January 6, 2011

Brown rice – its the one that’s a whole grain

Why should we have brown rice in our pantry?

Let me count the ways:

  1. First and foremost it’s a whole grain.
  2. Brown rice is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, plus antioxidants.
  3. People who eat whole grains like brown rice have a better shot at maintaining a health weight because eating whole grains help make you feel fuller faster and helps maintain that feeling of satiety well after eating them.
  4. Brown rice is an excellent source of manganese. This important trace mineral helps produce energy from protein and carbohydrates and is involved in the synthesis of fatty acids, which are important for a healthy nervous system.
  5. Brown rice is a very good source of selenium another trace mineral that has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer.
  6. It’s a source of magnesium, a mineral that is necessary for healthy bones. One cup of brown rice supplies you with 21% of your daily value.
  7. Eating brown rice can reduce your chances of developing metabolic syndrome a great predictor of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
  8. Eating brown rice ups your fibre intake. One cup supplies 14% of your daily fibre. Which also helps keep your blood sugar levels under control.
  9. In a large study out of the UK pre-menopausal women eating the most fibre (greater than 30 grams daily) more than halved their risk of developing breast cancer.
  10. 1 cup (250 mL) of brown rice is considered 2 servings of grains. According to Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating, children should be eating 3-6 servings, teens 6-7 servings and adults 6-8 servings of grain products per day.

You can buy rice at your local grocery store or bulk store. If buying in bulk – one pound (500 g) of uncooked rice equals approximately two cups uncooked or 6 cups cooked.

Because brown rice contains all parts of the grain – bran, endosperm and the oil-rich germ it can become rancid. Store brown rice in the fridge or freezer. Or store in an airtight container in your pantry for up to six months.

Rice comes in three sizes or grain lengths – short, medium and long.

Short grain produces a sticky rice, long produces a more separate rice and medium has a little of both qualities. There really aren’t any strict rules on which rice to choose it really is a personal choice.

I use short grain in rice pudding recipes, sushi, or any recipe where I want a stickier consistency when served. I like long grain for side dishes, stir-frys, soups and salads where I want the kernels to be more separate. And I use medium grain when I want sort of separate and slightly sticky.

There are many different brands of rice on the market so follow the directions on your package of rice.

Basic rules for cooking brown rice:

  • Use a heavy bottom pot that is big enough to hold the cooked rice. Brown rice triples in volume.
  • Add rice and water to the pot (salt if you are using it).
  • 1 cup (250 mL) brown rice and 2 ¼ (560 mL) cups cold fresh water will yield approx. 3 cups of cooked rice (750 mL)
  • Follow the basic rules of measuring by using the right equipment. Measure the rice in a dry measuring cup to level. Measure the water in a glass measuring cup.
  • Bring the rice and water to the boil. Stir once.
  • Cover with a tight fitting lid and reduce heat to simmer.
  • Never remove the lid and stir while the rice is cooking. This will lengthen the cooking time and make sticky gummy rice.
  • Cook till done – most brown rice will take anywhere from 45-50 minutes
  • Check for doneness. If the rice is still hard cook for 4 -5 minutes longer or until done.
  • Remove from heat when done. Remove lid and fluff rice with a fork or a rice paddle, cover and let sit for 10 minutes.  This will redistribute any liquid in the bottom of the pot and create a great cooked rice.

I cook up a pot of brown rice once a week and use the leftovers in stir fried rice, salads, soups, or reheat it for a hot complex carbohydrate that I can serve with dinner.


The Smith’s House Recipe for the Harried Mother

Makes – 5 cups (1.25 mL)

Serves – 4 – 1 ¼ cup (300 mL) servings

I make this when I’m tired, starving and slightly crabby; which according to my teenage son, is most days.

2 cups (500 mL) cooked long or short grain brown rice

2 cups (500 mL) fresh or frozen peas, thawed

¼ cup (50 mL) lite peanut sauce

½ cup (125 mL) unsalted peanuts

¼ cup (50 mL) chopped green onion

1.                  Put rice in a large microwave able container with a lid, sprinkle with 2 tbsp. Water, cover with lid and microwave @ 80% for 3 minutes or until hot. Stir in thawed peas and peanut sauce. Microwave on 60% for 2 minutes or until hot.

2.                  Divide rice equally between 4 plates. Sprinkle each with 2 Tbsp. (30 mL) peanuts. Sprinkle each with 1 Tbsp. (15 mL) green onion. Serve.

Each 1 ¼ cup (300 mL) serving contains:

280 Calories, 12 g Total Fat, 2 g Sat Fat, 0 g Trans Fat, 80 mg Sodium, 36 g Carbs, 6 g Fiber, 10 g Protein.

Where do I find lite peanut sauce?

It’s usually in the condiment aisle, but you can try the Asian or International aisle as well. Once you have found it, memorize its location, you will be back.

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