You have probably heard about white rice, brown rice, and black rice. But what about yellow rice? In today’s post, we take a closer look at the history behind this staple of many cuisines around the world.
What Is Yellow Rice?
As you might have guessed, yellow rice is well… yellow.
However, there’s an important difference between yellow rice and other types of rice known for their color.
While brown rice or black rice owe their color to natural factors (the layers of bran and germ in the case of brown rice, and the natural pigment anthocyanin for black rice), yellow rice acquires its color during the cooking process.
This type of rice is found in the culinary traditions of many countries, including South Africa, Latin America, the Philippines, India, Iran, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Indonesia, among others.
Yellow rice always starts out as plain white rice and then gets its color from ingredients that vary depending on the country.
For example, Sri Lankan yellow rice owes its color to turmeric, a spice that comes from the curcuma. Ecuadorian yellow rice, on the other hand, turns yellow thanks to the addition of achiote, a paste made with annatto seeds. Finally, the key ingredient in Iranian yellow rice is saffron, the aptly-called “sunshine spice”.
Needless to say, the different types of yellow rice can be wildly different. While South African yellow rice tends to be sweeter than its counterparts, yellow rice in Latin America offers the same basic concept with distinctive variations that reflect the culture of each country (a case similar to picadillo).
All in all, yellow rice is a perfect example of how a savory idea can be adopted in places all over the world. It also serves as proof that together with music, flavor is the universal language.
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