Did you know that the many health benefits of Korean rice extend beyond its nutritional qualities as a food? In this post, I'll be celebrating Korean rice and exploring its benefits and uses both in the kitchen and outside of it. In particular, I'm excited to introduce you to a use of Korean rice that you probably haven't heard of.
The idea for this focus on Korean rice came from a very innovative Korean brand: I'm From. They make natural vegan skin care products, many of which have culinary ingredients at their cores. Their skin care lines focus on ingredients such as figs, ginseng, pears, and even rice. Although I'll be using Korean rice in a culinary application, I'm From has a whole skin care line formulated from rice water. This nourishing ingredient is good for our bodies in numerous different ways!
The Nourishing Properties of Korean Rice
I love learning about powerful foods, so I was excited to hear more about Korean rice. The rice itself, and hence the water derived from soaking the rice, has many health benefits. We can of course eat the rice (yum!), but the water can be used to nourish our skin. In fact, rice water has been used in Korea as a skin care product for generations.
Korean rice (and hence the water derived from it) contains many important nutrients. It's rich in amino acids, antioxidants, and minerals, making it an all-around nutritional winner. For skin care specifically, it has traditionally been used to cleanse the skin, reduce oiliness, and treat acne. Its high Vitamin B concentrations make it a great agent for brightening and evening skin tone. Likewise, its high dietary fiber (also a nutritional winner!) make it useful for removing dead cells and creating clearer skin. It can boost natural collagen production, keeping the skin elastic and healthy, and may even treat sun damage.
As a scientist myself (albeit in a very different field), I was so interested to learn this from I'm From! You can find this powerful ingredient in their vegan, plant-derived Rice Toner, Rice Serum, and Rice Cream. I've already started working their Rice Toner into my daily routine; I put it on as a base layer, right after I wash my face. I love how light it feels, and how it makes my skin instantly feel softer and look more glowy.
A Nourishing Rice Bowl
In order to celebrate Korean rice, I'm partnering up with I'm From to create a nourishing, plant-based recipe using this versatile ingredient. This colorful bowl is easy to make and easy to tweak based on your diet and what you have on-hand. I especially love how the fresh, raw veggies and the hearty, chewy rice complement each other so nicely. This bowl is all about contrasts of textures and flavors.
I always love a sweet/spicy dish, so I've created a fun, tropical, spicy mango sauce to flavor this bowl. You'll make the sauce and use half of it to marinate the veggies; you'll then thicken the remaining sauce with some coconut cream (for even more tropical vibes!) and drizzle it over the final bowl. The end result is a bright, vibrant dish loaded with diverse textures and flavors.
Given that the spicy mango sauce is acidic thanks to the mango and the lime juice, it works as a great tenderizing agent for harder veggies. In this recipe, you'll cut the cabbage and carrots into thin ribbons, then let them sit in the marinade while the rice cooks. Just 20-30 minutes in the citrusy marinade is enough to very delicately pickle the cabbage and carrots, making them more flavorful and easier to eat (and digest). This is a great trick for making raw veggies, especially assertive and crunchy ones like cabbage, more approachable.
Make It Your Own
There are many ways to change up this nourishing bowl to make it work for your diet or to accommodate what ingredients you have on-hand. I've shown all raw veggies here, primarily because I thought they would be a great complement to the hearty, chewy rice, but this concept will work great with whatever veggies you want to use. If you're planning to roast some veggies (broccoli would be great!), just toss them in the marinade toward the very end of the cooking time to avoid burning.
You can also easily choose your preferred level of heat in the marinade/sauce. As written, the recipe calls for a pinch of cayenne because I adore mango and cayenne together. Feel free to bump up the cayenne if you really love heat, scale it back for less heat, or omit it for no heat. Alternatively, you could blend in your favorite spicy pepper, with or without seeds/ribs, or use a bit of your favorite hot sauce (something tropical and fruity would be great).
Finally, I think the garnishes are really what make this bowl fun. You can use whatever crunchy or fresh garnishes you love. I've shown black sesame seeds, shredded coconut, and cashews since I think all three of those go beautifully with mango. But other nuts (like almonds?), herbs (mint? basil?), or fun crunchy garnishes like sesame sticks would be great.
Curious about serving size? As written, this recipe makes one hearty bowl. You can easily multiply it to feed more people, or split a single recipe into two smaller portions for healthy, colorful lunches.
Let's Talk Ingredients
Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.
Mango. The mango here does double-duty; you'll use two thirds of it to create a marinade for the veggies, and the remaining third in the bowl.
Lime juice. Definitely fresh-squeezed!
Cayenne. Or see other options for altering the heat level, above.
Coconut cream. Look for cans of coconut cream at Trader Joe's. Or, you can buy a can of full-fat coconut milk and skim the solid cream off the top.
Korean rice. The star of the show! This is the nourishing ingredient that's at the heart I'm From's rice skin care line.
Carrots. I like to use one orange carrot and one purple carrot for extra color!
Baby yellow bell peppers
Sunflower sprouts. Or use whatever sprouts you enjoy most.
Mesclun greens. Any greens you have will work great, but I love mesclun in this bowl because it requires no additional prep and because the colors are so beautiful.
Garnishes of choice. I finished my bowl with black sesame seeds, unsweetened shredded coconut, and maple-roasted cashews. See ideas above for other garnish options.
Did you know that Korean rice has so many diverse nutritional benefits? And that it can be used not just as a nourishing food, but also for skin care?? I'll definitely be working this powerhouse grain into my diet and into my skin care routine (thanks to I'm From's new rice skin care line!) more frequently. This colorful bowl is the perfect way to start!
This bowl meal really showcases the beauty of Korean rice. I've deliberately kept the other ingredients really fresh and raw so that the rice can be the star of the show. It's hearty but still light, and has a delightfully chewy texture that complements the raw veggies beautifully. With lots of ways to change up the flavors in this bowl, I hope this is one you'll come back to again and again.
It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.
Disclosure: This recipe has been developed through a paid partnership with I'm From. However, all opinions and thoughts are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep The Rogue Brussel Sprout running.
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To make the spicy mango sauce, combine the mango, lime juice, salt, and cayenne in a single-serve blender (don't add the coconut cream yet). Blend until a thin, homogeneous marinade develops, adjusting the heat level to taste.
Set aside about half of the marinade for preparing the veggies. Add the coconut cream to the blender and blend again, turning the remaining marinade into a thicker sauce for drizzling on top of the bowl.
Cut the cabbage into thin ribbons and toss them with a few spoonfuls of the reserved marinade, then let them sit while the rice cooks to tenderize and lightly pickle the cabbage.
Using a peeler, peel the orange and purple carrots into ribbons. Toss the carrot ribbons with the remaining reserved marinade and let them sit while the rice cooks.
Cut the baby bell peppers and cucumber into thin slices. Cut the remaining third of a mango into cubes.
When the rice is done, build the bowl by plating the rice in the center. Surround the rice with the raw fruits and veggies in rainbow order.
Top with black sesame seeds, shredded coconut, and cashews, then serve with mango sauce for drizzling on individual portions.