Whether it’s a double batch of baked brown rice I cook before work in the morning or a quick pot of quinoa or Israeli couscous I make at night, grains are versatile, satisfying and nutritious staples. In the case of that baked brown rice–recipe below–I tend to make twice as much as I need in the moment and refrigerate or freeze the rest so I can make fried rice or rice custard or round out a soup for dinner some night when I have little time. I do the same with farro, frikeh, and barley.
Quick cooking grains I typically stock:
- Rolled oats
- Couscous (whole wheat)
- Israeli couscous
- Rice noodles
- Soba noodles
- White rice (arborio for risotto, Jasmine, Basmati)
Grains that take a bit longer to cook:
- Whole grain farro
- Whole grain and/or hulless barley
- Wheat berries
- Brown rice (short grain, Basmati)
- Frikeh (scorched, green wheat)
- Cornmeal (medium to coarse grind)
Baked Brown Rice
–adapted from Alton Brown
This is so delicious you may find yourself eating half of it straight out of the pan before you get to the table. This makes a lot of rice but I always freeze half or more to for future meals. If you’re going to heat the oven for an hour you might as well make a lot but feel free to have the recipe.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
3 cups short grain brown rice
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
2 teaspoons sea salt
5 cups boiling water
Put the rice and salt in a 9 x 13 or similarly-sized baking dish and dot with butter. Boil the water and carefully stir into the rice to mix in butter and salt. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour.
Cooked Whole Grains
Whole Farro, spelt, rye, wheat or barley can be cooked with this method. The cooked grains keep for 5-6 days in the refrigerator and can be used in salads, soups, bowls, stir-fries, as well as a breakfast cereal/porridge.
1 1/2 cups (uncooked) grain yield about 3 3/4 cups cooked grains. I usually cook at least that much since they keep well and can also be frozen and are so versatile.
1 1/2 cups whole rye, barley, wheat or spelt (if using pearled or semi-pearled grains they will cook more quickly than noted here).
5 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
Put the grains in a medium saucepan with the water and salt. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cook, covered for 45- 60 minutes. I like the grains to be tender with some popping open but not all so that they still have a little chew and are not mushy. Test and cook to your taste. Drain and use as needed. Store in the fridge in a tightly sealed container for up to 6 days.
Fragrant Rice with Indian Spices
It takes just a minute to add spices to plain rice and the result is a fragrant pot of rice that needs nothing more than a fried egg and a few herbs to be a meal or can serve as the side for any number of curries or dals.
1 1/2 cups basmati rice (you can also use brown basmati rice but the cooking time will be a bit longer)
3-4 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric or 1 teaspoon grated, fresh turmeric (as in photo)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt (if your broth is quite salty you can omit this or increase to 1/2 teaspoon if using water)
2 1/4 cups homemade veggie bouillon, vegetable stock or water
Put all ingredients in a rice cooker and give a quick stir. Turn on and cook. If using a pot on the stove top bring all ingredients to a boil. Turn down to the slowest simmer possible and cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until the rice is tender and the liquid absorbed. Let rest, covered, off the heat for 5 minutes, then serve.