Grains

Whole grains and groats are an important part of your diet. They are the source of carbohydrates that give you energy. They also are an important source of many vitamins, minerals, and protein. Buckwheat, millet, and quinoa are gluten-free. Bulghur and couscous are wheat.

They are easy to cook, delicious to eat, and combine with vegetables and legumes into many nutritious meals. Couscous and millet can also be a base for desserts.

Barley – boil 1 cup of groats in 1.5 cups of water until all water is absorbed (approximately 20 minutes or or turn the burner off a few minutes earlier and leave it for another 10-15 minutes); yields 3 cups.

Brown rice – boil 1 cup of rice in 2 cups of water until all water is absorbed (approximately 40 minutes), do not open during cooking, do not stir; yields 3 cups. I noticed that brown rice from certain suppliers had a shorter cooking time. I advise you to take a look at it occasionally when cooking brown rice from a new supplier for the first time.

Brown rice pasta – if you use Tinkyada brand, which is of excellent quality, similar to the best semolina pastas, please try it before the end of the cooking time. In my opinion the cooking times given on packages of some of the pastas are a bit too long. To cook it al dente, you will need to shorten them by a little bit.

Buckwheat – boil 1 cup of groats in 1.5 cups of water until all water is absorbed (approximately 20 minutes or turn the burner off a few minutes earlier and leave it for another 10-15 minutes); yields 3 cups.

Bulghur – boil 1 cup of groats in 1.5 cups of water until all water is absorbed; yields 3 cups.

Couscous – pour boiling water an inch above the surface of the groats and wait a few minutes; yields 3 cups.

Millet – boil 1 cup of groats in 2.25 cups of water until all water is absorbed (approximately 20 minutes or turn the burner off a few minutes earlier and leave it for another 10-15 minutes); yields 5 cups.

Oats – boil 1 cup of groats in 1.5 cups of water until all water is absorbed (approximately 20 minutes or turn the burner off a few minutes earlier and leave it for another 10-15 minutes); yields 3 cups.

Quinoa – boil 1 cup of quinoa in 1.5 cups of water until all water is absorbed (approximately 15 minutes) or boil it for 10 minutes, turn the burner off and leave it for another 10-15 minutes; yields 3 cups; for people who think that quinoa tastes bland: it is a good idea to add a blended tomato to the cooking water;

Whole wheat pasta – cook as directed on the package. Please keep in mind that many kinds of pasta sold in America and labeled as whole wheat actually contain white wheat flour. The companies are allowed to use the term “whole” if the product contains 51% of whole grains. You may choose whole wheat pastas made in Europe because they are truly whole wheat, 100%. You will also be able to compare how much darker they are. However, they tend to get mushy and I personally prefer brown rice pasta.

Rinse the grains well before cooking and add into boiling water with a tiny little bit of salt (I use about ¼ teaspoon per cup of dry groats). Cover the pot and keep the flame low. If you put them on the first thing when you come back home, they will be ready before you are ready to eat. When done, and you are still, for example, waiting for somebody to eat together, wrapping the pot in a towel and putting it under a blanket will keep the grains hot for at least two hours.

If refrigerated, grains last for a couple of days and can be easily heated up whenever needed. However, the brown rice pasta mentioned above loses a bit of its great texture and it is always a good idea to cook the exact amount you need and have it always fresh. This does not mean that you should throw the leftovers away. On the next day it is still good to eat, just a little different in texture.

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