Sorghum Is the Sustainable (and Tasty) Grain You Can Substitute for Rice and Even Popcorn

January 2, 2018

Wholly Grain is a brand of locally grown sorghum, a grain commonly used in Africa, Central America, and South Asia, though rarely found in our rice-loving islands. But perhaps those looking for a rice substitute can look into sorghum, as it boasts high fiber, protein and calcium content, making it good for the gut, heart and bones.

Farming sorghum takes 60x less water than rice, says See, and yields more per square meter, making it more sustainable.

“We initially started out with edible cutlery. We wanted to do spoons and forks that were biodegradable, and at the same time nutritious, and one of the ingredients used is sorghum,” says Dominique See, president of the Grainhouse Inc. that owns Wholly Grain. Together with 4 other university classmates for a thesis project that is Wholly Grain, they reached out to local farmers to source the locally grown sorghum and buy directly from them, cutting out the middleman.

Toss the grains in a brown paper back and stick it in the microwave to make your own sorghum popcorn.

When cooked in water (like one would with rice, though sorghum takes a bit more time), it results in a somewhat chewy and heavy consistency. Taste-wise, See compares it to corn, while texture-wise, she compares it to brown rice. And because Wholly Grain only offers whole grain sorghum, it has more dietary fiber than white rice, so you get full faster and don’t end up eating as much.

But our favorite way to make and consume it is popped. You can stick it in a brown paper bag then in the microwave and wait for it to pop just like instant popcorn. The result are small popcorn bits that have more chewy kernel than white fluff, which some people (one of our staff writers included) prefer to traditional popcorn.


Sorghum sustainably grown in the north of the Philippines.

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Bea Osmeña SEE AUTHOR Bea Osmeña

Bea Osmeña is a healthy-ish eater who is just as likely to take you to a vegan joint as she is to consume a whole cheese pie to herself. A former picky eater, Bea has discovered the joys of savory fruit dishes, but still refuses to accept pineapples on her pizza. On the rare occasion you catch her without food in her mouth, you are likely to find her looking at books she can't afford, hugging trees, or talking to strange animals on the street.

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One response to “Sorghum Is the Sustainable (and Tasty) Grain You Can Substitute for Rice and Even Popcorn”

  1. A Despi says:

    I use it just like starchy white corn. Masarap sa guinataan or papak nang boiled & salted. I get sorghum from the Department of Agriculture’s showroom, IIRC, for just 29 per kilo for the whole grain variety & P40 for the semi-coarse flour. Babad overnight & cook for 45-50 minutes using the steamed rice method.

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