Multigrain rice converts by accident

Multigrain rice converts by accident

It was not easy to convert my family to brown rice. At first, a little was added to the pot, then a bit more, until we were eating entirely brown rice.

Now, we would not change it for the world. We love its nuttiness and grainy texture; it is certainly more interesting than bland white rice.

In fact, we have gone one step further: We have started eating multigrain rice. And that does not refer to different kinds of rice in one pot, but different kinds of grains.

It happened by accident, actually.

Someone had given me spelt grains and they had been sitting in the larder for ages, for I only cook them occasionally.

I decided to tip the whole box of spelt grains into my rice bin - and no one noticed when I cooked them up.

I love the grains, especially for their nuttiness.

Then my leftover barley, also sitting on the shelf, went into the rice bin too, adding its fragrance to the pot. And just like that, we started to eat mixed grain rice.

And we are not the only ones.

The Koreans enjoy a multigrain rice called japgok-bap in their diet.

This includes all sorts of beans, split peas, oats, barley, sorghum, millet and more.

You can buy pre-mixed packets of this multigrain rice from Korean stores.

I like to mix my own.

I now add grains such as spelt and barley to long grain brown rice. Sometimes, I also put in black rice, buckwheat and quinoa.

I like to have at least three kinds of grains in the pot and, generally, in equal proportions.

You may ask, why should we do this?

Well, just as multigrain bread is healthier than white bread, so is multigrain rice healthier than plain white rice.

As far as possible, you need to use whole grains, which are high in fibre and slowly digested, so they do not dramatically raise blood sugar levels the way that white rice would.

Whole grains have also been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels, blood pressure and blood coagulation, and may reduce the risks of many types of cancer.

While whole grains are recommended, I did use pearl barley, which has had its outer husk and bran removed, simply because it calls for less cooking time. But it is still chewy and nutritious.

To do mixed grains successfully, you should combine grains with similar cooking times.

Those with similar cooking times are brown rice, pearl barley and millet; amaranth, quinoa and cracked wheat; or spelt, rye berries and wheat berries.

Just experiment to get the consistency you like.

For me, I like my rice chewy. To make it less chewy for others, I add a little more water to the pot while cooking this melange of grains.

Brown rice requires two cups of liquid for every cup of rice, and I merely add about half a cup more of liquid to the pot.

In this recipe, I fried the mixed grain rice with cooked chicken meat and shredded wakame seaweed.

But you can eat it as it is, or in any way you like - just like what you would do with white rice, but with the added bonus of feeling virtuous while eating it.

This article was first published on June 19, 2014.
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