Kitchen stars shine with award-winning and highly nutritious Malusog Rice recipes

 Jose Benigno Gonzales   |  

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI ) community demonstrates creative cooking skills and explores delicious, affordable, and nutritious meals featuring Malusog Rice.

In celebration of the Philippines’ Nutrition Month, the Healthier Rice Team at IRRI organized Making healthy meals affordable for all, a cooking competition at the institute’s headquarters. The contestants had to Malusog Rice as an ingredient with each dish costing under USD 9.00 and suitable for everyday meals for a family of 3-5 people. More than 70 guests attended the culminating activity on 26  July 2023.

Malusog Rice, also known as  Golden Rice, is biofortified with beta-carotene. It is estimated that this rice var could help provide 30% to 50% of the recommended daily intake for vitamin A of Filipino families.   A pilot-scale deployment of Malusog rice is ongoing in ten regions across the Philippines led by the Department of Agriculture Philippine Rice Research Institute in partnership with IRRI and other local partners.

Fourteen entries representing a wide diversity of taste and cuisine, ranging from a delectable Golden Ginataang Halo-Halo with coconut milk to a savory Malusog Rice Lasagna, were submitted.  The entries were judged by the Chancellor for Education at the Center for Culinary Arts  Ma. Veritas Luna,  IRRI Food and Housing Services Head Priscilla Argosino, and staff of the Healthier Rice Program.

First Prize: Nutrilicious Chicken Pastil
Cost of dish: USD6.39
by  Edelweiss Sajise, wife of Andy Sajise from the Department of Rice-Based Innovations.

Chicken pastil is a Filipino Muslim dish made with steamed rice topped with shredded chicken {beef, fish; or pork can be used for non-Muslims) usually wrapped in banana leaves. It was introduced in Maguindanao, a Muslim region in  Mindanao, where it is a popular breakfast meal, but can also be served at lunch and dinner.

I tried Chicken Pastil in one of my travels to  Midsayap, North Cotabato. It is a very humble dish sold in almost any “turo-turo” or “karindirya” (food stalls) from the Awang Airport in North Cotabato to Midsayap. I was surprised that this dish is sold for only USD 0.18 to 0.26! This is very affordable yet tasty.  Chicken Pastil inspired me to cook it at home with some modifications in the recipe and served with  sidings to make it a more complete meal”


  • 5 cups cooked Malusog Rice
  • ½ kg chicken (breast or thigh part)
  • ½ c cooking oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 medium-sized onion
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 boiled egg
  • 1/2 cup sticky rice (optional)
  • Moringa leaves (optional)


Cooking the rice

  1. Wash and rinse Malusog Rice once or twice
  2. Add sticky rice to better mold the rice (optional)
  3. Add water. For most types of rice, a 2:1 ratio of water to rice
  4. Add moringa leaves (optional)
  5. Cook under low heat or use a rice cooker

Cooking the chicken

  1. Pour water into a large pot
  2. Season with salt and pepper
  3. Boil chicken for 15 minutes or until cooked.
  4. Drain the water
  5. Shred the chicken into smaller pieces.
  6. Set aside

Cooking the kagikit

  1. In medium heat, add vegetable oil to the pan.
  2. Once hot, add chopped garlic and then the onion. Sauté until the onion turns translucent.
  3. Add the shredded chicken and continue stirring.
  4. Add soy sauce, vinegar, and turmeric.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add sliced chili if spicy pastil is preferred.

Serving the pastil

  1. On a plate or banana leaf, add cooked rice
  2. Top the rice with the kagikit
  3. Wrap the pastil in banana leaves
  4. Serve with sliced cucumbers and boiled egg

Second Prize: Malusog Rice with Vegetable Okoy, Meaty Eggplant Roll, Chicken Soup, and Battered Fried Bananas
Cost of dish: USD 9.12
by Jeriel Maldo, Safety and Security Services

For this entry, Mr. Maldo wanted to showcase a full Filipino meal. In the Philippines,  a full meal is not complete without rice, viand, soup, dipping sauce, and dessert. The dish is rich in vitamins and minerals using flour made from Malusog Rice for the batter. This is very delicious, nutritious, and very affordable.

Vegetable Okoy

  • 1/2 cup Malusog Rice flour
  • 2 pcs medium-sized carrots cut into strips or shredded
  • 1 medium-sized squash cut into strips or shredded
  • 1 pc medium-sized sweet potato cut into strips
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • moringa leaves
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • salt according to taste
  • chicken powder (optional) 


  1. Put all the ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Add the egg and the Malusog Rice flour and mix.
  3. Add water according to the desired consistency.
  4. Heat pan using medium to high heat and add oil.
  5. When the oil is hot, take a portion of the mixed ingredients and fry.
  6. Press the mixture until flat and wait until both sides become golden brown.
  7. Serve.

Meaty Eggplant Roll

  • 1 cup Malusog Rice flour
  • 2 large eggplants
  • 1 egg
  • 250 grams ground chicken
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • minced garlic


  1. Mix the ground chicken, salt, garlic, and black pepper. Set aside for 20 minutes
  2. Cut the eggplant at both ends and cut lengthwise
  3. Fill one side of the eggplant with ground chicken and cover it with the other side. Set aside.
  4. For the batter, put the Malusog Rice flour in a bowl and add water until the desired consistency
  5. Heat the pan, and add oil
  6. Dip the prepared eggplant into the batter then fry
  7. Serve while hot.

Dipping sauce 1

  • 1 medium-sized white onion, diced
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 small cucumber, diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp ground peanut
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 2 chili, sliced (optional)


Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve

Dipping sauce 2

  • 1 egg white
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • black pepper
  • 3 calamansi or 1 lemon-(optional)


Put all ingredients in a jar. Cover the jar with the lid and shake until the desired consistency is reached.

Chicken Soup

  • 3 cups water
  • 2  tsp Malusog Rice flour
  • ¼
  • ⅛ kg chicken, diced


  1. Put the diced chicken and butter in boiling water
  2. Put Malusog Rice in cold water to make a slurry
  3. Add the slurry to the boiling water and stir until the desired consistency
  4. Add salt and pepper according to taste and serve hot

Battered Fried Bananas

2 plantain bananas (saba)
¼ cup Malusog Rice flour


  1. Make a batter using Malusog Rice flour
  2. Peel bananas
  3. Using a rolling pin, flatten the bananas
  4. Dip bananas in the batter
  5. Fry in oil
  6. Serve  while hot

Third Prize: Golden Ginataang Halo-Halo
Cost of dish: USD 8.81
by Rica Mariano, Rice Breeding Innovations, with her grandmother, Luciana.

The dish contains fiber from corn and gabi (taro), vitamins from jackfruit and banana, and protein and fats from the coconut milk and cream. Overall, it is a balanced snack in itself and is palatable for everyone. In our household, since some of the ingredients are easily available in the market, we can easily make this  in the afternoon.


  • 1/2 kg Malusog Rice
  • 2 cups first-pressed coconut milk
  • 4 cups second-pressed coconut milk
  • 1 medium-sized gabi (taro)
  • 1/4 kg ripe langka (jackfruit)
  • 4 ripe plaintain bananas (saba)
  • 1 can cream of corn
  • 1/4 kg sugar
  • 4 pandan leaves
  • 1 cup small sago, cooked
  • 1 can condensed milk (optional for additional sweetness)


  1. Wash Malusog Rice then cook in the second-pressed coconut milk
  2. When rice is almost cooked, add the gabi and cook until gabi is tender
  3. Add corn, cooked sago, langka, sugar, and pandan leaves
  4. Add the first-pressed coconut milk
  5. Using low heat, cook until it thickens
  6. Serve warm

Most Creative Recipe: Malusog Rice Taho
Cost of dish:  USD 3.53
by Weng Ediarte, Beanhub Cafe

We all know that taho is traditionally made with fresh soft or silken tofu. I’m excited to create a version of the beloved taho using Malusog Rice.”

Malusog Rice Taho

  • 1 cup of Malusog Rice
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1-3 tsp unflavored gulaman
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract


  1. Soak Malusog Rice overnight
  2. Mix Malusog Rice and water and blend using a food processor or blender
  3. Sieve the mixture in a bowl using a cheesecloth
  4. Boil the mixture with gelatin
  5. Stir well until sticky
  6. Set aside


  • 1 cup sago
  • 1 liter of water


  1. Boil one liter of water in a pot
  2. Add sago
  3. Mix until sago is cooked

Arnibal (brown sugar syrup)

  • ½ kg brown sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of water


  1. Melt brown sugar with vanilla extract for 30 minutes
  2. Add one cup of water. Stir until thick.


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