Washington, Feb 28: A super-nutritious, protein-rich form of puffed rice could make it to the breakfast table soon, say researchers in New York.
The current process of making puffed rice by steam can destroy heat-sensitive nutrients. So Syed S.H. Rizvi, professor of food process engineering at Cornell University, New York, looked for a way to avoid that loss and enrich rice with protein and other nutrients during the puffing process.
Rizvi and colleagues turned to a process that uses supercritical carbon dioxide, which has been used for making decaffeinated coffee and in other applications, the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reports.
The process helped them make puffed rice with three times more protein and eight times more dietary fibre than commercial puffed rice, according to a Cornell statement.
The puffed rice made by Rizvi and colleagues also contains calcium, iron, zinc and other nutrients that conventional puffed rice lacks. Their puffed rice was crispier than commercial products, giving it better taste and crunch.
The new rice is “ideally suited for consumption as breakfast cereal, snack food and as part of nutrition bars for school lunch programmes,” the report said, adding: “The balanced nutritional profile and use of staple crop byproducts such as broken rice makes these expanded crisps unique.”