brown rice 101
It's the time of year when, even if it was not a resolution, we are thinking about eating more healthy, and less heavy meals. I think that the essential part of that healthy meal is brown rice! in our house we embrace brown rice and use it in most of our cooking. but I know that a lot of people don't like to make brown rice because 1) you have to wash the rice and 2) the long cooking time....my sister also soaks her brown rice, a step that I never seem to plan into the cooking time! but it is better and more digestible that way. you will see that it is a good idea to wash brown rice because when you do you will see all of the dust that is washed off in the process, so just do it!...take your cup of rice and put it in a bowl of cold water and swish around with your hand and you will see the dust wash out, then just pour off the water. repeat this process three times and you are ready to go! soon you will become a pro at this and you won't mind the process at all, in fact it's kind of meditation time for me.
the next step gets easier, put your rice in a good size pot and add double the amount of water (1 cup rice/2 cups water), then throw in a small piece of kombu and 1 umeboshi plum (sometimes I put the shiso leaves that the plums are pickled in for added flavor, it's delicious!). cover your pot and put on a low flame (if you have a flame tamer...even better!) and put on your timer for 45 mins. check at 40 minutes and your rice might be ready and you can let it sit for a about 5-10 minutes before serving. whola! delicious brown rice...easy! at first you might want to take out the remains of kombu and umeboshi when you are finished cooking, but as you get more used to it you should just take out the umeboshi plum pit and then stir it all in with the rice (both the kombu and the umeboshi).
the kombu adds wonderful minerals to your brown rice and calcium, and also helps you to digest it better and the umeboshi plum works instead of salt (as well as it's powerful strengthening and alkalinizing properties). this all adds up to more healthy, and delicious, brown rice.
I like to cook a little more than we actually need for dinner so that we have some on hand for snacking, and I like to make the kids a kind of 'fried rice' by sautéing it with vegetables the next day. I cut up just about any kind of vegetables (and always some broccoli) and chop it up in small bits so they don't really notice the amount of veggies that they are really getting and there you go (you can drizzle some toasted seasame oil and gomasio on top as a garnish, I will teach you to make gomasio in my next blog) ...and they love it! you can also add some miso broth and it becomes very yummy it's really a favorite in our house (and it's also good when your refrigerator is bare!).
another leftover for brown rice, this one is maybe more for yourself than your kids, but I like to make a really strong miso (just with the water and paste) and then add some brown rice so it's like brown rice soup...it's a simple and cleansing meal for you and I always feel more energized by it!
whatever you do with brown rice you always know you are getting a strengthening and fortifying meal. so good luck and get on with it and enjoy your brown rice!
you can buy terrific organic brown rice and all the above ingredients (umeboshi and kombu) at the kushi store here but you can also find everything at your local co-op or whole foods.