When I posted a photo of these unicorn rice rolls, I was overwhelmed by all your positive reactions and lovely comments, therefore I decided to make a blogpost for these rolls. I post the recipe at the very end of this post as usual, but this is more about food coloring than the actual recipe.
I guess we all know the food colors from Dr. Oetker and co. for coloring our christmas cookies or birthday cakes and yes I also used them once… but know that I figured out so many better and healthier ways to play with these fancy colors on a natural basis, I simply say no to this chemical, unnatural coloring.
Like I said in my Instagram post, I was inspired by Ela and/or A.J. – they both have beautiful accounts with pictures full of bright colors. And there is also Ami, who makes these beautiful unicorn bowls and platters, in case you need more inspo for colorful food 🙂
There are so many natural ways to color your food. I often use powders such as Acai or Matcha (green and blue) for smoothies, porridges or nicecreams. Then there are the obvious color-givers which you can use for smoothies: kale, spinach, broccoli, kiwi or avos for a bright green. Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, pomegranate seeds, beet, red cabbage or dragon fruit for pink/violet/red. Or Banana, mango, pineapple, turmeric, papaya or carrots for yellow/orange. By blending these kinds of fruits and/or veggies with plant milk, water or yoghurt, you get beautiful bright colors without doing anything fancy.
Same goes for nicecream and porridges… you can cook some berries, puree them and mix it with an oatmeal to have a pink/red one or you add other frozen fruits to your nicecream to get another color than the light yellow from the bananas. Here are some examples:
For me it´s always super cool to see these aqua colors, because it´s something special and something you can´t do with these named ingredients – or can you?! 🙂
Of course you can – like I said I did it with natural ingredients and I bought them in the local supermarket (which is actually a smaller one, so you don´t even need to drive the next big one).
All I used is fresh red cabbage, lemon juice and some baking powder…
It was quiete spontanious, that I created these unicorn rolls, because I made a quick salad for dinner, which contained red cabbage (just like this one here). So I cooked the red cabbage in water and when I saw how the water turned blue-ish, I thought about cooking rice in this same water to see if it tunrs out blue as well. So that´s what I did. I removed the red cabbage and saved as much water as possible. Then I added round-grain rice (which is basically rice you´re using for rice pudding or sushi) and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.
When the rice was done, I decided to make rice rolls with it, therefore I needed other ingredinets for the filling – would be too boring if I just make rice rolls filled with rice, right?!
As I didn´t plan this, I had to improvise with the filling and decided to make it a sweet one, therefore I added some agave nectar. I had bananas, apples, avocados, raspberries and some other vegetables which wouldn´t quite fit here. And now what? I had violet rice, rice papers and the named fruits… I wanted more 😀
I thought about the color-change when I added apple cide vinegar to the red cabbage, but this wouldn´t taste really good with the sweet rice… So I played around with lemon juice, because the acid should have a similar effect as vinegar. And yes, the rice turned pink – pretty neon-like. Now I had 1/3 violet and 1/3 pink rice.
For the blue one I remembered Ela´s blue rice, and I think she said something with baking powder/soda once. So I mixed 1/2 tsp baking soda with about 1 tbsp water and added it to the remaining third. The violet rice instantly turned blue. I was giggling like a child when it turned out like I wanted it to.
After making the rolls I took some pictures and edited them a bit. But I always try to stick as much to the original as possible, because I simply don´t like to overdo it. I want to keep it natural – what would it be good for if I edit the picture so much, that it´s nothing like the original food. I don´t the food coloring then 😉
Just to show you what I mean here is the before and after picture:
The main thing I´m doing is brighten up everything and then sometimes intensify the color itself, but like I said, I try to keep it simple because I prefer natural colors. And I know in this case it looks kinda unnatural and chemical, but as explained: all natural ❤
Ingredients for 7-8 Rice Rolls:
7-8 Rice Papers
300 g round-grain Rice
1 tsp Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
~ 12 Raspberries
I already did some explaining above, so just a short version here: Cook red cabbage in water (you won´t need the red cabbage itself, so take a look here, if you need some recipe inspo). Once the cabbage is done, remove it and keep the water for cooking the rice in it. Cook as stated (should be something around 30 minutes).
In the meantime prepare your other filling ingredients: Slice the banana, the apple and the avocado and wash the raspberries. Mix the baking powder with about 1 tbsp water. Fill the sink with water for the rice papers.
Once the rice is done cooking, let it drain and cool down – it should be violet now. Fill the rice in three bowls for coloring after adding agave nectar for sweetness. Violet stays the way it is. For the pink rice, simply add lemon juice to one bowl and mix everything. For the blue one add the baking-power-water mixture to the secong bowl and mix again.
That´s it 😉 Now you can soak the rice paper in water and fill them with the colored rice and the sliced fruits.