Hello all. My husband and I are on a crusade. Against our fat. Bleurghhh.
When we got married we were a pair of skinny minnies. Married life and two kids later, we now carry 25kg of extra fat between us. I am, of course, the major shareholder.
We know that we are the way we are because of our unhealthy eating habits. We love white rice, and lots of it. He has an unhealthy relationship with savoury snacks and Coke while I love me the occasional (or two) dessert. So now we are trying to get healthy by eating healthy. We scoured the health food/organic section of our local grocery store and we came across quinoa.
According to BBC Good Food, quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is..
“Tiny, bead-shaped, with a slightly bitter flavour and firm texture, quinoa may not be a household name just yet, but it is set for a starry future – as far as grains go. The Incas have known it all along, for thousands of years regarding it as the ‘mother grain’ as they grew it high up in the Andes.”
“Unlike wheat or rice, quinoa is a complete protein – containing all eight of the essential amino acids. It has been recognised by the United Nations as a supercrop for its health benefits: packed with dietary fibre, phosphorus, magnesium and iron. It is also gluten-free and easy to digest. The facts suggest it is close to a perfect ingredient as you can get.”
It’s easy to cook quinoa right and easier to get it wrong. And man did I get it wrong during my first attempt. Mushy quinoa is not appealing at all. I kid you not. When I did get it right, we found that it was quite tasty especially if you drop two cili padi in the pot when it’s cooking. Even my husband enjoyed it. Unfortunately though, we couldn’t make it a staple in our household due to the fact that in Malaysia quinoa is sold for a small fortune. I have huge issues with buying a single product that could feed an entire family a full meal. So, no, not an everyday kinda thing.
We looked on and decided to try the next best thing – brown rice. How could any food with ‘brown’ in its name be anything but healthy, right? Oh, plus at RM5+ it was so very much cheaper than quinoa which automatically spelled win in my books.
According to Mr. Wiki. brown rice is..
“Brown rice (or “hulled” or “unmilled” rice) is whole grain rice. It has a mild, nutty flavor, and is chewier and more nutritious than white rice, but goes rancid more quickly because the bran and germ – which are removed to make white rice – contain fats that can spoil. Any rice, including long-grain, short-grain, or glutinous rice, may be eaten as brown rice.”
We bought our small pack of brown rice and that first night it just sat on our kitchen counter untouched. It was so.. raw looking.. it felt rough too when I poked at the plastic. It even smelled raw through the packing. FYI, I love to smell uncooked white jasmine rice. Sometimes I’ll just run my fingers in the rice container then grab a handful and breathe in that yummy aroma.. Mmmm. But that’s white rice. Brown rice just smelled like dirt to me. And it screamed “tasteless, bland food this way!”. I ignored the screaming by ignoring the pack. For one week straight.
And then I felt fat again after bingeing on Marks & Spencer’s chocolates.
The next day I decided to cook it. I followed the instructions on the package which said, “Cook 1 cup of rice with 1 1/2 cups of water”. I wanted to cook a big batch and freeze them so I cooked (in my rice cooker) 3 cups of rice and 4 1/2 cups water as per the instructions. Fail. The rice tasted uncooked. Fearing my kids would get a tummy ache, I added another cup and a half of water and recooked it. When it was done it was much, much better. Fluffier and nuttier and actually really delicious. Of course I added in other yummy ingredients to make the unknown edible.
So here’s my simple recipe if you are wondering. Makes about 6 cups of cooked rice (give or take).
BK’s brown rice
3 cups raw brown rice
6 cups water
6 small shallots minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano – don’t use too much because it creates a very bitter taste
1 Maggi Beef Cube
Put them all in a rice cooker and that’s it! Serve with fresh veggies and the protein of your choice. Enjoy being healthy!