Monday, April 23, 2012

One Pot of Brown Rice, Three Ways

How many times have we looked at the stove and seen this?
It's a grim feeling.

Another pressure cooker of short-grain brown rice, another day.

Sometimes, I get so bored with the basic rice-beans-greens macro meals that I could have a fit.  I don't want to go to the grocery store and spend more money, I don't want to spend six hours in the kitchen, and I don't want more basic brown rice.

Here are three ways to jazz up a fresh pot of brown rice to make new, exciting meals!

warm, nutty rice
 This is the quickest and easiest ways to change up the rice.  Preheat the oven to 300, and lay out almonds, walnuts, or pecans on a tray.  Roast the nuts until they begin to give off a toasted smell (approx. 5-10 minutes) and release their oils.  When the nuts cool, crush them with your hands or a suribachi.  DO NOT buy pre-roasted nuts.  Not only are these much less delicious, they are often rancid.  Mix rice, nuts, a little olive oil, and a small pinch of salt.  I often add a few sprigs of rosemary, pan-fried in olive oil to give it a great flavor.


Ohagi is a Japanese sweet dessert made of pounded short-grain rice.  Take your brown rice, cooled, and place it in a large pot.  Pound the rice (I used the end of a rolling pin) for approximately 20 minutes, until the rice is sticky and paste-like.  This takes a firm arm and patience, but it's worth it!

Once your ohagi is a paste, you can play with it.  The goal is to roll it into balls (about golf-ball sized), filled and covered with different toppings.  You can see from this picture, there are many ways to make ohagi.  I'll be experimenting this summer with filling them with matcha and sweet tofu paste!  Here are a few easy ones using ingredients you have at home:

-Cover the ohagi in roasted sesame seeds (black or white)
-Fill the ohagi with toasted nuts or a roasted nut paste (I'll be working on one soon)
-Fill the ohagi with dried fruits (At Kushi we used dried apricots)
-Fill or cover the ohagi with sweet adzuki bean paste (1 c. cooked aduki beans mixed with 2-3 tbsp. brown rice syrup, mixed in a food processor)

rice croquettes
Rice croquettes turn a grain into a flavorful main course.

Finely shred carrots, onions, celery, and/or cabbage.  Pan-roast raw sunflower seeds until they begin to turn brown and pop, then quickly remove from pan to avoid overcooking.

Mix cool rice, veggies, sunflower seeds, and a splash of ume vinegar, and kneed into a sticky mixture.  If it sticks to your hands, coat your hands in cool water.

Pat the croquettes into burger-shaped patties, and if you'd like, cover in a light dusting of corn flour.  This isn't always necessary.

Pan-fry until golden brown on each side.  Serve with a sweet carrot and onion sauce or a light summer pesto!  Enjoy!

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