Going brown

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A FEW years ago, in a quest to join the bandwagon of clean eating, I decided to swap refined foods in favour of wholegrains.

I started by replacing white with brown. In other words, I began consuming more brown flours like whole-wheat, spelt and rye.

I introduced more ancient grains like quinoa, bulgur, freekeh, and farro into my diet and used brown rice in place of white. I started using brown basmati rice, which was delicious. However, the price was quite high and the cook time was 45 minutes.

It was then I discovered premium local brown rice on the market, farmed in Caroni and packaged attractively.

The rice is delicious, with a great aroma and a slightly chewy texture.

It is reasonably priced with a cook time of just 30 minutes.

I have never been a fan of parboiled rice so it was really easy to make the switch to brown rice.

Some white rice advocates find it hard to change, because of the difference in texture and flavour. I do believe that the benefits of brown rice far outweigh white rice and any small idiosyncratic change in texture and taste. Brown rice is whole grain rice with the inedible outer hull removed, leaving in place the bran and cereal germ, which contain a host of nutrients like protein, magnesium, vitamin B12, phosphorous and fibre, to name a few.

It’s a natural product so it should be refrigerated in its raw state. Here are a few recipes I hope will encourage you to introduce brown rice into your diet.

Spiced rice with lentils and caramelised onions

4 tbs coconut oil

4 cups sliced onions

3 cloves

2 whole all spice berries

1 cup long grain brown rice

1 tsp ground cumin

6 cardamom pods, crushed

1 tsp crushed garlic

1 cup long grain brown rice

1/2 cup dried lentils, cooked to tender and drained

1 tsp tomato paste

2 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock

1 cup long grain brown rice

1 cup mixed chopped fresh herbs

In a large frying pan, heat 3 tbs oil, add onions and cook on a medium low heat, stirring tenderly, for about 15 to 20 minutes until caramelised or dark brown in colour. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium-sized saucepan, heat one tbs oil and add spices and garlic, stir and fry for a couple of minutes, add rice and stir to coat, add lentils, stir and add tomato paste and stock. Bring to a boil, season with salt and add fresh herbs. Cover and steam until rice is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove spices and set aside. Stir in browned onions.

Serves 4 to 6

Caribbean rice pilaf

2 large dried Chinese black mushrooms

1 1/2 cups brown long grain rice

1 tbs coconut oil

2 clove garlic minced

1 onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

1/2 cup raisins

3 tbs chopped chives

Sauce:

3 cups chicken stock

1 tbs light soy sauce

1 tbs sesame oil

1 tsp Chinese chili sauce

½ tsp salt

2 tsp grated orange peel

Soak black mushrooms in 2 cups of warm water for two hours. Wash rice and drain. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and slice. In a small bowl combine sauce ingredients and stir well. Heat oil in saucepan and add garlic, onion and peppers. Sauté until fragrant. Add rice and stir to coat. Add raisins and sauce, cover and simmer until cooked, approximately 30 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in chives.

Serves 4 to 6

Perfect Cakes Baking class is on May 5.

If you are interested in learning more about whole grains and how to prepare them you can join me on May 26 at my Whole Grain and Gluten Free Cooking Class. Call 357-0927 or email [email protected]

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The post Going brown appeared first on Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.

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