Brown rice is, admittedly, an acquired taste, especially to those who are used to the flavor and texture of white rice. However, with its many nutritional benefits — brown rice is packed with vitamins B1, B3, and B6, manganese, phosphorus, iron, selenium, dietary fiber, and even essential fatty acids, which white rice lose much of in the process of milling and polishing — it’s definitely worth incorporating into your diet.
Here are a few ways you can make brown rice more exciting.
Brown Rice Milk
If you don’t like the nutty, grainy texture of brown rice, perhaps you’ll like it better in liquid form, which has a light creamy consistency. Try milked brown rice by Elmhurst, which is cold-milled to preserve the many health benefits of the whole grain. Apart from drinking it straight, you can also use brown rice milk for cooking and baking.
Dish and Dessert Toppers
Do you know how some people sprinkle chopped or ground nuts to their salads, pastas, and desserts? With the slightly nutty taste and texture of brown rice, it is the perfect alternative for this purpose. What’s even better is that brown rice doesn’t get less crunchy over time, compared with nuts. In fact, some salad recipes even recommend letting the flavors mingle for a few hours, even a full day, before eating to enjoy a better-tasting, full-flavored dish.
Brown rice is, in fact, a primary ingredient in most veggie burger recipes. You can either use other foods of similar texture, like oats and nuts, to create the patty, or combine brown rice with beans, roots, and other vegetables like beets, chickpeas, and cauliflowers. Depending on the recipe you find, you will either use cooked or uncooked brown rice for the patty.
Vegetarian Sushi and Maki
Traditional sushi and maki recipes calls for white, shiny, long-grain rice. However, vegetarian versions are more than perfect for brown rice. The trick is to achieve that perfect cooked consistency — make sure to rinse the rice with cold water and use about 1.25 to 1.5 cups of water per cup of rice, depending on the variety. For other ingredients, you can use almost any other fruit or vegetable that suits your taste, although avocados, mangoes, cucumbers, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, asparagus, and daikon radish are all good choices.
Fried Brown Rice
The flavor of brown rice lends itself well to the tastes of various ingredients used in making fried rice, such as garlic, ginger, and egg. For an interesting twist, you can also include bits of pineapple to your fried rice. The tangy sweetness and softness of the fruit are wonderful contrasts to the nutty flavor and slight crunchiness of brown rice.
Baked Brown Rice
Instead of cooking it the traditional way, i.e., boiling, why don’t you try baking brown rice the next time? Compared to boiling, baking allows whatever flavor you add to be absorbed better by each grain of rice. There’s a wide range of flavors that you can use to season brown rice, including soy sauce, butter, even tahini. Again, make sure to get the rice-to-water ratio to achieve that perfect, chewy-crunchy consistency.
To bake brown rice, first boil the water together with the flavorings you want; once the mixture boils, pour it over the uncooked rice and stir, then cover the baking dish (glass works best) with aluminum foil. Slide the dish on the middle rack of the oven, preheated to 375 degrees F, and bake it for at least an hour.
Some of the more nutritious food options can be unappealing, whether it’s because of the taste, texture, smell, or all of the above. However, with a few simple twists and a little creativity, you can make anything — yes, including brown rice — much more palatable and enjoyable to prepare and eat.