Monday, November 12, 2007

It's Alive! Sprouted Brown Rice


I grew up on sticky rice. I adored it. In many parts of the world, nothing is more traditional than white rice as the center of every meal. But without the nutritious bran, plain polished rice is an empty food.
How did traditional rice-based cultures stay strong without the vitamins and minerals of whole rice? They fed the rice polishings to the chickens, who faithfully delivered these nutrients in their eggs and meat. I never cease to be amazed by the economy of nature.
Sometimes, I have learned, it is necessary to break from tradition for the sake of nutrition. Brown rice supplies a fair amount of B and E vitamins, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and selenium. Since I don’t have a chicken to process my rice bran for me, I would really rather leave it on. So to deal with the antinutrients in the bran and still get the same consistency as sticky white rice, I came up with a new trick.
The rice I eat now is alive when it goes into the cooker. I sprout eight ounces of short-grain (glutinous or sweet) brown rice, which entails soaking it overnight, draining it, then rinsing and draining it twice a day until the tiniest little rootlets appear. It usually takes about a day and a half. Soaking, draining and rinsing mimics the conditions that cause germination in the wild. The sprouts shouldn't be longer than a millimeter or two, as shown above. If they're ready before you are, cover them with water and keep them in the refrigerator for up to a day. Any longer makes for goopy rice.
Once the sprouts are ready, I place the rice cooker pot on the scale, tare it, pour in the sprouted rice, then add just enough filtered water to total 24 ounces of rice and water together. After it’s done cooking, which is faster than un-sprouted brown rice, I take the pot out of the cooker, keep the lid on, cover it with a towel and let it sit for ten to fifteen minutes. The resting time allows the steam and moisture to redistribute, which keeps the rice from sticking to the pot and ensures perfectly fluffy, sticky brown rice.
Frequently I only make four ounces of rice at a time, for exactly two servings. This way all of our rice is freshly cooked moments before we eat it. I find that to cook four ounces of brown rice, sprouted, I need to add eleven ounces of water. Six ounces of brown rice, sprouted, require fifteen ounces of water to cook. If the rice is too hard, add more water next time; if it is too gummy, add less. Trial and error - that's the nature of home cooking.

10 comments:

storiteller said...

That's such a cool idea! Unfortunately, we don't have a rice cooker, and don't eat that much rice, so I don't know that we'll have the chance to try it.

Jenny said...

This is brilliant. I enjoy our whole grains, but I miss sticky rice too. I'm going to try your method next time I make rice. Have you tried it yet as a sushi rice?

Deborah said...

I did try it once for a hand-roll with avocado and salmon roe, since I seem to have misplaced my sushi mat. I think I seasoned it with mirin since I didn't have rice vinegar. The texture is great for sushi, although a purist might object to the brown rice flavor. But I say if you can make sushi with Spam, you can make it with brown rice! Thanks for the idea - I'd love to make sushi again.

MapleSugar said...

Wow...I didn't even know you could sprout rice. If I don't have a rice cooker, can I just cook it normally like i would a risotto or something?

Deborah said...

Absolutely! I haven't tried risotto myself, but in my experience sprouted rice acts just like normal rice. It just starts out with more moisture inside, which would seem to make it even better suited to risotto. Great idea!

Ann Marie said...

I love this idea!

I have a rice cooker -- Zojirushi brand. How long do you cook it for? I have a setting for brown rice and for semi-brown... should I choose semi-brown?

Deborah said...

I hear Zojirushis are great. My (Aroma) rice cooker has only one setting and shuts off automatically when the water is gone, which ends up being about 45 minutes for 8 ounces of brown rice. I'm not sure about the settings on Zojirushi - I'd try both and see which one works better.

Julie said...

Hi Deborah, I was pleased to find your post on sprouted rice. I have purchased it in the past and it is expensive (but worth it-it's great). It's brown rice that has been sprouted and then dried and it has another Japanese name that I can't recall. I am so glad to find out how to sprout it at home! I think I can do it without the rice cooker though. I don't have one, but have been able to manage thus far without one.

Anonymous said...

I just started sprouting brown rice about a week ago, and this is one of the instructional blogs I read. Thank you so much, the rice has been a wonderful treat! I've been sprouting it in green tea, and alternating between cooking it in water and cooking it in coconut milk, which I served once with a Thai spiced chicken dish and once with a bit of sugar as dessert.

Deborah said...

I didn't realize it was possible to sprout grains in tea. That sounds delicious!