Rice: To Eat or Not to Eat
By Noor H. Salem, contributing columnist
Many people avoid eating rice assuming it’s extremely unhealthy. While white rice is stripped of its nutrients, and lacks dietary fiber, thus is not very satisfying, brown rice is on the other end of the spectrum. Brown rice carries a number of minerals, and is high in dietary fiber. It’s very satisfying, and if you prepare it properly, it won’t “taste like cardboard,” like many of my clients conjecture. I use organic Basmati brown rice, which works the best in staying fluffy with the cooking. Another tip I recommend to my clients when using brown rice is to soak it overnight or at least for several hours. This removes the phytic acid, and eases the digestion process. This goes for beans, barley, quinoa, and other grains as well. Try it, and see if you have less discomfort after meals.
This brown rice recipe in particular is bursting with my favorite spices; including ginger, allspice, turmeric, and cloves. They each add a distinct flavor to this rice, and are packed with many health benefits too. Ginger has extraordinary anti-inflammatory benefits. People with arthritis may witness a great sense of relief by increasing their consumption of raw ginger in their diet. This is one of the many ginger recipes I’ve shared in my book, Sunnah Superfoods. It is extremely flavorful, and bursts with a myriad of health benefits including dietary fiber, magnesium, copper, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory benefits, protein, iron, and so much more. Feel free to omit or substitute the spices for your favorites. Ginger overpowers the other spices in this rice, which is why I enjoy making it.
I’ve discussed oil and healthy fats in previous posts, but essentially in this recipe I cook the nuts in coconut oil. Using olive oil on high heat destroys many of the benefits. Instead, drizzle it on the rice for a boost of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Extra virgin olive oil is high in antioxidants, heart health benefits, cognitive benefits, and much more. I frankly recommend that extra virgin olive oil is on the daily menu for all of my clients. Whether you are facing health ailment or are aiming to prevent disease and be healthy, olive oil is one of the best items to consume. Try it on your eggs, on your salad instead of other dressings, or drizzled over your rice such as this recipe. Coconut oil is also a wonderful healthy fat, and unlike olive oil, it can tolerate high heat. In that case, try using it for your high heat stir-fry and other meals.
This flavorful brown rice pairs well with grilled chicken, a vegetable stir-fry, or even a vegetable and lamb stew. Try this brown rice recipe for a twist to your traditional white rice dish, and you’ll be enjoying a delicious meal that so happens to be extremely healthy for you, too.
5-6 cups water
2 cups organic basmati brown rice
2 tablespoons turmeric, ground
2 tablespoons Himalayan Pink Salt
8 slices of fresh ginger
1 tablespoon ground ginger
3 cinnamon sticks
5 green cardamom pods
12 cloves, whole
1 whole all spice
4 whole black peppercorns
3 bay leaves
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
½ cup raw pistachios and cashews
2 tablespoons organic virgin coconut oil
- Soak the brown rice overnight if possible. If not, 2-3 hours will suffice.
- In a small skillet, heat the coconut oil and nuts on medium-high heat. Stir occasionally, allow them the nuts to brown without burning. Transfer to a small glass plate; set aside.
- Meanwhile, place water, brown rice, and all spices in a medium cooking pot. Cook covered on high heat about 10-12 minutes or until rice begins to show above water.
- Lower the heat about 10-12 minutes or until the rice begins to show above the water.
- Lower the heat to the lowest stage and leave covered for about 5 minutes.
- Transfer rice to a serving bowl.
- Drizzle rice with extra virgin olive oil. Garnish with the chopped parsley and roasted nuts. Serve.
Noor H. Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, Sunnah Superfoods, a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other languages.