Cooking Tips: Grains

OATS

Cooking time: Oat Bran, 5-7 minutes; Rolled, 10 minutes; Quick cooking Steel-cut – 5-8 mins; Steel-cut, 20-30 minutes; Groats, 45-60 minutes

Liquid per cup of grain: Oat bran, rolled oats, and quick cook steel-cut, 2 cups; steel-cut and groats, 3 cups

How to cook oats: With the exception of whole oat groats, oats are among the only grains that should be stirred while cooking.

For whole oat groats, combine groats with water in a pot, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 45-60 minutes until tender.

For steel-cut, rolled or oat bran, combine with the appropriate amount of water in a pot, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for required time, stirring often (stir steel-cut oats less), until desired consistency is reached.

Season with milk or soymilk, dried or fresh fruit, handful of nuts, your favorite spices (a pinch of cinnamon, 1-2 cardomom seeds ground, and nutmeg/all-spice powder are good substitutes for any added sweeteners). A spoonful of almond or any other nut butter stirred in before eating also makes a delicious addition.

Nutrition info:  Low in Saturated Fat and Sodium. Very good source of Fiber, Phosphorus, Selenium, and Manganese.

Oats have a higher fat content than other grains, and can go rancid more easily. Whether you're buying oat groats, steel-cut oats, rolled oats or oat bran, buy in smaller quantities, and store in the refrigerator. Although oats do not actually contain gluten, they are generally grown alongside gluten grains such as wheat and barley, which is why many people with gluten intolerance cannot eat them. However, pure, uncontaminated, certified gluten-free oats (which can be ordered online or sometimes found in health food stores) can usually be tolerated by those with gluten intolerance.


BARLEY

Cooking time: Pearled (outer husk is removed) Barley takes 30-45 minutes and Hulled (outer husk is intact) Barely takes about 50-75 minutes. It will take 10-15 mins less time for pearled or hulled barley if soaked overnight.

You can also use a pressure cooker with same proportion of water/stock to grain; cook under pressure for about 20 mins - on the longer side (25 mins) for hulled barley.

Liquid per cup of grain: 3 cups

How to cook barley: Combine barley and water/stock in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender. Or follow pressure cooker instructions above

Nutrition info: Very low in Saturated Fat and Sodium. Great source of Fiber, Protein, Iron, and a good source of Thiamin (Vitamin B1), Niacin (Vitamin B3), Vitamin B6. Good source, of Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, and Copper. Very high in Manganese and Selenium.


AMARANTH

Cooking time: 20-25 minutes

Liquid per cup of grain: 2 1/2 - 3 cups

How to cook: Bring required amount of water to a boil. Add the grain, bring back to a boil. Then reduce heat, cover and simmer for up to 20 minutes, or until grains are fluffy and water is absorbed - it does have a sticky consistency.

For a more porridge-like consistency, use slightly more water (three cups for one cup of grain) and cook a little longer.

You can also "pop" amaranth like corn; simply preheat a pot or skillet over high heat (must be very hot), and add amaranth seeds one or two tablespoons at a time (adding too many seeds at once can cause them to burn).

Continuously stir the seeds with a spoon as they pop, and once mostly popped, quickly remove from pan. Repeat with more seeds if desired. Popped amaranth can be enjoyed on its own with some salt & pepper/herbs seasoning (or even or served with milk or soymilk and fruit for a healthy breakfast.)

Nutritional Info: This food is very low in Sodium and high in Fiber. Good source of Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Manganese.


FARRO

Cooking time:  30-35 minutes on stovetop (or 18-20 mins in a pressure cooker; tastes best if soaked for about 30-45 mins prior to cooking)

Liquid per cup of grain: 2-2.5 cups

How to cook farro or emmer wheat: Bring a pot of water to a boil and add grain. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for up to 35 minutes, until grains are tender and have absorbed all of the liquid.

Nutrition info: Low in Saturated Fat and Sodium. Good source of Fiber, Protein, Magnesium and Niacin (Vitamin B1).


WHEAT BERRIES

Cooking time: Stove Top: Wheat berries; 70-90 minutes; cracked wheat, 20-25 minutes; bulgur, 10-15 minutes (for the wheat berries, to save time, you can use a pressure cooker - preferably rinse and soak for 1-3 hours and then cook under pressure for 18-20 mins; if you soak them 4-6 hours you cut stove-top cooing time by half).

Liquid per cup of grain: Wheat berries, 3 cups; cracked wheat and bulgur, 2 cups

How to cook wheat berries, bulgur or cracked wheat: For wheat berries, bring water to a boil and then add the grain. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for at least 90 minutes, until grains are tender.

Or if you use a pressure cooker, cook under pressure for 15-18 mins (each pressure cooker time will be slightly different, so start with 15 mins the first time and see if it is cooked - should be chewy but not hard).

Also, cooking time may vary slightly depending on the intended use (for example, firmer, al dente wheat berries are nice in salads, but for a breakfast porridge, you will want them a bit softer).

Cracked wheat and bulgur take significantly less time to cook than their unmilled counterpart. Combine either one in a pot with two cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for appropriate amount of time (up to 25 minutes for cracked wheat and up to 15 minutes for bulgur). For all varieties, fluff with a fork before serving.

It can be used in the place of rice for an asian stir fry or in place of bulgur for a middle eastern salad called Tabouleh. Fresh, light, tasty and very nutritious!

Nutrition info: Low in Saturated Fat and Sodium. An excellent source of Fiber and Protein. Also good source of  vitamins B1 and B3; and Magnesium, Phosphorus, Copper, Manganese and Selenium.


BUCKWHEAT (KASHA)

Cooking time: Untoasted raw buckwheat groats, 20-30 minutes; kasha (toasted buckwheat), 15-20 minutes

Liquid per cup of grain: 2 cups

How to cook kasha or buckwheat: For raw buckwheat groats, toasting is highly recommended to lend a pleasant, nutty taste. (You can also buy your buckwheat groats pre-toasted, in which case they will be labeled "kasha.")

To toast:  Place unroasted groats in dry pan over medium heat, stirring for five minutes, until browned. Whether you're preparing kasha or untoasted buckwheat groats, bring water to a boil and add the grain. Reduce heat to low, and simmer until tender for required time.

Kasha requires significantly less cooking time than untoasted buckwheat; adjust accordingly.

Nutrition info: Low in Saturated Fat and Sodium. Good source of Plant Protein, Iron, Dietary Fiber and Magnesium, and a very good source of Manganese.


KAMUT

Cooking time: 60 minutes on stovetop (or you can soak for a few hours and cook in a pressure cooker for 15-18 mins)

Liquid per cup of grain: 3 cups

How to cook kamut: Bring water to a boi in a pot. Add the grain, return to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about an hour, until grains are tender.

Nutrition info: Very low in saturated Fat. High in Protein and in Vitamin B's - Vitamin B1 (Thiamin), B3 (Niacin), B6 and Vitamin B9 (Folate/Folic Acid)


BROWN RICE

Cooking time: Basmati, 30-35 minutes; long, 40-45 minutes

Liquid per cup of grain: 2 1/4 cups

How to cook brown rice: Place rice and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for up to 40-45 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving

Generally, the longer the grain, the less sticky and starchy the texture; so long-grain rice is ideal for lighter pilaf-type dishes while short-grain rice is used for sushi. Basmati and jasmine rice, from India and Thailand respectively, are fluffy and aromatic - wonderful alongside ethnic dishes such as Indian vegetarian and non-vegetarian curries and stir-fries.

Nutrition info: Low in Saturated Fat and Sodium. Good source of Plant Protein, Iron, Dietary Fiber and a very good source of Manganese.


WILD RICE

Cooking time: 50-60 minutes on stovetop; about 45-55 mins in rice cooker (and let it sit 5-10 mins after being cooked).

For added flavor, use vegetable stock or chicken stock in addition to some water; try 2 cups stock to 1 cup water. Go a step further and after adding the water/stock, add 2-3 bay leaves, 4-5 cloves, 5 cracked cardommom pods, half inch cinnamon stick, and a pinch of red chilli powder or cayenne pepper/paprika, for a boost of flavor.

Liquid per cup of grain: 3 cups

How to cook wild rice: Place wild rice and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for up to an hour. Fluff with a fork before serving.

Wild rice is often scarified (meaning the surface of the outer bran is mechanically scratched), a process that lessens cooking time without lowering nutritional value, as polishing grain does (i.e. white rice). Wild rice is gluten-free. Avoid boxed wild rice mixes - in addition to being less fresh, the additives can contain traces of gluten. Wild rice keeps almost indefinitely if stored properly in a cool, dry, dark place.

Nutrition info: Low in Saturated Fat and Sodium. Good source of Plant Protein, and Manganese.


MILLET

Cooking time: 20-30 minutes

Liquid per cup of grain: 2 1/2 to 3 cups (you can use vegetable or chicken stock in place of water or a bit of both)

How to cook millet: Although not necessary, toasting millet grains prior to cooking can provide a nuttier flavor and a better texture.

To dry-toast, place millet in a preheated skillet over medium heat, and stir frequently (about 10 minutes) until golden brown.

Combine millet with water in a covered pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn down the heat, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes. Fluffed with a fork when done, millet prepared this way will have a light texture similar to rice.

For a creamier, mashed potato-like alternative, stir frequently while cooking, occasionally adding water, until desired consistency is reached.

Nutrition info: Low in Saturated Fat and Sodium. Good source of Plant Protein and Manganese, Magnesium, and Phosphorus.


QUINOA

For half cup quinoa (serves 2), bring 1.5 cups water to a boil in a medium size pot. Once boiling, add the quinoa. Keep on a medium flame for a steady boil for 5-7 mins. Once water is almost at level of quinoa, lower flame, cover and let simmer for another 3-5 mins. Turn off flame and preferably, let it rest for 3-5 mins.

Nutrition info: Low in Sodium and Saturated fats. Complete Plant Protein (all the essential amino acids). Good source of Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, and Manganese. 


SPELT

Cooking time: 90 minutes (can also use a pressure cooker; same proportion of water/stock to grain; cook under pressure for about 15-18 minutes).

Liquid per cup of grain: 3 1/2 cups

How to cook spelt: Combine spelt berries and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender.

Nutrition info: Low in Sodium and Saturated Fat. Very good source of Fiber, Plant Protein, and Iron. Good source of Phosphorus and Manganese.

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