Here are a few recipes of dishes made using the nutritious brown rice

In India, we love our rice. And the health-conscious among us are considering an alternative — brown rice — that is nutritious. Brown rice is a natural grain, unbleached and thus retains more nutrients. Brown rice, unlike white rice, has a bran coating. Light tan in colour, brown rice has a nuttier flavour and chewier texture than white rice.

Because of the bran coating, more water and longer time are needed to cook brown rice. Brown rice should be soaked in water for one or two hours prior to cooking. The water should be discarded, and fresh water, two-and-a-half to three times the volume of dry brown rice, should be added to the rice. It can be cooked in a pressure cooker or a pan. Brown rice may be used instead of white rice in many recipes. Since it takes a longer time to cook, one can cook the rice in advance and use it in a variety of recipes.

It can be used as a variation to white rice to make pulao, pongal, desserts and pudding. Cooked rice can be combined with vegetables, chicken, nuts, herbs and spices and greens, and spruced up with varied toppings. Replace white rice with brown rice while making idlis, dosas, and uthappams.

Here are a few recipes of easy-to-prepare brown rice dishes.

Palak and Paneer Pulao

Ingredients

Brown rice (soaked and drained): 1 cup

Onion, finely chopped: 1 large

Cardamom: 4 small

Cinnamon: A half-inch piece

Bay leaf: 1

Cloves: 2

Fresh spinach puree: 25 gm

Turmeric powder: Half tsp

Paneer cubes: Half cup

Oil: For cooking

Salt: To taste

Method

Heat a little oil in a pressure cooker. When it is hot, add whole spices, stirring continuously till the spices sizzle. Sauté the onion till it is soft. Add spinach puree and stir well. Add the rice and fry for two or three minutes. To this, add two-and-a-half cups of hot water, salt and turmeric powder, and pressure cook for three or four whistles. Allow the steam to escape before opening the lid. Keep aside. Sauté the paneer in a small quantity of oil, and mix in the pulao. Allow the rice to sit in for 10 minutes and serve.

Chakarai Pongal

Ingredients

Brown rice: 1 cup

Moong dal: Quarter cup

Milk: One-and-a-quarter cup

Cardamom powder: 1 tsp

Nutmeg powder: Quarter tsp

Cashew nuts, chopped: 1 tbsp

Raisins: 1 tbsp

Jaggery, grated: 2 cups

Coconut, freshly grated: 2 tsp

Ghee: For cooking

Method

Heat a non-stick pan; add the dal and dry roast on medium flame, stirring continuously. Keep aside. Clean and wash the rice. Heat a small quantity of ghee in a pressure cooker and add rice, dal, milk and two-and-a-half cups of water. Mix well and pressure cook for four or five whistles or till rice and dal become soft. Allow steam to escape before opening the lid. Add jaggery, nutmeg and cardamom powder and cook on low flame till jaggery dissolves and mixes with the rice. Mix in grated coconut. Garnish with nuts and raisins. Serve hot.

Sprouts Pulao

Ingredients

Mixed sprouts (par-boiled): 1 cup

Brown rice, cooked: 2 cups

Cumin seeds: 1 tsp

Onions, finely chopped: Half cup

Tomatoes, finely chopped: Quarter cup

Ginger-garlic paste: One-and-a-half tsp

Turmeric powder: Quarter tsp

Chilli powder: Half tsp

Pulao masala powder: 1 tsp

Coriander leaves, chopped: A handful

Oil: For cooking

Salt: To taste

Method

Heat oil in a non-stick pan and add the cumin seeds. When the seeds splutter, add the onions and sauté on medium flame till the onions are soft and translucent. Add the ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, chilli powder, tomatoes and a little water, and cook on medium flame for two to three minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the pulao masala powder, salt, sprouts and mix well. Cook for two to three minutes, stirring continuously. Add the brown rice, mix well and cook on medium flame for a few minutes, stirring continuously. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot.