I hope that as life goes on I keep learning, changing. One area of life that has drastically changed for me in the last few years is food. The beloved food, the fuel of life. The original medicine, our comfort. The one thing that all humans have in common, sustainment from food. It’s close to our hearts, right? I believe it’s our very need for this thing that makes it so dear. So controversial. So..misunderstood?
I’ve been all over the spectrum, folks. Junk food eater, Standard American Diet, vegetarian, Paleo, real foodie. I’ve been around the block if you will.
My relationship with rice has been a doozy. Growing up we had Minute rice (because it was cheap and quick and we needed that!). Then I chose whole grain because “they” said it was healthier. Then I didn’t eat rice because it was a grain product. And now, now I eat soaked rice.
Not just your “soak overnight” rice either. Rice that’s been soaked in warm water and an acid to reduce the phytates which blocks the absorption of the vitamins and minerals in our food, and is present at varying levels in all grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. So, even if you’re eating “healthy” by choosing whole grain spaghetti or cashews for a snack, your body is literally being robbed of all the food’s goodness by these phytates.
Traditionally in Asian countries where rice is most popular, rice was soaked overnight or with a neutralizer. Considered the most perfect grain, rice is still consumed in large amounts in Asia, a 10:1 ratio compared to the US. Sadly, they’ve adopted the quick technique of preparing rice as the convenience of “minute” rice seems too good to pass up. But when we prepare rice traditionally, our bodies absorb all of its goodness, including calcium, iron, and magnesium to name a few. Most grains, while high in B vitamins, iron, and vitamin E, should be limited especially if they aren’t properly prepared.
If you’re already doing a soak on your rice, this method is going to seem simple. And if you haven’t been soaking your rice, we just need to do a bit of planning. It’s not much work at all.
How to Soak & Cook Rice
based on Nourishing Traditions
2 cups rice (preferably brown as it has more nutrients, but white is fine too)
3-4 tablespoons of a neutralizer (whey, kefir, lemon juice or apple cider vinegar)
4 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons real butter
Place rice and enough warm water to it plus neutralizer in large glass bowl. Cover and set in a warm place for about 7 hours or overnight. I usually do this the morning I’m going to cook the rice.
Drain and add rice, broth, salt, and butter to medium to large pot. Bring to a boil, skim the top of any foam. Reduce heat to lowest temperature and cover. Set a timer for 15 minutes. Using a fork take a bit of the rice out and taste. Remove from heat if finished, or cook until rice is just firm. My cooking times have varied from 15 to 25 minutes, brown usually takes a bit longer than white. Also, when tasting the rice for doneness, do not stir and put the lid back on quickly, we don’t want to break up the rice or let too much moisture escape.
Add to your favorite meat dish or enjoy as a side. I highly recommend cooking rice in some sort of broth as mentioned, chicken is our favorite. The added flavor is unparalleled when cooking it in water. You won’t be able to keep your fork out of it!