Rice - its nutrition and place as a staple is unquestionable. Whole civilisations exist on it, or variations of it - even today in our modern societies.
Dr Lam at http://www.drlam.com/opinion/brown_rice_vs_white_rice.asp
tells us that white rice, is comprised of mostly carbohydrates, with the nutrients stripped off in the milling process, which removes the outer husk (where all the nutriets are contained) from the brown rice and thus is becomes "white" rice.
Carbohydrates are broken down into sugar inside the body. While carbohydrates are a good source of energy (yielding 4 calories per gram), excessive carbohydrate intake leads to sugar imbalance. Carbohydrates are also addictive, and lead to cravings. Thus brown rice is a way to break the addictive 'sugar' cycle.
Wiki also sheds some light on the difference telling us that whilst both types of rice have similar calories and carbohydrates, the main differences between the two forms lie in processing and nutritional content.
When only the outermost layer of a grain of rice (the husk) is removed, brown rice is produced. To produce white rice, the next layers underneath the husk (the bran layer and the germ) are removed, leaving mostly the starchy endosperm. Several vitamins and dietary minerals are lost in this process. Fatty Acids, fibre, rice bran oil ( which can lower LDL cholesterol), are removed in the milling and Vitamin B1, vitamin B3, and iron are sometimes needed to be added back into the white rice making it "enriched".
One mineral not added back into white rice is magnesium; one cup (195 g) of cooked long grain brown rice contains 84 mg of magnesium while one cup of white rice contains 19 mg.
So, having established that Brown rice is better for us, can we make it a little better ? I have used this recipe on my family which has an intense dislike for brown rice, and so far I have three converts, well, 2 at least, one is sitting on the fence atm!!! So here is the recipes I use at home, which can be adapted or used as is, for a variety of dishes including Chinese fried rice, Rice Pilaf, vegetarian dishes and many more.
NUTTY BROWN RICE2 tbspn olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
50 g ( 2 oz) pine nuts
1/4 cupsful of brown rice
1 1/2- 2 cups of vege or chicken stock or water ) boiling
1/2 tsp thyme
1-2 bay leaves
1. Heat oil in heavy saucepan and saute pine nuts for 1-2 minutes till golden brown
2. Saute onion till soft. ( celery could also be nice added in here for touch of greenery)
3. Add the rice, stirring well till all the grains are well coated with the oil.
4. Add the stock or water, and bring to the boil.
5. Add thyme and bayleaf and cover.
6. Cook 45- 50 minutes simmering on low - med heat till all liquid is absorbed. *
* I use 2 cups of liquid otherwise if left to simmer dry, it leaves a mess on the base of the saucepan, which required a good scrub to remove.
7. Season if desired - I usually don't as the nutty flavour and stock is enough to bring out the flavour.
Add 1/4 tsp cumin towards the end of cooking and raisins/sultanas as desired.
Leftovers can be turned in to a warm/cold summer salad by adding bean sprouts, celery and / or stir frying left over rice for 5 mins.
This Nutty brown rice is so yummy it will convert even the more drastic of white rice eaters amongst us!!
MICROWAVE QUICK WHITE RICEFor this you need: a microwave-proof bowl, or microwave-proof rice cooker.
1. First wash 1 and 1/2 cups white rice under running water till water is clear.
2. Place in microwave bowl or cooker with 2 cups of WARM water, placing paper towel underneath to absorb any overflow during the cooking process.
3. Cover with lid/plastic wrap
4. I program in the time but you can do it manually if you prefer:*
Microwave high power - 3 minutes
Microwave medium power - 7 minutes
Standing Timer / no power - 3 minutes
*Microwaves can vary in power, mine is 1200 watts, but I have successfully used this recipe in 800- 1000 watt microwave ovens too.
When done, fluff with a fork. That is it, enjoy.
This is a great way to prepare rice for Chinese fried rice, as you can easily make it the day before, allowing it to dry out in readiness for being stir-fried.
Which way will you prepare your next rice dish? And which rice will you use? Something rice eaters will more than likely ponder about.