Brown rice, anyone?

Over the past few years I have converted almost completely to whole grains in my own diet – convincing the rest of the family to do so has been only somewhat successful – they love their white rice, pasta, and bread! On some issues I’ve simply laid down the law – you will eat your sandwiches on whole wheat bread and your rice pilaf brown! – and stopped buying white. On others we eat separately: I will cook whole wheat pasta for myself when I cook white for them (I’m most sympathetic on this one, since it took me a long time to like whole wheat pasta). Our most recent compromise has been to alternate the kind of rice we cook to serve with Chinese food: one time we do a mix that includes brown rice, the next time we mix just white and sticky rice. It’s a gradual process of conversion which may never be complete!

It is indeed rare, although not unheard of, for Chinese restaurants to offer brown rice – I’m happy to see that it seems to be a growing phenomenon. And there’s more and more evidence that whole grains are better for you: apparently there are as many, if not more, phytochemicals in whole grains as in fruits and veggies – they just happen to appear in a bound form. A brief article on this appears on SparkPeople. More on the scientist researching this: Ruihai Liu Research Laboratory.

Wherever you are on your journey to eat more healthfully, this is food for thought.

One Response

  1. I like brown rice, too, and have found a great way to cook it that produces a rice acceptable even to die hard white rice devotees. It is an adaptation of the way Persians cook rice:

    Put the washed rice in a big pot of water (a quart or two for a cup of rice is good). Cook for half the time called for on the package (about 20 minutes), drain in a colander then let the rice continue to drain for a couple of hours (longer is okay).

    Now, put a few Tbsp water, butter or oil in a pot with a tight lid and a thick bottom. I like to weigh down the lid with a cast iron frying pan but maybe I’m just imagining the rice tastes better that way.

    Reheat the rice at low heat until warmed through. The classic way to tell if the rice is done is when a dab of butter on top has melted but that might not work out for Chinese food.

    I love this rice. It has way more flavor than white rice but not the grassy green taste of most brown rice. Apparently the parboiling drives nutrients into the rice, too, which makes it more nutritious that you’d expect with all that boiling water. Plus it can be made well ahead. I sometimes drain it for only half an hour which isn’t quite as good but quite good enough, if you know what I mean.

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