Yay, this week my Power Foods blog group is looking at Brown Rice. Several years ago I made changes to my diet for health reasons. I had rheumatoid arthritis and no longer wanted to take strong medicines. I stopped eating white sugar and switched to occasional natural sugars, cut way back on dairy by 90%, reduced meat intake, began eating more vegetables, but one of the best changes was to switch entirely to whole grain bread and pasta, and whole grain rice. Brown rice is a super food and I’m so glad the authors of Power Foods: 150 delicious recipes with the 38 healthiest ingredients included it in their book! I credit much of my health improvement whole grain brown rice.
Brown Rice takes longer to cook than white rice, but the flavor and the benefits that you get from it make it well worth the wait. Brown rice has 3.5 times the fiber as white rice, it’s loaded with B vitamins, and it’s very high in manganese. It’s also a good source of magnesium, selenium, tryptophan, and the antioxidant vitamin E. When you eat brown rice, you’re likely to eat less too, because you fill up faster and it keeps you feeling satisfied longer. It is also good for lowering cholesterol, lowering risk for type 2 diabetes, and protecting against heart disease. Studies show that women who eat whole wheat bread and brown rice weigh less than women who eat white bread and rice, and they are less likely to gain weight. Eating brown rice is a great healthy habit to get into.
** I have slightly adapted Mark Bittman’s recipe for coconut and brown rice pudding from “The Food Matters Cookbook.” You will see the changes in italics. Find the recipe with more optional additions on his website. Bitttman cooks the rice 2-1/2 to 3 hours, which makes a dense pudding. As I prefer a creamier pudding, next time I make it I would only bake it 1-1/2 hours.
Makes: 4 servings Prep Time: 4 minutes Baking Time: About 2 1⁄2 hours, largely unattended
To make a really luscious brown rice pudding you have to break the grains up a bit in the food processor so they’ll release their thickening starches; it works. I use coconut milk here, but you can substitute cow’s milk for some or all of the liquid. If you want a thicker pudding, veer toward the high end of the rice quantities listed below.
1⁄3 to 1⁄2 cup long-grain brown rice (I used 1/3 cup and still found the pudding thick)
Two 14-ounce cans coconut milk
1⁄2 brown sugar (I used coconut palm sugar)
Pinch of salt
A cinnamon stick, a few cardamom pods, a split vanilla bean, a pinch of saffron, or other flavoring, optional
1. Heat the oven to 300°F. Put the rice in a food processor and pulse a few times to break the grains up a bit and scratch their hulls; don’t overdo it, or you’ll pulverize them.
2. Put all the ingredients in a 2-quart ovenproof pot or Dutch oven. Stir a couple of times and put the pan in the oven, uncovered. (I also added 1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut.) Cook for 45 minutes, and then stir. Cook for 45 minutes more, and stir again. At this point the milk will have darkened a bit and should be bubbling, and the rice will have begun to swell.
3. Cook for 30 minutes more. The milk will be even darker, and the pudding will start to look more like rice than milk. It’s almost done. Return the mixture to the oven and check every 10 minutes, stirring gently each time you check.
4. It might (but probably won’t) take as long as 30 minutes more for the pudding to be ready. Just trust your instincts and remove the pudding from the oven when it is still soupy; it will thicken a lot as it cools. (If you overcook the pudding, it will become fairly hard though still quite good to eat.) Remove the whole spices if you used them. Serve the pudding warm, at room temperature, or cold, alone or with your favorite topping. (I topped it with fresh chopped banana, and cinnamon.)
If you are a blogger and would like to take part in our group blogging about Power Foods: 150 Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients, (from the editors at Martha Stewart’s Living Magazine) we’d love to have your company. Contact: Mireya(at)myhealthyeatinghabits.com for details.
Check out what these other bloggers have cooked up! Alyce – More Time at the Table, Ansh – Spice Roots, Casey –SweetSav Jeanette – Jeanette’s Healthy Living, Martha – Simple-Nourished-Living, Minnie – The Lady 8 Home, Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits