|Kimchi Fried Rice served with bean sprout salad|
One of the easiest whole grains to introduce into daily meals is brown rice. Brown rice comes in three basic varieties – long grain (such as jasmine and basmati), medium grain, and short grain.
Long grain rice is just that, longer and thinner than the other two rices. Medium grain rice is shorter and plumper, like an arborio rice. Short grain rice is even more round, and is soft and sticky when cooked. For everyday cooking, I use either long grain or medium grain brown rice.
|Clockwise from left: Jasmine, Basmati and Medium Grain Brown Rice|
Some people are intimidated by cooking rice. Don’t be. Cooking rice is actually really simple once you figure out the correct rice to water ratio and cooking time. Too little water or not enough cooking time will result in hard rice, and too much water will result in wet rice. I find that soaking brown rice for at least an hour before cooking helps reduce cooking time and ensures a softer cooked rice. If you have a rice cooker, cooking rice is mindless, just push a button and wait (you can buy a rice cooker with a brown rice setting). Cooking rice on the stovetop is actually very simple too.
Whether you’re cooking rice in a rice cooker or in a pot on the stove, it’s important to rinse the rice thoroughly before cooking to remove some of the starches. According to Andrea Nguyen, cookbook author and teacher, rinsing rice prior to cooking yields a cleaner tasting rice without clumps. I usually rinse my rice 4-5 times, by filling the pot of rice with water, stirring it around with my hands, draining the water off, and repeating this process.
I try to make extra brown rice at the beginning of the week so I can easily heat some up during the rest of the week. Another delicious way to enjoy brown rice is to make fried rice. The nice part about using brown rice for fried rice is that the sauces used add color to the rice, so most people won’t even know they’re eating brown rice (my kids didn’t!).
Two fun ways to spice up boring plain rice are Vegetable Fried Rice and Kimchi Fried Rice. Vegetable Fried Rice and Kimchi Fried Rice (“Bokumbap”) are a great way to use up any extra vegetables or kimchi in your refrigerator. Both recipes include cabbage, an anti-cancer cruciferous vegetable (kimchi is a Korean fermented cabbage).
How To Cook Brown Rice
|Cooked Medium Grain Brown Rice|
2 cups brown rice
3 1/2 cups water
|Partially covering the saucepan keeps the rice from boiling over|
Cook 35 minutes, until water is absorbed and rice is soft. Turn off heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes before serving.
Makes 7 cups cooked rice.
Vegetable Fried Rice
Feel free to substitute any vegetables you happen to have. For meat eaters, you can add diced, cooked chicken.
|Vegetable Fried Rice|
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or other flavorless oil, divided
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons ginger, finely minced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 carrot, diced into small pieces
1 ½ cups cabbage, diced into small pieces
1 cup frozen peas
Loosen rice by running your fingers through it.
|Use your fingers to break up any clumps|
|Stir fry eggs until just done|
Use spatula to break egg into pieces. Remove and set aside.
|Use spatula to break egg into bite-size pieces|
|Stir fry vegetables and rice until hot|
Add frozen peas and toss until peas are just done, about 2 minutes.
Note:To make vegetarian fried rice, omit the eggs.
Kimchi Fried Rice
|Kimchi is fermented cabbage (like sauerkraut)|
1 1/2 tablespoon grapeseed or other flavorless oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups cooked brown rice, grains separated using your fingers
1 cup kimchi, drained and chopped
1 tablespoon Korean red pepper paste (gochujang)
2 scallions, minced
2 teaspoons sesame oil
toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add rice, kimchi and red pepper paste. Toss well, cooking until rice is warmed through. Add scallions and toss again. Drizzle sesame oil on top. Serve, sprinkled with sesame seeds.
More Brown Rice Recipes: