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5 Benefits Of Replacing White Rice With Adlai

5 Benefits Of Replacing White Rice With Adlai
Image by / Freepik

Many of us are trying our best to stick to a healthy lifestyle or starting our fitness journeys to boost our immune system. This includes meal planning and looking for healthier alternatives to our everyday meals. If you’re also watching what you eat, consider replacing regular white rice with the healthy superfood, adlai.

What is Adlai?

Adlai, also known as “Chinese pearl barley” or “Job’s Tears”, is a tall-grain tropical plant that belongs to the grass family, along with wheat, corn, and rice. The Philippines is abundant in supply of adlai as it has been cultivated and considered as a staple food.

This crop is cultivated extensively in Northern Mindanao, particularly in Zamboanga. Some farmers also grow adlai in selected areas in the Cordillera region, like Sagada and the Mountain Province.

Adlai looks and tastes similar to rice, but has a “slightly nutty” flavor.

“It looks and tastes like rice, only the grains are a bit larger, mas matagal magutom kapag kumakain kami ng adlai,” says one of the locals from Malaybalay, Bukidnon when they were invited to try the cooked Adlai during lunch, included in a project of the country’s Department of Agriculture.

Compared to white corn grits, Adlai also takes a longer time to cook because the size of the grains is bigger. Cooked adlai grains are softer in texture, but they are also slightly chewy, which may not be to everyone’s liking. However, it is undeniable that adlai is beneficial to our health!

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Why should you eat adlai?

  1. It is energy-dense.

    Adlai can give you three times more energy than white rice. Though it contains more calories, these are healthy carbohydrates and can make you feel full for a longer period.

  2. It is a good source of nutrients.

    Adlai is packed with protein and dietary fiber, as well as minerals like calcium, phosphorus, iron, niacin, thiamine, and riboflavin.

  3. It is sourced locally.

    Another important feature of adlai is that it is sourced locally. Our farmers from Mindanao and Cordillera will benefit from their harvest if more people switch to adlai. As we strive to become healthier, we are helping our farmers with their livelihood too.

  4. It has a low glycemic index.

    Unlike regular rice, adlai has a low glycemic index, which means that it is slowly digested, absorbed, and metabolized, causing a slower rise in blood glucose and insulin levels. Because of this, adlai is beneficial to those who suffer from diabetes or high blood sugar.

  5. It’s versatile.

Not only is it yummy and healthy, adlai is super versatile too! You can pair it with your favorite ulam, you can top it with your sauce of choice, or make guiltless kakanin with it for dessert.

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Where can I get adlai?

Buying adlai is as easy as checking out your grocery cart online. There are several virtual stores and websites that can deliver them to your doorstep!

  1. Echo Store

    This sustainable lifestyle store offers Bukidnon Adlai grains for Php 499 / kg, which may be directly ordered from their website.

  2. The Green Grocer

    A kilogram of organic adlai costs Php 400 at The Green Grocer. The grains are produced in Mt. Kanlaon, Negros Occidental, and can be purchased from their website.

  3. Hineleban Farms

Grown in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, a kilogram of Hineleban Farms Adlai only costs Php 350. Order directly from their website.

Cooking with Adlai

Wondering what to cook for dinner tonight? Here’s a recipe you can pair with the newest superfood addition to your pantry, adlai.

TV host Roxanne Barcelo joined Chef Noel Agra as he prepared a healthy pan-seared sesame chicken meal using adlai  in an episode of “Workout From Home”!

What you’ll need:

  • Adlai
  • Chicken thighs
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sesame oil


  1. Prepare a pot or a rice cooker and put one part adlai and two parts water.
  2. Let the adlai simmer for 30 to 40 minutes until it is thoroughly cooked.
  3. In a separate bowl, marinate the chicken thighs in soy sauce and black pepper.
  4. Prepare a non-stick pan and cook the chicken in sesame oil.
  5. Add the garlic and onions to the pan and continue to cook until slightly crispy.
  6. Once crispy, top the dish with sesame seeds.
  7. It’s that easy! You can now eat your healthy and scrumptious meal: pan-seared sesame chicken with adlai!

Catch Workout From Home every Saturday at 10:30 am on Colours! You can also watch episodes on Cignal TV Channel 202 HD and Channel 60 SD, and for free on Cignal Play.

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