How many times have we thought rice is a blessing? We use it for holy purposes but we also can pressure up a quick pulao or khichdi when hunger pangs are drumming away! Rice has come to my rescue at many occasions and I am totally happy with kadhi chawal or rajma chawal as a main meal.
But I changed a few things some years back. I switched to brown. Now that is something most of you are doing so easily now, thanks to the new awareness about whole food, thanks to the easy availability and thanks to all those wonderful recipes. But when I started cooking it at home, there was big resistance especially from my little kids. I could not blame them because I too found the rice looking different, tasting different.
Brown rice is the least processed form of rice. Kernels of rice from which only the hull has been removed. The light brown colour is caused by the presence of bran layers, which are rich in minerals and vitamins. Cooked brown rice has a slightly chewy texture and a nut-like flavour.
That’s when another twist happened. My in laws came to stay. So here we are at the table and here they are expecting lovely white rice to round off the meal and Alyona brings in a bowl of not so white rice! They did eat it up because I spoke up and defined the healthier possibilities in brown rice but could see the lack of conviction on the faces of my dining companions. So the chef had to get to work again and for the evening meal Alyona and I made them a nice soft khichdi with brown rice and dal. Added a bit of haldi and salt and they loved it! So when the brown rice non-lovers come over, make khichdi!
But things are certainly on track now. The kids expect nothing but brown rice on the table and there is no fuss. And brown rice makes some lovely oil free pulaos and biryanis too…try some boiled grains in a chicken soup to make it heartier, or even try a kheer with brown rice, you cannot go wrong. I have also made pohe using the flattened rice made from brown rice.
So be it basmati, parboiled, glutinous, long grain Patna, pudding, red wild rice, risotto, sushi, Jasmine, or brown – getting to know and use all types of rice has enough material for an encyclopedia.
Brown versus white rice
Brown rice takes longer to cook than regular white rice (about forty five minutes versus fifteen to twenty minutes) because of the structure of the brown rice grain. Brown rice has far more nutrients as vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folacin, potassium, magnesium, iron and over dozen other nutrients. Added to that, the dietary fibre contained in white rice is around a quarter of brown rice. Brown rice may help reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers, and may even contribute towards maintaining a healthy weight.
Health points in rice
The Vitamin B is important. Rice gruel is considered easy food for the stomach especially for the ailing. Compared to wheat, rice has lower gluten content so more easily digestible.
Flour, crispies, noodles, paper, flakes….rice comes in many forms. Around the world the snack industry is doing wonders. Look at our bhel puri…puffed rice is the basic ingredient. And crispies make breakfast cereal. Glazed with gur, puffed rice becomes a chikki or enters bars of chocolates.
Sushi with sticky rice is something I am going to be working on in my kitchen…rice has always presented challenges and I simply love overcoming them!
As for now some simple rice recipes to get you going!