Biko will never taste the same after using Mountain violet sticky rice (locally known as Ominio) from the Mountain Province. I never realized how tasty Mountain violet sticky rice was until I prepared Biko. Like so many other heirloom foods, the rice is very tasty and has its flavor, aroma, and texture qualities intact.
I received a pack of this violet sticky rice from Mary Hensley all the way from the USA. Mary used to be a Peace Corps volunteer in the Cordillera in the 1970s . She also added Tinawon and Ifugao Diket in the package. In 2006, Ms. Hensley started to market the heirloom rice in North America through her company, Eighth Wonder. She was telling me that the farmers are trying to develop an upscale market in the Philippines but the selling price will always be an issue. This is a fair trade product , so the farmers are being paid for a very high price for their rice. The reason the authentic heirloon varieties have never been sold before is because no one offered to buy it at at a fair wage for the amount of handwork needed to grow it in the Terraces. They would prefer to eat it themselves than sell it at a lesser value.
Since there was no commercial market, and people need cash, the farmers have started to abandon the terraces and many varieties have already been extinct. Mary adds that the project is about developing a business opportunity for the farmers so they can sell their rice to the gourmet food market in Manila, Baguio or tourist areas in the Cordillera. Considering that the “local food movement” has swept the world, it is outrageous that not even the 5 star Banaue Hotel serves this rice to its guest. The good news is that there is now a rice distributor in Manila who plans to distribute this colored sticky rice.
Mary Hensley founded the Eighth Wonder Inc and Cordillera Heirloom Rice project (www.heirloomrice.com) to connect growers of the rare mountain rice to the international market and give the people around the world an opportunity to taste the rice.
This Mountain Violet sticky rice is a truly fabulous for Biko.
Let me share the recipe.
1 1/2 cups Mountain Violet sticky rice
1 grated coconut (Extract coconut milk: 1 cup coconut milk for the first extraction and 1 cup coconut milk for the second extraction)
1/2 cup condensed milk
125 grams washed (white) sugar
1. Cook the sticky rice separately .
2. Boil the second extraction of coconut milk and add sugar . Stir.
3. While stirring the mixture , add the 1 cup coconut milk of the first extraction until thick.
4. Mix the boiled sticky rice with the coconut milk mixture. Steam for 10 minutes.
5. Transfer to a pyrex dish. Cool then serve.
I tell you, this is the most delicious biko I have ever tasted. I discern an ube flavor in the rice. It is just so divine. Not only that, this purple colored rice has anthocyanin. Anthocyanin pigments and associated flavonoids have demonstrated ability to protect against a myriad of human diseases, yet they have been notoriously difficult to study with regard to human health. And the content is said to be way above the charts . This organic heirloom rice is very very low on arsenic content.
You can buy the Mountain Violet sticky rice at an online store Heirloomrice.com or from Sunny Wood Super Foods Corp . Their website is at sunnywoodrice.com . Contact them here or at sunnywood.superfoods @ yahoo.com or telephone number +632-535-4060
You can also order online at www.heirloomrice.com