Whole Grains Series: Brown RIce

In the post where I discussed MyPlate and some basic tips for eating healthy, I briefly mentioned that you should consume more whole grains and ditch refined.   Although this may seem like no biggie, for those who’re extremely attached to white bread, white rice, baked goods, etc, this is no easy task.  Take Tim for instance.  He wanted to have nothing to do with whole wheat bread, brown rice, and so on, but now he chooses them even without me nagging at him.  Well, except for one..when it comes to rice, he likes it white as snow.  Personally, I appreciate and embrace the nutty, hearty flavor of whole grains.

There are so many varieties of whole grains…barley, wheat berry, buckwheat, millet, oats, brown rice, spelt, farro, rye, sorghum…to name a few.

While shopping at Homegoods (gotta love that place!), I came across this cookbook.

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What a glorious find!  As the authors’ mission is to make whole grains the heart of  a recipe’s flavors, it challenges you to think beyond oats.  Not only do the recipes appeal to me and the pictures make me salivate, I love the informative, in-depth look at each grain – What’s the history? Flavor? Presoak or not? Preferred cooking method?…

I’m so inspired by this book that I decided it would be great to showcase each of the whole grains and include a easy, healthful recipe to go along with it.

To kick things off, I want to talk about brown rice.  Why?  As a Korean, rice is ubiquitous.  Growing up, I don’t ever recall a day without rice in the house.  Even if there was nothing to eat, the pot in the rice maker was never lonely.

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Perfect rice every time!

White rice was all that I knew for most of my life.  However, as we’re becoming more health-conscious and aware of the benefits of whole grains, white rice is no longer as common in homes and restaurants.  In fact, at our house, the rice is getting “scarier” and darker as Tim would say.

Whole-grain rice is far superior to the white rice, not only in terms of nutrition but also in taste.  It’s distinctively bold, nutty and has a chewy texture.  While rice is usually served as a side dish along with kimchi, various side dishes, and soup, it should take center stage more often.

Right now, I want to share with you a recipe that’s super easy to prepare and takes no time at all.  This is a versatile recipe that can be adjusted according to your taste.  Throw in any other vegetables that you like (I think broccoli would be an excellent choice), different protein sources, etc.

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Brown Rice Kung Pao Chicken Salad

adapted from Grain Mains

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups water *
  • 1 cup long-grain brown rice, such as brown basmati or jasmine *
  • Mushrooms of your choice
  • 1 Tbs sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt & pepper
  • 2 tsp EVOO
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 med yellow onion, sliced thinnly
  • 1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, chopped
  • 1 1/2- 2 Tbs low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • 3 Tbs green onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp honey

* If you have a rice maker (which I highly recommend), use 3 cups cooked rice.

Directions:

  1. Combine water and rice in med sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 40 min, or until rice is tender and the water has been absorbed.  Set aside, covered, to steam for 10 min.
  2. Meanwhile, coat a large nonstick skillet with 2 tsp EVOO and heat grill pan over medium heat.  Rub the sesame oil and s+p into the chicken breasts.  Chop them into bite-sized pieces for quick cooking.  Cook in the pan until well browned.  Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Sauté sliced onions and mushrooms in the same pan to pick up all the brown bits left behind, approx 5 min or until onions are translucent and slightly caramelized and the mushrooms are softened.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, rice vinegar, honey, green onion, and peanuts.
  5. Dump the cooked rice along with all the ingredients into a bowl.  Mix until well incorporated.  Serve.

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So there you have it – quick, delicious, and nutritious.

My challenge to you – consciously eat more whole grains, and not just as an after thought.  Stay tuned for more in my “whole grains series.” 😉

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20 Responses to Whole Grains Series: Brown RIce

  1. I am excited for the whole grain series I can not wait to see what you come up with… I love Kung Po chicken never thought to pair it with brown rice… 🙂

  2. What a great idea for a series because until last year or so, I was so unware of other whole grains besides just brown rice and oats. I can’t wait for you to share other recipe. I grew up with white rice and even still – not going to lie when I eat my traditional food, I need to have white rice but at other times, I love the nuttier flavor of brown rice and its pretty wholesome compared to white variety 🙂

    • Min says:

      Yes, I agree. There are some traditional Korean dishes that you just HAVE to eat with white rice. Tim would say all of them but I emphasize some hehe.

  3. Melanie says:

    This looks so yummy! Thanks for sharing, I’m going to try it! 😉

  4. I actually prefer the taste of brown over white- so much heartier! I’ve been eating a lot over the past days especially in stir fries- I try to cook it in batches so I always have some on hand…otherwise I always use the issue of time as a reason not to eat it ha! Look forward to reading about other grains!

  5. This looks delicious Min! Btw, I’ve nominated you for the Addictive Blog Award! Congrats!!
    http://dishbydish.net/2013/02/06/addictive-blog-award-thank-you/

  6. Amy Tong says:

    This is a gorgeous brown rice salad. I can eat this everyday! 🙂 Sounds like a wonderful book to have. I’m going to go check that out.

  7. I adore brown rice but Mr Bite is just like Tim – he doesn’t quite feel the same way! Given he doesn’t like nuts I can kind of understand, but I still hope he’ll come around eventually 😛 This is a gorgeous salad!

  8. I love brown rice! this recipe looks like a great way to incorporate it!

  9. Ellie says:

    ahhhh I’m fortunate enough that Greg actually started eating brown rice on his own! haha. He would always say, white rice is okay but it has like–no nutritional value. And this is coming from a man who is still scared of some foods. But he’s getting better! And I’m glad to see that Tim is too, lol. I do have a reservation about brown rice though. I once read an article that stated that brown rice IS in fact healthier than white, but because of the way it’s processed at first a lot of arsenic goes into it. (?) That was kind of scary to read, so I’ve been trying to wash brown rice extra well whenever I cook it. Have you heard of that before Min Unnie?

    • Min says:

      Hi, Ellie ssi! Yes yes, you are quite fortunate ;). I’m just glad that Tim doesn’t refuse to eat whatever I put in front of him hehe. And yes, I’ve def heard about arsenic in brown rice. The news came out not too long ago, I believe. From what I’ve learned, EPA regulates arsenic in water and a few servings/week contains well below the amount tolerated. However, I get a bit paranoid and what I like to do is to vary my grains so that I’m not eating rice all the time. Hope this helps 😉

  10. You’ve just inspired me to make my kung pao chicken nasi goreng/ fried rice…..
    btw i admre your plating skill..

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