For most Filipinos, rice is life. The typical Pinoy full breakfast consists of garlic rice, fried egg and a choice of tapa, tocino, hotdog, corned beef, luncheon meat, longganisa, daing or plain fried fish.
Some go for bread, pancake, waffle, congee or noodles. But then lunch is always with rice, as well as for dinner — and sometimes kakanin (rice cake) for merienda.
Too much rice, however, is not good, since carbohydrates can increase one’s risk for diabetes and other diseases, especially for those who are physically inactive.
Fortunately, healthier alternatives to rice are now available in the market. One is the imported quinoa, which is a grain crop grown primarily for its edible seeds.
Another is the local adlai, also known as Job’s tears. A gluten-free grain indigenous to the Philippines, adlai is a rich source of protein, dietary fiber and minerals.
This heirloom grain is considered a superfood since it has anti-diabetes, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.
People watching over their blood sugar and cholesterol levels, including borderline and full-blown diabetics, would benefit to switch from white rice to adlai, which has a low glycemic index (GI) of 28 to 55, which means it does not cause spikes in blood sugar levels.
Regular consumption of adlai likewise helps prevent cancer. In olden times, it was used to treat allergies and skin diseases.
Suffice it to say that adlai is loaded with fiber, which helps improve digestion, guarantee regular bowel movement and aid in weight loss.
More health benefits come in the form of high levels of calcium, iron, thiamine, phosphorus, niacin and riboflavin. It contains no sugar, no saturated fat, no trans fats, and only an insignificant amount of sodium.
A low-carb powerhouse grain, adlai is the perfect substitute for rice because it looks and tastes like it, but offers nutritional benefits far greater than other grains.
Thank God, Filipinos can now buy this superfood. Despite being an heirloom grain that has been cultivated as a staple food around the country, including Bukidnon and Cotabato, adlai was relatively unknown to modern generations of Filipinos until the search for healthier alternatives to rice led to its “discovery” as a superfood.
Bonds were formed between enterprising groups and adlai farmers to cultivate the crop and make it available in the market in limited commercial quantity.
One such partnership forged recently, between FEBI Corporation and local adlai farmers of Bukidnon and Cotabato is the Oh Crop! Adlai Rice brand — of which actor-chef Marvin Agustin is a co-owner.
Well-known in the local restaurant industry, Agustin is a partner in Wolfgang Steakhouse PH, SumoSam, Marciano’s, John and Yoko and Johnny Chow.
Looking at his investment as a way to support local farmers and propagate an indigenous Philippine crop, he is excited about the variety of dishes that he — and everyone else — can create with adlai rice.
Consider these savory and sweet treats one can enjoy with adlai: Seafood paella, kimchi rice, sushi bake, chicken arroz caldo, mango with sticky rice and champorado.
Oh Crop! Adlai Rice is available in one-kilogram packs for P399 and in five-kilogram packs for P1,899.
Each one-kilogram pack makes 20 cups of rice. For same-day delivery, fill out an order form before the 3 p.m.
cut-off and expect delivery.
It is also available through Shopee, Lazada and BeautyMNL.
2 tbsps. olive oil
1 pc. white onion, chopped
2 tbsps. ginger, julienned
2 cloves garlic, minced
150 grams chicken breast, sliced or cubed
1 cup washed adlai rice
4-5 cups water
2 pcs. chicken cubes
Fish sauce and pepper to taste
Boiled egg, toasted garlic and chopped spring onion for garnish
Sauté onion, ginger and garlic in olive oil. Add chicken breast. Add washed adlai rice. Cook until fragrant. Pour in water and add chicken cubes. Let boil for 10 to 15 minutes or until adlai is al dente. Season with fish sauce and pepper. Cook until done. Serve in bowls with boiled egg slices, toasted garlic and chopped spring onion for garnish.