What is rice?
Growing up, Rice has always been my favourite, and I looked forward to when my mum would prepare this meal. She would turn rice into different meals, each of these rice meals has a different taste and flavours, as for the aroma, hmmm it was so pleasant that I would love to have rice as a meal every day if I could. Rice is one of the most famous and widely consumed food in Nigeria, prepared in most homes and served on almost every occasion or ceremony.
Rice is a cereal grain, rich in carbohydrate that grows not only in swampy areas with high rainfall, but it can all be grown in areas with low rainfall with water controlling terrace systems to enable it to grow well. The botanical name for rice is called Oryza Glaberrima (African rice) or Oryza sativa(Asain rice). It is the third-highest worldwide production after sugarcane and maize. Rice can also be used for other products like breakfast cereals for kids and adults rice flour, rice syrup, rice bran oil, and rice milk. and alcoholic beverages.
Areas it can be found in Nigeria
Some people might not know this amazing fact but statistics have shown that Nigeria is the largest rice producer in west Africa and also the highest rice importer globally. Niger state is known as the highest rice producing state in Nigeria. There are actually other rice-producing states in Nigeria like, Kaduna, Kebbi, Kogi, Ebonyi, Niger, Benue, Taraba, Borno, Kano, Enugu and Cross River.
Nutrients & Health benefits of rice
Rice is typically white in color but rice can also be brown, reddish, black or purplish. So, when you see rice with these colors there’s no need to freak out, it is normal.
Rice has its nutritional values it contains carbohydrate, vitamin B and iron. Brown rice contains fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. When it comes to nutritional and health benefits brown rice takes the front row to the white rice.
For people with diabetes eating white rice should be avoided but brown rice is a low-glycemic food that contains a beneficial effect on blood sugar control. Brown rice is a healthier alternative than white rice with greater health benefits.
Refined white rice provides energy and basic nutrients without any health benefits while consuming whole grain brown rice regularly can be beneficial to your health.
Health benefits of Brown Rice
· It lowers cholesterol
· It controls blood sugar levels
· It does not contain fat
There are different types of meal you can prepare with rice which I’ll be sharing with you including their recipes.
1. Coconut rice: Coconut rice is a rice delicacy made mainly with rice and coconut extract(Coconut milk), giving you a delicious coconutty taste with the right amount of spice. When preparing this meal avoid using a lot of spices with bold flavours so as not to overpower the coconutty taste. The rice is cooked in freshly extracted coconut milk and a few spices, beef and veggies of your choice to garnish. You could also add seafoods like shrimps (totally optional).
Ingredients for coconut rice
· 1 Medium brown coconut (depends on the quantity of rice you want to prepare)
· Beef or Chicken
· Shrimps (optional)
· seasoning cubes
· pepper (I personal prefer fresh peppers)
· Diced carrot
· Diced green beans
2. Fried rice: Fried rice is one delicious rice delicacy I love to eat full of colors and flavors and sweet aroma that makes you eager for the meal, it is made with rice different kinds of vegetables, shredded beef and spices served with fried chicken or turkey and salad. The fried rice was a meal served during the festive period while I was growing up. One mouthwatering meal I looked forward to.
Ingredients for fried rice
· Bay leaf
· Seasoning cubes
· Chopped green beans
· Sweet corn
· Chopped carrots
· Green onion
· minced garlic cloves
· Kidney beans
· Shredded cabbage
· Curry or Tumeric powder ( for color)
· Black or white pepper
· dry pepper
3. Jollof rice: Jollof rice is another delicacy made from rice. The rice is cooked in a rich tomatoe sauce with spices, beef and vegetable. Jollof rice is known as the number 1 party food in Nigeria. It can be served with fried chicken, beef, turkey, salads or fried plantain, on the side.
This delicacy is easy to make with these ingredients:
· Fresh tomatoes,pepper, onion, ginger and garlic, bell pepper(tatashe) blended together.
· Tomatoes paste
· Fresh pepper
· Vegetable oil
· Curry powder
· Bay leaves
· Dried thyme
Related Article: Jollof Rice and Preparation – Read more on step-by-step preparation of Jollof rice here
4. Tuo shinkafa (Mashed rice) : Tuwo shinkafa is a dish made from rice popularly known in the northern part of Nigeria. It is made of rice flour or soft, short-grained rice and water. The combination of those ingredients is cooked, mashed, and formed into large balls. You can serve your Tuwo shinkafa with any soup or stew of your choice.