If you are in the mood to serve your visitor something different for lunch or dinner, serve them blue rice. Or orange rice if you desire. You can easily do that without depending on chemical coloring.
Here’s what Noel and Gail Bangeles did to impress us when we visited their farm in New Lucena, Iloilo province. The couple are developing a four-hectare farm that will eventually become a full-fledged agritourism destination. Although it is still in its early development stage, many visitors are already going to the place to enjoy the food and the ambiance.
They served us blue rice and orange rice that went with the tasty catfish, native chicken and veggies. No, the blue rice is not a variety. It is colored with the blue flowers of the Clitorea ternatea, a vine with dark blue flowers that are claimed to have medicinal attributes. The plant is known as Pukingan in Tagalog. Here’s how they prepare the blue rice. They get a handful of the blue flowers and boil them. Then the water is used for cooking the rice.
The orange rice which was cooked with atsuete or annato.
In the case of the orange rice, they use annato or atsuete as the coloring. Both the flowers and atsuete are natural plant colors so there’s nothing to fear. They are very safe.
Noel and Gail with their Sinamak.
Gail and her sunflower.
Noel is an immigration officer by night and a farmer by day. Gail, on the other hand, was a former TV host but now she also works for a well known hotel chain. Despite her hotel duties, she manages to be a part time farm girl with the help of her father who is involved in the farm operation.
The Bangeles couple have a special concoction of Sinamak, using two-year-old coco vinegar, native siling labuyo and langkawas. Their Sinamak is perfect for dipping grilled catfish and meat. It is now in some special markets. They also grow a lot of flowers, including sunflower which is the preferred flower of millennials today.