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It can be described as partly milled or unmilled rice which belongs to the Indica (long grain) category. When only the outermost layer of a grain of rice (husk) is removed, brown rice is produced.Once only valued as food for the poor, this traditionally denigrated kind of rice is more expensive than white rice due to relatively low supply and difficulty of storage. Today brown rice is a staple for health conscious who believe food should be consumed in its most natural state.
Brown rice is a natural grain, unbleached and thus retains more nutrients. It has a mild nutty flavour and doesn't have a long shelf life. However, consumption of brown rice is low, despite its nutritional value, because it takes a longer time to cook then white rice and many people do not care for the taste and texture. Unfortunately, once the husk is removed from rice, the bran starts going rancid and this contributes to the bitter taste of brown rice. But, Brown rice must be introduced in the diet because it is important for the health.
Soaked and cooked brown rice
After soaking when the rice needs to be cooked, the soaking water is discarded and 2 ½ to 3 times the amount of water by volume of dry brown rice is added to the rice and it can be cooked in a pressure cooker or in a pan. Brown Rice can also be cooked by adding in 5-6 times the water in a pan and once the rice is cooked, drain all the excess starch water and cool in a large plate, where the same is called for in the recipe. Brown rice takes longer to cook than other rice. The cooking time can be 35-45 minutes.
How to select
Soaked brown rice
To soften the rice grains a little and to reduce the cooking time, brown rice should be soaked prior to cooking. Rice should be immersed in room temperature water and rinsed in water 2-3 times till the water becomes clear. Then the rice should be soaked in at least 2-3 the amount of water for 1-2 hours. Wash and soak the rice in enough water and keep for 1 to 2 hours. Drain the water and use as required.
Purchase from good quality brands and look for proper sealed packaging. Ensure that there is no off (rancid) odour and it is free from any kind of grime, dirt, stones etc. It is available in long grain, medium grain and short grain varieties. Thus, choose as required. Culinary Uses
· Brown rice may be used instead of white rice in many recipes. It tastes especially good in salads, stuffing, stews and vegetarian dishes.
· Brown rice takes longer to cook than regular white rice (about 45 minutes vs. 15 or 20 minutes). However, one can cook the rice in advance and use in a wide range of recipes. Use it as a variation to white rice to make puddings of your choice.
· Use in place of bulgur wheat to make delicious tabbouleh.
· Combine with salad greens, tomatoes, olives and a tart vinaigrette dressing to make refreshing salads that are definitely a boon for weight watchers.
· Use brown rice instead of arborio rice to make risotto's of your choice.
· Submerge in the delight of casseroles made with a combination of brown rice, cheese and aromatic herbs of your choice.
· Cooked brown rice can be combined with flour, buttermilk and herbs to make crisp and nutritious pancakes.
· Use it any recipe that uses white rice. However, remember that the taste and texture will vary along with the cooking time involved. However, it proves to be a nutritious boon over white rice any day.How to store
It is best stored for up to 6 months under normal conditions. Freezing brown rice and using as required is a better option since brown rice gets rancid faster. Store in air- tight containers in a cool dry place away from moisture and humidity.Health benefits
· Brown rice contains magnesium; one cup of cooked long grain brown rice contains 84 mg of magnesium while one cup of white rice contains 19 mg. Thus, it is a better source than white rice. Manganese is a major source of energy production.
· The protein present in brown rice has one of the most complete essential amino acids.
· The rice bran layer of brown rice contains digestible fibre which is not found in milled rice. Thus it is more easily digestible than white rice and also said to be less constipating.
· The oil content of the rice bran is a better source of important nutrients, including vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B1, B3, B6, folacin, potassium, magnesium and iron.
· Research says that women who eat whole grains like brown rice tend not to add weight.
· Brown rice contains selenium which minimizes colon cancer risk and also provides significant cardiovascular benefits for post-menopausal women.
· It's a good source of fibre that reduces high cholesterol levels and prevents atherosclerosis and breast cancer.
· Study shows that eating foods high in insoluble fiber, such as brown rice, can help women avoid gallstones.
· It may also reduce the risk of diabetes and is definitely a much healthier option for them.