Grains 101

Dec 16 2011

Grains such as brown rice, barely, quinoa and bulgar are not only  widely available, cost effective food choices but healthy and nutritious ones as well. The lack of knowledge of how to properly prepare them, however, has caused many to (mistakenly) believe that it is a difficult task. The truth is it couldn’t be any simpler!  Here are instructions on how to cook a few of the healthiest grains. Keep in mind you can always replace the water with stock or broth to add more flavor.

Barley

Liquid to grain ratio:
1 part barley
3 parts water (broth)

Instructions:
Soak overnight in water (optional)
Bring liquid to a boil
Add water to boiling water and stir
Cover and reduce heat to low until all the liquid is absorbed

Cooking time:
15 minutes for presoaked barley
30-40 minutes otherwise

Tip: Barley makes a delicious side dish which can replace rice for a more exciting dinning experience!

Brown rice

Liquid to grain ratio:
1 part brown rice
2.5 parts water (broth)

Instructions:
Bring liquid and rice to a boil in a covered pot
Once boiled, turn the heat to low and let simmer (still covered) until all the liquid is absorbed

Cooking time: 30-40 minutes

Tip: Do not stir the rice! This will release an excess of starch which will make your rice mushy.

Bulgar

Liquid to grain ratio:
1 part bulgar
2 parts water (broth)

Instructions:
Bring liquid to a boil
Add bulgar to boiling water
Reduce heat to low and let simmer until all the liquid is absorbed

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Tips: Bulgar cook pretty quickly so don’t leave it unattended or you may be minus a pot!

Millet

Liquid to grain ratio:
1 part millet
2 part water (broth)

Instructions:
Heat liquid
Separately, heat one tablespoon of oil (olive, coconut…) in a heavy-bottom skillet (at medium heat)
Add millet  to skillet
Constantly stir grains or shake pan until they begin to change color
Add hot liquid to  and one tablespoon of salt (per cup of grain) to skilled
Increase heat and bring to a boil while stirring
Cover and reduce heat to low
Simmer until all the liquid is absorbed (about 20 minutes)
Remove from heat and let t stand (covered) for 5 minutes
Fluff with a fork before serving

Cooking time:  30-40 minutes

Fun Fact: Millet is one of the least allergenic and most easily digestible grains available! 

Quinoa

Ratio:
1 part quinoa
1.5 parts water

Instructions:
Soak quinoa in water for at least 15 minutes (no longer than 2 hours)
Throughly rinse quinoa in cold water
Bring quinoa and water to a boil
Cover pot and reduce heat
Let simmer until germ separates from seed (looks like tiny ‘curls’ are coming out)
Take off heat and let it stand for 3 minutes

cooking time: 12-15 minutes

Tips: Quinoa that has not been soaked and rinsed has a waxy bitter coating called saponin.

Fun fact: Quinoa is actually a seed, not a grain!

*Remember to ALWAYS CLEAN your grains.

Now that you now know the secrets to cooking these delicious and nutritious grains, you can incorpate them into your holiday meal! Happy eating :)


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