Yesterday, I wrote an article for About Southeast Asian Food outlining my checklist for choosing rice. While the health factor is important, so is the price. These two play a major role in my assessment of Rico corn rice.
This is NOT a paid post. There are no freebies involved either.
We came across Rico corn rice in the grocery a couple of months ago, and Speedy and I were immediately smitten with the total concept. We like corn, corn is more nutritious than rice… so, why not? But the corn rice came in a two-kilogram pack so we left it and moved on. A two-kilogram pack is NOT something to buy on a trial basis, especially when the price per kilogram is around 40 percent higher than the price of premium rice. If we decided we didn’t like it after eating it once, what were we to do with the remainder?
Then, two days ago, Speedy discovered one-kilogram packs of Rico corn rice. Seventy pesos (PHP70.00), or about USD1.57, was manageable. I read the fine print…
You can see for yourself. It isn’t just corn in the ingredients list. Some people find the addition of vitamins an added attraction; I don’t. It’s like iodized salt. Majority of consumers think that adding iodine to salt makes it better when, in truth, the addition of iodine gives salt a nasty aftertaste. And, according to some (can’t verify this though), the iodizing process leads to the loss of a lot of the natural nutrients of raw salt.
But I digress. Back to corn rice. How is it cooked? Pretty much the same as rice except that the cooking instructions in the package says add the corn rice to boiling water. I’ve never cooked rice that way. I add rice to tap water then switch on the rice cooker.
I was thinking that the peculiar instructions might have something to do with corn rice not being real rice and therefore requiring a different cooking procedure. So, I followed the package instructions. What happened? A mound at the center formed pushing the grains upward but leaving a pool of water around it. The rice cooker automatically switched off at that point. What the heck? So, the grains at the center won’t absorb any more water while the rest would? I don’t call that even cooking.
To save the day, I got a fork, raked through the rice and water all the way to the bottom, replaced the cover and left the corn rice to cook in “warm” mode for another ten minutes. It worked.
And just how did the corn rice taste? Speedy wasn’t happy at all. I was more ambivalent. The corn rice didn’t taste bad. But it didn’t taste good either. It had none of the creamy deliciousness of rice and the aroma was strange too. Of course, it’s not real rice and it wouldn’t be fair to expect it to taste and smell like rice. But Rico corn rice is being marketed as a replacement to real rice and that raises certain expectations.
The final verdict? For its price, corn rice isn’t worth it. Whatever additional nutrients it has over real rice can be had by eating rice with the right mix of meat, seafood, vegetables and fruits. And we’ll enjoy our corn as it is and not as pretend rice.