (National Sample Survey Office) data, rice is a favourite among South, East and North-East parts of India. The 68th National survey which was conducted in 2011-12 also found that the rice consumption rates were falling, especially among the urban populace.

Nutritional Facts

Both brown and white rice have similar calories, carbohydrate, protein and fat content.

RiceNutritional Content (100 g)
Energy130 kcals
Carbohydrate28.7 g
Protein2.36 g
Fat0.19 g

Other Nutrients

NutrientsWhite Rice (Long-Grain)Brown Rice (Long-Grain)
CarbsAmounts  (100 g)Amounts (100 g)
Fibre0.4 g1.8 g
Minerals 
Calcium10.0 mg10 mg
Potassium35 mg43 mg
Phosphorus43 mg83 mg
Iron1.2 mg0.4 mg
Vitamins 
Thiamine0.2 mg0.1 mg
Riboflavin0 mg0 mg
Niacin1.5 mg1.5 mg
Folate58 mcgs4 mcgs
Vitamin A0 IU0 IU
Vitamin C0 mg0 mg
Vitamin D
Vitamin E0 mcgs0 mcgs
Vitamin K0 mcgs0.6 mcgs

Benefits Of Different Types Of Rice

There are different varieties of rice. Depending on its composition, the nutritional content of rice might also vary. Amylose and Amylopectin are two polysaccharides present in rice. Rice that remains sticky after cooking is found to be rich in Amylopectin, while the ones that aren’t sticky would be rich in Amylose.

A study conducted in South India found that adults who consumed brown rice over white rice had reduced LDL cholesterol levels. This effect was especially seen with adults who had a BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2 compared with those with a BMI < 25 kg/m2. A 2011 study also emphasised the importance of incorporating traditional whole grains in our diet over refined and processed foods.

Consumption of whole grains not only aids in weight loss but also helps improve insulin sensitivity, reduces blood pressure and also promotes satiety.

Though consumption of white rice is not a bad thing, consuming brown rice can definitely give you an added edge over consuming white rice. White rice may promote weight loss, but brown rice may help you lose weight faster. Brown rice provides you with fibre which helps in promoting satiety; thus aiding in weight loss. It also contains B vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. 

5 Nutritious Rice Recipes

Here are some nutrient-dense recipes you can try in order to eat rice in a healthier manner.

1. Paneer Poha

Video Via Food Math / YouTube

You might be surprised wondering whether paneer can be added to poha and the answer is, yes it can! Addition of paneer to your poha can help improve the taste as well as its nutritional content. Here is a quick recipe that you can have for breakfast.

Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes

Nutritional Values (1 Serving Approx): Energy: 390 kcals | Carbs: 15g | Protein: 52gms | Fat: 15gms | Calcium: 105mg | Iron: 12mg

Ingredients:

  • 50 gms of paneer (grated)
  • 11/2 cup rice flakes
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 small tomato
  • 2-3 chillies
  • 2-3 tablespoons grated coconut
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder (haldi)
  • 1 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
  • Curry leaves (kadipatta) (few)
  • 2 tablespoons peanuts
  • Oil for cooking
  • Salt to taste

For Garnishing:

  • Coriander leaves (dhaniya) (few)

Method:

  1. Put poha into a colander and rinse it in water.  As the water gets drained in a colander, transfer the poha onto a plate and keep it aside
  2. Chop onions, tomatoes, carrots and chillies thoroughly.
  3. Heat up the pan and when the oil gets hot, put the onions into it and sauté thoroughly. Add chopped tomatoes and next carrots to the mixture; sauté well.
  4. Add haldi, hing and salt to this mixture and mix well. Now add the grated paneer to this mixture. Meanwhile, roast the peanuts and keep it aside.
  5. Add grated coconut and curry leaves as well.
  6. Now add poha to the mixture and mix well. Add roasted peanuts too.
  7. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.

2. Soya Chunks Biryani

Video Via Hebbars Kitchen / YouTube

Who doesn’t like a yummy biryani? This biryani is not only tasty but is also loaded with protein, fibre, calcium and iron. It is also a good source of Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFA), which aid in increasing your HDL (good cholesterol) levels. 

Cooking Time: 40-45 minutes

Nutritional Values (1 Serving Approx): Energy: 570 kcals | Carbs: 100gms | Protein: 25gms | Fat: 4gms | Fibre: 10gms | Calcium: 540gms | Iron: 15mg

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup soya chunks
  • 3 cups of warm water
  • 1½ cups of Basmati rice
  • 1 big or 2 small onions
  • 1 big tomato
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • Oil for cooking
  • Salt to taste
  • 1-2 teaspoons of turmeric powder (haldi)
  • 1-2 teaspoons of coriander powder (dhaniya)
  • 1-2 teaspoons of garam masala
  • 1 tablespoons of biryani masala
  • 4-5 chillies (chopped thoroughly)
  • 1 piece of ginger
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 2-3 pieces of cardamom (elaichi)
  • 1 piece of cinnamon stick (dalchini)
  • 1 piece of star anise (chakra phool)
  • 2-3 pieces of cloves (laung)
  • 2-3 pieces of bay leaves (tejpatta)
  • ¼ cup of mint leaves (pudina)
  • ¼ cup of coriander leaves (dhaniya)
  • ¼ cup of cashews
  • 1 teaspoon of ghee

Method:

  1. Take soya chunks and soak it in water for around 20 minutes. After the soaking time is finished, squeeze out the excess water and keep it aside.
  2. Wash the Basmati rice and soak it in water before cooking.
  3. Heat oil in a cooker/top. Add ghee if required. Add chopped onions to the oil. Also add garam masala, turmeric, chopped chillies, coriander powder, ginger and garlic to the mixture along with cashews (optional). Sauté the mixture for a while.
  4. After the onions turn transparent, add tomatoes to the mixture along with biryani masala. Add in the dry spices (cinnamon, cardamom, bay leaves, anise, cloves) too and sauté for a few minutes.
  5. Now add the soya chunks and mix the mixture for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Now add water. For rice made using a cooker, add water double the amount of rice. So for 1½ cups of rice add 3 cups of water. After the water comes to a boil, add soaked rice to water. Add salt too. Mix well.
  7. Cover the lid and let it cook for 3 whistles. After the whistles, switch off the cooker and let it rest for some time before opening. 
  8. Serve onto a plate and garnish with chopped mint and coriander leaves. Soya biryani is ready! This dish can be served with the raita of your choice.

3. Brown Rice Cakes

Video Via Weelicious / YouTube

These cakes are made using brown rice. They are pretty easy to make, and tasty and nutritious as well. The dish can also be prepared as snacks for your kids and you don’t need to worry about them binge eating on this!

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Nutritional Values (1 Serving Approx): Energy: 485 kcals | Carbs: 18gms | Protein: 12gms | Fat: 15gms | Calcium: 10mg | Sodium: 385mg

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of brown rice
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 egg (big)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of whole wheat flour
  • Sugar to taste

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350oC.
  2. Blend all the above ingredients in a blender. Ensure that the rice gets blended properly.
  3. Pour the mixture obtained in a baking tin. You can grease the pan or avoid greasing it too for reducing the fat content.
  4. Bake for about 30 minutes.
  5. Serve the cakes on a plate and enjoy!

4. Tendli Bhat

Video Via Chef Ajay Chopra / YouTube

Tendli bhat is a Maharashtrian dish consisting of ivy gourd and spices added to it for additional aroma. Coconut and sesame can also be used for additional flavour. You can carry this dish in your tiffin and eat it for lunch. Tendli can also be replaced by other veggies but the crispness achieved through tendli is difficult to match.

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Nutritional Values (1 Serving Approx): Energy: 275 kcals | Carbs: 21gms | Protein: 6gms | Fat: 13gms | Fibre: 5gms | Sodium: 25mg

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (chopped) tendli
  • 1 ½ cup of Basmati rice
  • ¼ cup of grated coconut
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of ghee

Spices:

  • 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds (rai)
  • 1-2 teaspoons of turmeric powder (haldi)
  • 1-2 teaspoons of coriander powder (dhaniya)
  • 1-2 teaspoons of chilli powder
  • 1 piece of ginger
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of jeera
  • 2-3 pieces of cardamom (elaichi)
  • 1 piece of cinnamon stick (dalchini)
  • 1 piece of star anise (chakra phool)
  • 2-3 pieces of cloves (laung)
  • 2-3 pieces of bay leaves (tejpatta)
  • 4-5 curry leaves (kadipatta)
  • 2-3 green chillies

For Spice Powder:

  • 3-4 pieces of cloves (laung)
  • 1-2 teaspoons of shahjeera
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut
  • 1 teaspoons of sesame seeds (til
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds (jeera)

For Garnishing:

  • 2 tablespoons of coriander leaves (dhaniya)
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut (optional)

Method:

  1. Wash and clean the rice. Soak it for a few minutes. Ground the spice powder too. Meanwhile, heat ghee in a non stick pan and add mustard seeds to it. After the mustard seeds crackle, add cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, chilli and curry leaves. Sauté for a few minutes.
  2. Add the chopped tendli and rice. Sauté for a few minutes.
  3. Now add the remaining spices (turmeric, chilli) and mix well along with addition of salt.
  4. Add 3 cups of hot water. Stir well and cover with a lid. Occasionally, open the lid and stir.
  5. Add coconut, remaining spices and cook on a medium flame.
  6. Serve garnished with grated coconut and coriander leaves. And, you can serve it with curd (dahi) or pickle as an accompaniment.

5. Brown Rice Kheer

Video Via She Cooks / YouTube

Kheer is a sweet dessert that’s loved by many Indians! This kheer is prepared using brown rice, so we get double the benefits compared to white rice. What’s more? You can even add fruits like banana, apple, chikoo and pomegranate for more flavour and nutrition.

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Nutritional Values (1 Serving Approx): Energy: 485 kcals | Carbs: 18gms | Protein: 12gms | Fat: 15gms | Fibre: 4gms | Calcium: 390gms | Iron: 3mg | Sodium: 542mg

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of brown rice
  • 21/2 cups of milk
  • 4 tablespoons of cashews
  • 3 pieces of cardamom
  • Sugar to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of raisins
  • 2 tablespoons of pistachios

Method:

  1. Wash and clean rice well. Mix rice with water and cook for 20-30 minutes. 
  2. Put cashews into the milk. Add milk to the rice. Add sugar, cardamom and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. In another skillet, sauté the nuts. After the kheer simmers, add the remaining nuts to it.
  4. Add sugar to the kheer and mix well. Continue to cook until the rice is cooked well.
  5. After the kheer gets cooked well, serve it in a plate either warm or cooled. You can add chopped fruits too once it cools down.

Key Takeaways

  1. Ensure that you consume any type of rice with vegetables as vegetables contain a good amount of fibre which helps keep your stomach feel full and prevents you from overeating the rice.
  2. Method of cooking also helps reduce starch content in rice. Just soak the rice for around 35-40 minutes, which should be followed by a thorough rinsing of the rice. 
  3. Another technique is boiling the rice. Boiling leads to the formation of a starch layer on top and you can discard the starchy water after the rice is cooked properly. Do keep in mind though, that this can lead to loss of nutrients.
  4. Quantity of rice consumed also has to be kept in mind. For example, steamed rice with veggies would be much healthier than fried rice. In such cases, people who consume fried rice daily would obviously gain more weight than the ones consuming steamed rice. So no matter which version, portion control is a simple way of being mindful of your rice consumption.
  5. Consumption of whole rice ensures that you get enough of B vitamins and fibre.
  6. Consume rice with a variety of high-fibre or protein combinations. This ensures that the carbs are matched with other nutrients.