- Susie Csorsz Brown
Recipe: Whole grains tutorial
Friends, you should eat more whole grains. I know, I know. There are all sorts of articles that say whole grain is bad, blah blah blah, but ... one cannot dispute that whole grains are an amazing source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and taste amazing. They are nutrient-dense (meaning a big bang for your caloric buck), they keep you feeling full, and they provide disease fighting benefits. You should eat them as close as possible to how Ma Nature created them, meaning not 'quick cooking' or 'preboiled' or anything like that (read: processed).
This is my base recipe for whole grains. I can change it up by changing the herb/seasoning. Most important is to make sure you use the right amount of water: grain ratio.
To begin with, some grains need to be rinsed (amaranth, sorghum, and quinoa, most especially, but you can get pre-rinsed kinds). So if you need to rinse it, do so before warming the oil so that it can drain well. Be sure to use a fine mesh strainer otherwise your lovely grains will just flow right down the sink.
Warm some olive oil (roughly 1 T) over medium heat, and add measured grain. I generally make enough to have leftovers, say 2 cups (precooked). Toast the grain until it starts to smell a nutty. It will take a bit of time, so be patient. The grains will start to smell really nutty, and will begin to brown a little. Some, like quinoa, also start to make popping sounds.
I usually use bouillon. I really like the veggie or chicken Better than Bouillon, preferably the low sodium kind. I add about 1 T at this point, and stir it around well. Use your favorite. Add 1/2 tsp of salt (to taste), a few grinds of fresh pepper and any other herbs you might like to add. Suggestions might be whole cumin seed (1/2 - 1 tsp), chili flakes, Italian seasoning, rosemary spring, etc. You don't need much, as this is not supposed to be a dominant flavor.
Add water. Depending on the grain, use appropriate amount. These are the grains we use regularly. There is a link to a chart below that has other grains, too.
-2 c water : 1 c grain (quinoa, rice)
-2.5 c water: 1 c grain (farro, freekeh, amaranth, sorghum)
-3 c water : 1 c grain (kamut, wild rice, barley)
-3.5 c water : 1 c grain (spelt)
Bring to boil, turn down heat and let simmer. The time depends on the grain. It can range from 15 - 20 minutes (quinoa) to 90 or more (sorghum) so it's best to just keep an eye on it. I generally let it go until it is almost dry, then turn off the heat, cover and let sit for at least 15 minutes. Then you can 'fluff' it up with a fork. Done!
Note: If you don't use bouillon, you'd likely want to add a bit more salt, maybe 3/4 tsp for 2 cups grain.