Have a Rice Summer

Toronto, ON, Monday, May 27th, 2013 – Many cultures throughout the world embrace rice in their diet and with good reason. Rice is nutrient rich and contains no cholesterol or sodium.  It is an energy food (100 calories per 1/2 cup serving) that supplies carbohydrates to fuel the body. For those who suffer from dietary restrictions or food sensitivities, rice is a gluten-free, low allergen food.

Health benefits aside, rice is versatile. It complements most foods, can be consumed hot or cold and used in everything from appetizers to desserts.

Rice is a primary staple for more than half the world’s population. With more than 200 ethnic origins represented in Canada1, it’s not surprising that rice is popular. In fact, Canadian rice consumption increased to 10.2 kg2 per capita in 2012 from 5.9 kg per capita in 2002 (73 % rise). Rice transcends home cooking use. Canadian chefs have ranked both red and black rice in their Top 10 Up and Comer menu items for 20133. Ethnic fusion and Middle Eastern cuisines rank first and second, respectively, when it comes to current hot menu trends.

In celebration of rice, Canada’s cultural diversity and current restaurant menu trends, the following ethnic-inspired fusion recipes were created for summer or anytime enjoyment:

Turkey and Rice Pineapple Burgers with Sesame Mayonnaise

You’ll flip over this re-invented, healthier burger option. Turkey, rice and water chestnuts create a tasty burger, further enhanced by Asian flavourings of ginger, soy and sesame, crowned with a sweet grilled pineapple ring.

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Falafel Patties with Rice and Lemon Tahini Sauce

Savour the flavours of this updated Middle-Eastern classic falafel recipe with Tahini sauce. The addition of rice to the traditional ingredients of chick peas, herbs and spices, creates a lighter textured patty. These falafels can be served as single portions – perfect for appetizers or children or as a main meal for those with heartier appetites.

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Lamb and Rice Koftas with Tahini Sauce

Koftas are a popular meat dish enjoyed in many countries and with good reason; they are deliciously satisfying. This version fuses seasoned lamb with rice and is drizzled with refreshing Tahini yogurt sauce. Perfect for grilling – indoors or out, consider serving Koftas at a summer party accompanied with a fresh salad and pita bread.

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Herbed Crepes with Cheese, Rice, Spinach and Mushrooms

These delicious vegetarian crepes are perfect for a weeknight meal or weekend brunch. Easy to make and easier to devour, these rice, spinach and mushroom-filled crepes are likely to become a favourite recipe.

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1 Statistics Canada 2011 National Household Survey
2 Global World Trade Atlas (based on total annual rice imports divided by the Canadian population) CRFA’s 2013 Canadian Chef Survey
3 CRFA’s 2013 Canadian Chef Survey