Healthy food choices are always better than standard foods, with a lesser nutrient quotient that we are used to eating. When one is accustomed to certain eating habits, making that change is never easy. What you can perhaps do is introduce brown rice into the menu, gradually. Also, use more flavourful varieties of brown rice, for example, brown basmati rice. Make the dish interesting and palatable, by adding various flavours to it. Instead of plain rice make jeera rice, or a pulao or tehri. The more flavours you add to the brown rice, the better it will taste. The addition of spices and herbs, for instance, can give a dish a nice tang. On the other hand adding vegetables to brown rice not only enhances the appearance and flavour but also gives body to the rice, making it a nutritious, wholesome meal that can be served with a raita or a chutney and some papad.
Here are a few recipes that are a meal in themselves:
Indian style veg fried rice using brown rice
• Brown rice – 1 glass (wash and soak the rice for 2 hours before cooking. Follow the cooking instructions on the pack and cook with a dash of salt)
• Onion – 1 large chopped
• Garlic – Finely chopped 10-12 large cloves
• Carrot – 1 large, sliced diagonally
• Beans – A handful, sliced diagonally
• Corn kernels – a fistful
• Bell peppers – Red, yellow & green cut in strips
• Cabbage – ½ head of a small cabbage, chopped
• Spinach – A small bunch, roughly chopped
• Green chillies – to taste, slit down the centre
• Fresh coriander leaves – a few sprigs, chopped
• Pepper powder – ½ tsp
• Salt to taste
• Oil – for cooking
Note - Add or remove veggies as per preference and availability. You can add peas or beetroot as well. You can add soya chunks/granules or paneer cubes. If you want to serve meat, add cooked and shredded chicken to the dish. Spring onions as a garnish works well too. The choice is yours.
• Heat oil in a pan and to it add the garlic – sauté till slightly brown
• Add onions and slit green chillies and cook till the onions become translucent
• Add the veggies and sauté till they are al dente – add the veggies in the order they are mentioned, or else some veggies will become limp and we don't want that. Carrots, beans and corn to sautéed a wee bit longer. The veggies must retain a bite. Also, keep the flame on high and stir the veggies continuously.
• Add salt and pepper to the cooked veggies.
• To the above mix, add the cooked rice.
• Garnish with coriander and serve plain or with a Manchurian dish
Vegetable Tehri with brown rice
Tahiri is quite popular in Northern parts of India. There are different versions of it – depending on the region. It is much like a pulao and is made using potatoes. I have improvised on a traditional dish, to make it healthier.
• Brown rice – 1 large glass, washed and soaked for 2 hours
• Onion – 1 large, finely sliced
• Potatoes – 2 large, chopped into 1" pieces
• Cauliflower florets – from ¼ a head
• Peas – ½ cup, I prefer freshly shelled peas to the frozen variety
• Tomatoes – 2 medium, chopped
• Ginger garlic paste – 1 tbsp
• Cumin (jeera) – ¼ tsp
• Ginger – 1" piece julienned
• Black peppercorns – 8-10
• Black cardamom (elaichi) -1-2
• Cloves (laung) 5-6
• Bay leaves (Tej patta) 1-2
• Whole red chillies - 2
• Cinnamon stick (dalchini) 1" piece
• Turmeric – ¼ tsp
• Red chilli powder ½ tsp
• Coriander powder – 1 tsp
• Salt to taste
• Oil (This is traditionally made in mustard oil)
• Garam masala – ¼ tsp
• Lemon juice
• Coriander leaves
• Mint leaves
• Sauté potatoes, peas, and cauliflower for a few minutes, in a little oil. The potatoes should begin to change colour, for you to know they're done. Keep aside
• In the same pan, add a little more oil and add the bay leaves, peppercorns, cloves, black cardamom, cumin and whole red chillies. When the cumin crackles, throw in the onions. Fry the onions to a nice brown colour.
• Add the ginger garlic paste along with the salt, turmeric, coriander and red chilli powders and a dash of water, and fry the mix till the oil separates.
• Add the sautéed veggies and the chopped tomatoes and stir well, so the masala coats the veggies.
• Add the soaked brown rice, and mix into the veggies and fry for 5 minutes.
• Meanwhile bring 3½ glasses of water to boil and add to the rice, place a lid and cook, or pressure cook for 2 whistles, let the pressure in the cooker reduce naturally, before opening.
• Sprinkle the garam masala over the rice and drizzle some ghee over the rice – cover the rice and let it stand for 5 minutes.
• Garnish with chopped coriander and mint leaves and ginger juliennes.
• Add a dash of lime juice and enjoy.
Tehri can be served with green chutney and papad or a lauki or boondi raita. It makes a delicious meal.
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