Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Day 9: Brown Rice

I'm already grasping at straws (or grains, as the case may be). But brown rice is an approved food, in moderation, so it's a valid entry.

There's not much to say on brown rice. Or rather not a ton that's interesting.

"brown rice" gets 2,470,000 hits on Google. Lots of recipes and lots of debate brown vs. white rice. (brown is healthier, but can be more fatty...) If you switch to images, the pictures are just as prolific.

My nothing can really come close to the reach and dissemination of brown rice and rice, in general, through my diet these past few years. Rice is my wheat. Brown rice is a side dish, a main dish, and a flour. It is a cereal, a bread, and Rice milk replaces dairy and soy for me. Rice pasta is the cheapest gluten-free pasta option I've found and if you use the right brand, it only falls apart a little.

Six years ago, I'm not sure I had ever made brown rice. If I had, it was because I picked up instant brown instead of instant white in the store. With the Celiac diagnosis in 2004, everything shifted and now I use brown rice and brown rice-based ingredients in everything!

I made this recipe below before lentils were scratched from my list, but it's so wonderful I wanted to share.

I adapted it from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone; it's a recipe for mujadarrah.

Lentils & Rice with Fried Onions
6 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, halved, sliced moderately thin
1 and 1/4 cups of lentils (brown or green - I used brown)
3/4 cup long-grain brown rice
Salt & pepper
  • Heat the oil & add the cut up onion.
  • The recipe says to cook the onion until rich, dark brown. We tried that; it didn't work so well for us. It made the onions very harsh in the mouth. Instead the second time, we just brown them slightly, about 5 minutes. MUCH better!
  • While you are futzing with the onion, stick the lentils in a pot with 1 quart water and salt to taste (~1/2 tsp.). Bring to boil, simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Add rice , pepper, and any additional water needed to cover the lentil & rice combo.
  • Add lid and cook over low heat until rice is done. The recipe says about 15 minutes. It took us about 25 with brown rice.
  • Turn off heat and stir in the carmelized, not blackened onions. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

P.S. This makes a fabulous potluck dish since:
  • legume allergies are not very common,
  • it's vegetarian and filling unlike a plate of lettuce,
  • can be a main course or a side dish, and
  • it takes so few ingredients that you can often whip it up in under an hour from stuff you already have around (if you have a basket of onions like we do)

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