Wednesday, June 22, 2011

To Soak or Not to Soak

Perfect Brown Rice
I love ordering brown rice at a restaurant as it is always delicious. But when I cooked it at home it was chewy, or hard, or just not pleasant to eat. My 7 year old son (who loves rice like his mama) would always try it and never like it so I went straight back to white Jasmine rice. I knew brown rice was the healthier choice and I wasn't going to give up! As I continued on my journey to feeding my family healthier meals, I discovered information about soaking your rice. My first thought was...what a pain! Time consuming! And will it really taste better? Much to my surprise, it not only guaranteed perfect brown rice, it also turns out it is much healthier for you.

Many people are making the switch to brown rice as a healthier choice, but did you know brown rice has a coating called phytic acid which can prevent your body from absorbing certain minerals?  This is also true for quinoa, beans, nuts and soy. So what is one to do? It's quite simple...soak your grains. My son doesn't even ask for the other rice anymore!!

Simple Soaked Brown Rice
from The Nourishing Home

1 cup of organic brown rice
1 tbsp plain organic Kefir or yogurt (*see dairy-free option - I use Apple Cider Vinegar)
2 cups warm water
1/8 tsp of Celtic sea salt

Add above ingredients to a medium ceramic (or glass) mixing bowl (I use my Le Creuset pot and leave on the stove) and thoroughly combine. Cover the bowl and place it in a warm area of your kitchen for 12-24 hours. After soaking time is completed, drain mixture using a fine-mesh strainer and gently rinse. Place drained rice in medium saucepan and add approximately 1 ¾ cups water. Bring to a boil. Then, immediately cover and reduce heat until you achieve a gentle simmer. Cook approximately 25-40 minutes until rice has absorbed the liquid and reached the consistency you desire. Makes approximately four ½ cup servings.

*For dairy-free soaking, substitute whole milk Kefir with coconut milk kefir, or fresh-squeezed lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.

Tip#1: If you will be refrigerating or freezing your cooked rice for future meals, be sure to cook the rice al dente, or it may become mushy when reheated.

Tip#2: I have noticed that sometimes my soaked rice will absorb more water during the soaking process than at other times, so you may find it necessary to adjust the amount of water used during the cooking process. A good way to know, is to strain your rice over a bowl and then pour the soaking liquid into a two-cup measuring cup and see how much liquid is left. If there is 1 ¾ cups of liquid or more left over during the soaking process, then you would add 1 ¾ cups of fresh filtered water to your saucepan and cook the strained rice in that amount of water.

Time-saving Tip: Triple this recipe and refrigerate the leftovers for multiple dishes throughout the week. Below are several of my favorite recipes using soaked brown rice:

• Soaked Brown Rice Breakfast Porridge:

• Buttery-Herbed Brown Rice:

• Green Quiche with Brown Rice Crust:

Here are some other helpful resources:

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