Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Another grain worth soaking

Brown rice is better for you than white rice. I accept that. My family accepts that. The difficulty has always been, in at least a few recipes, we continued to prefer the light fluffiness of white rice. It was similar to the problem we had when switching to breads made only with fresh ground wheat. It worked for most applications but, in the case of the bread, we had to tweak a few recipes before we had sliced bread we enjoyed for sandwiches such as peanut butter and jelly. I just couldn't seem to cook brown rice where the grains would separate and fluff as white rice did. So I kept a box of white rice at the back of the pantry shelf, just in case.

Well, no more. A couple of years ago I picked up a copy of Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions and read it from cover to cover. Previously I'd read good things about the book from a couple of folks on Fractured Frugal Friends, recommendations on various Weston A. Price Foundation-related sites, etc. Even one of my favorite cookbook authors, Sue Gregg, references the book on her site and in her more-recent books.

Fallon's method for preparing brown rice gives me fluffier rice with no real added work and, in most cases, less actual cooking time than for regular brown rice. The trick is the rice is soaked before cooking. I can cook it for use as plain rice or I've found I can add it to many of my recipes by subbing soaked rice for the plain rice and using the soaking liquid as the water the recipe cites. If the recipe calls for some type of broth instead of water, I include a seasoning packet (storebought or homemade) along with the liquid left after soaking. Here's the recipe:

Brown Rice

2 cups brown rice (long- or short-grain)
4 cups water
4 tablespoons yogurt, whey, kefir, buttermilk, lemon juice OR vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 tablespoons butter

Combine water and yogurt (or one of the other subs listed) in a pan and stir to mix. Add rice and leave out on the counter in a warm kitchen for at least 7 hours. Place pan over heat and bring to a boil. Skim, if necessary, and turn heat down to lowest setting. Stir in salt and butter and cover with a tight lid. Without removing lid, cook for about 45 minutes.

I have successfully tripled this recipe, using a large dutch oven, and frozen the extra rice. If I thaw it overnight in the fridge it works well for fried rice or when I want rice with a meal but don't want to prepare it from scratch.

If you have a rice cooker with a delay timer, you can prepare this rice in it. I presently don't have a rice cooker but put this in to soak in the morning when we were visiting friends with one and we had beautiful brown rice at supper.

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays


Stephanie said...

I have tried soaking off and on and I have always loved the taste of anything soaked. I am just not good with sticking to it, or remembering to do it early enough. Thanks for inpsiring me and for the great links!

Amy @ Finer Things said...

I've never even thought to soak my rice! Thanks for the suggestion... and, I must get that book...