Popping is a simple, cost-effective way to prepare whole-grain snacks. Popped rice is a classic, ready-to-eat wholegrain snack in India and a good dietary alternative for vegetarians, anaemics, coeliacs, and gluten-sensitive and intolerant individuals. We examined the changes in the physical, nutraceuticals, starch fraction, pasting, and textural changes in four rice genotypes throughout popping to provide practical knowledge on how popped rice from these varieties could be processed to effectively retain and enhance its health benefits. This knowledge may be used to generate nutrient-dense, high-quality foods from superior rice varieties, and its applicability to other food industry sectors.
Rice is a vital cereal grain that is cultivated globally and is one of the most consumed energy-dense cereals in the world. It contributes significantly to the diets of more than half the world’s population. Starch concentrates in the endosperm in matured grains, whereas most nutrients are at the outer aleurone layer and embryo.
Milling eliminates most of the bran and other outer layers. In effect, rice loses B vitamins, minerals, and bioactive compounds. Communities that rely extensively on it may be susceptible to nutritional deficits and prone to non-communicable diseases.
Considerable data substantiated the superiority of whole grain rice, especially red and black cultivars, in comparison to milled white rice as these pigmented rice contain diverse bioactives and nutrients including antioxidants, dietary fiber (DF), protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals, such as iron and zinc.
India is renowned for its genetic wealth, including specialty cultivars such as black, red, and diverse accessions possessing unique aromas and textures. Pigmented rice’s naming alludes to their kernel color, formed by anthocyanin or proanthocyanidin deposition in the pericarp, seed coat, and aleurone layers.
These cultivars are believed to possess unique grain traits like nutty aroma and taste, intense color, distinct texture, high nutritional, and phytochemical content. Pigmented rice is typically sold dehulled and valued for the mentioned traits. Even when extensively milled, pigmented genotypes retain partial bioactives with slightly colored endosperm. In recent years, great emphasis has been given to pigmented rice’s nutritional benefits as a standalone food product or as a component of healthy food products.
Popped rice is a classic, ready-to-eat wholegrain snack in India and a good dietary alternative for vegetarians, anaemics, coeliacs, and gluten-sensitive and intolerant individuals. In India, this product is also called parched rice, Aralu, Pelaalu, Kheel, Nel Puri, and Khoi. It is mostly used during weddings, temple offerings, and other religious ceremonies and in several East Indian dishes due to its exceptional sensory qualities.
In contemporary and commercialized processing, popped rice is used to produce snack bars and morning cereals. In a slightly nuanced application, it has been explored as a glucose substitute in oral rehydration solutions.
Popping is a simple, cost-effective way to prepare whole-grain snacks. The genetic makeup of a variety and deployed processing steps alter the nutritional content of rice. However, new studies suggest that processing does not always degrade nutrients, even when heat is used.
Consumers are becoming familiar with the health benefits of functional foods and nutraceuticals. Despite substantial studies on rice, its nutraceutical profile as influenced by processing and the varietal difference is seldom explored. Hence, there is a paucity of information on the interaction of these factors on the physicochemical and functional properties of traditional rice genotypes, and to the best of our knowledge, these variables have not been exhaustively researched in relation to the popping process.
Hence, we examined the changes in the physical, nutraceuticals, starch fraction, pasting, and textural changes in four rice genotypes throughout popping. The outcome of the study would unravel the complexities of the process and provide practical knowledge on how popped rice from these varieties could be processed to effectively retain and enhance its health benefits. This knowledge may be used to generate nutrient-dense, high-quality foods from superior rice varieties, and its applicability to other food industry sectors.
Black rice (Chak-hao) was obtained from Daulatiya, State Agricultural Office, Chandouli, Uttar Pradesh. SM (BPT 5204) was grown at IRRI South Asia Hub, ICRISAT, Hyderabad, while red (CRVR 68) and Kalanamak were cultivated at the International Rice Research Institute South Asia Regional Centre (ISARC) experimental farms at Varanasi. Black rice, red, and Kalanamak from Uttar Pradesh are landraces. SM is a prominent type grown in Telangana and other regions.
Indian landrace rice has distinct organoleptic features. When processed to popped rice, SM was the softest of the four varieties. Chak-hao and red rice retained high phytochemicals with high antioxidant potency. However, Chak-hao is preferred over red for superior popping characteristics with enriched bioactives and minerals.
Although SM had the best popping%, Chak-hao showed good volume expansion, popping quality, and high bioactives, micronutrients, and TDF. Chak-hao contains minimal amylose and is unique from the other three rice types. Iron cookware at high heat increased micronutrient levels, particularly Fe, in popped products.
Growing demand for nutritious, high-quality food provides new commercial opportunities for food manufacturers willing to diversify for niche markets. This study demonstrates the functionality of popped-pigmented landrace rice as a standalone product. Popped pigmented rice could also be leveraged to produce gluten-free functional foods, nutraceutically enhanced morning cereals, snacks, and dietary supplements. Since these products are LMFs, they are less sensitive to microbial and pathogen growth. Thus, popped products from colored rice may provide a safe, convenient, delicious, nutritious, and wholesome dietary alternative for sustained health and improved nutrition.
Read the study:
Itagi H, Sartagoda KJ, Pratap V, Roy P, Tiozon R, Regina A, and Sreenivasulu N. (2023) Popped rice with distinct nutraceutical properties. LWT, Volume 173.