Whether it is a shaadi invitation or a kitty party, boss coming home for dinner or you packing a nutritious meal for your school going children, pulao is a must item on the menu.
Since the pulao is made of long grain white rice, it is a matter of prestige in India to serve this dish. Garnish it with peas, sliced carrots, and capsicum during cooking and the taste buds of your guests tingle with delight.
But what is the price you pay for this indulgence? Adding calories to your meals and inches to your waistline! So does this mean you should give up on white rice? It’s difficult to do that, but there is an excellent alternative, which is far more nutritious and healthy.
You guessed right: Brown rice! As per a study conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, brown rice is the topmost choice in terms of nutritional and other inherent health benefits. The best part about brown rice is that it induces weight loss because of its high fiber content. It takes a small helping of brown rice to make you feel fuller. That is why it satisfies your appetite more when consumed in less quantities.
Brown rice also lowers the risk of Type 2 diabetes and prevents gallstones, and its fiber content protects you against breast cancer.
Difference between Brown Rice and White Rice
If you thought it’s only a color difference, you are mistaken. A grain of rice has many layers. When the outermost layer, the hull, is removed, what emerges is the brown rice. At this stage, the nutritional value of the rice is still preserved.
With further processing, these nutrients are lost. White rice is produced with the complete milling and polishing of brown rice. This ends up destroying half of the nutrient value by stripping 67% of vitamin B3, 80% of vitamin B1, 90% of vitamin B6, half of the manganese and phosphorus, 60% of the iron, and all of the dietary fiber and essential fatty acids. Would the health-conscious you still go to satisfy your taste buds at the cost of health?
Nutritional Benefits of Brown Rice
When compared to white rice, the health benefits offered by brown rice make it the indisputable champion for weight loss!
|Brown Rice||White Rice|
|Amount per||100 gms||100 gms|
|% Daily Value||% Daily Value|
|Total Carbohydrate||23 g 7%||28 g 9%|
|Dietary fiber||1.8 g 7%||0.4 g 1%|
|Iron||0.4 mg 2%||0.2 mg 1%|
|Magnesium||43 mg 10%||12 mg 3%|
A Comparison of White Basmati Rice Vs. Brown Basmati Rice
Brown rice is nutrient rich and is also a natural remedy for several health issues in addition to weight loss:
- Selenium: Rich in selenium, brown rice reduces the risk of developing common illnesses such as arthritis, heart disease, and cancer.
- Manganese: Just one cup of brown rice fulfills 80% of our daily manganese requirements. It also immensely benefits our nervous and reproductive systems.
- Natural Oils: Brown rice has naturally occurring oils, which help normalise cholesterol levels in our body.
- Antioxidants: Normally we associate antioxidant foods with strawberries, blueberries, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, etc. Brown rice gets five star ratings for its antioxidant capacity.
- High in Fiber: Due to the high levels of fiber in it, brown rice helps prevent colon cancer. These fibers attach themselves to cancer-causing toxic substances in the body, thereby eliminating them and preventing them from sticking onto the colon wall. The fiber content in brown rice also makes digestion far easier than white rice. This improves and maintains regular bowel movements.
- Phytic acid and Polyphenols: Brown rice is an excellent food choice for those suffering from diabetes because of its low glycaemic index. According to studies done by the US National Institute of Health,, diabetics who consumed brown rice had a glycaemia area and glycaemic index that were 35.2% and 35.6% lower than healthy volunteers.
Brown rice or cereal made from brown rice is also the perfect first food for toddlers because of the high levels of natural nutrients and fiber found in brown rice.
Brown rice is clearly the healthy choice for both babies and adults.
How to Select and Store Brown Rice
Brown rice comes in packaged bulk containers. Look out for ‘Use by’ date on the package. Because of the natural oils present in it, brown rice can become rancid if kept too long. Store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container and it will stay fresh for about six months.
Also, make sure it has no moisture content.
An analysis of long grain rice by the US Food and Drug Administration in September 2012 revealed that non-organic U.S. long grain rice has 1.4 to 5 times more arsenic than rice grown in other countries. It is always good to buy ‘organically’ grown rice as much as possible.
Mouthwatering Recipes for Brown Rice
- Stir Fried Vegetable Brown Rice
Ingredients for the rice: (Serves 4)
1.5 cups brown basmati rice
3 cups water
Ingredients for stir frying:
3 tbsp sesame oil
2 green chilies (deseeded as per your taste)
1 tsp fresh ginger
1 large or 2 small carrots (cut into cubes or juliennes)
15 to 20 French beans (cut into juliennes)
1 cup corn (cooked or canned)
1 broccoli (medium sized, cleaned, cut into florets and blanched)
1/4 cup crumbled tofu or paneer cheese
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 .5 tsp salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper
Wash the rice well and place it in a bowl with enough water to cover it for 30 minutes. discard the water and cook with 750 ml (3 cups) of water in an electric rice cooker, pressure cooker or in a pot with a well fitting lid. The cooking time varies for each method. The water varies for different strains of rice and some varieties may require more water.
In a wok, heat the oil over a medium flame. Put in the chilies and ginger and stir-fry for a minute. Add the vegetables, one after the other and stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes. Lower the flame, cover and cook for a few minutes more until the vegetables are tender, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Add the optional tofu or paneer cheese, soy sauce, salt, pepper. Mix well. Add the cooked rice, stir well and turn off the flame.
- Soya Mutter Pulao by Tarla Dalal
Soya chunks when added to pulao give you the benefit of proteins and Vitamin B12.
1 cup brown rice
1/4 cup soya chunks (nuggets)
1/4 cup green peas
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1 stick of cinnamon (dalchini)
1 bayleaf (tejpatta)
1 cardamom (elaichi)
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp garam masala
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1 tsp oil
Salt to taste
To be ground into a chilli-garlic paste:
3 garlic cloves
3 whole red chilies
- Clean, wash and soak the rice for 10 minutes. Drain and keep aside.
- Combine the soya nuggets and salt with 1 cup of water and pressure cook for 2 whistles. Drain and keep aside.
- Heat the oil in a pressure cooker and add the cumin seeds, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf and cardamom.
- When the seeds crackle, add the onions and prepared the chilli-garlic paste and sauté till the onions turn golden brown.
- Add the turmeric powder, garam masala, coriander powder, tomatoes, rice, green peas, cooked soya nuggets and salt and sauté for another 2 minutes.
- Add 2 cups of hot water and pressure cook for 2 whistles.
- Serve hot.
- Indian Brown Rice Pudding
Enjoy the creamy goodness and nutty taste in this delicious kheer made of brown rice.
Ingredients: (Serves 4)
1 cup Basmati brown rice. Rinsed and soaked in fresh water for 30 minutes to 1 hour (this reduces the cooking time)
2 cups water
3 cups organic soy milk
4 cardamom seeds, crushed
A pinch of saffron threads (about 1/8 tsp.)
¼ cup of golden raisins
1½ Tbs. of Ghee (clarified butter) (This is optional but highly recommended)
2 Tbs. of unsalted pistachios, peeled and chopped.
In a saucepan, bring the water and the soaked rice to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium- low, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
Uncover and make sure that all or almost all the water has been absorbed. Add the milk, stir, cover again and cook on low heat for 15 more minutes.
Add the cardamon, saffron and raisins, stirring to combine.
Cook uncovered for 1o minutes longer or until the rice is tender and creamy and most of the milk has been absorbed.
Remove from the heat, add the Ghee and stir gently to combine.
Serve in individual bowls and top with the chopped pistachios.
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Get into the habit of eating nutritious brown rice and discover all its benefits.. You will soon notice your trimmer waistline and an all new healthier you! Let us know in the comments if you have personally experienced the health benefits of brown rice and post all your tasty brown rice recipes too.