What is it?
Lots of people ask ‘what is the difference between Wholegrain and Brown Rice?’ There is a fair degree of confusion surrounding this wonderful grain, which I think in turn affects our decision to cook with it. Simply put – they are the same high quality specialist grain grown in the foothills of the Himalayas but have undergone different levels of milling.
Brown – or wholegrain – Basmati rice that has had the outermost layer or hull removed. It still has the kernel intact and still has all it’s layers of bran. To get white Basmati rice these layers of bran need to be removed by a very specialised process of abrasion called milling. The rice is then polished to give what we know as white Basmati rice.
It’s these layers of bran, which contain many of the nutrients and vitamins, that make wholegrain Basmati incredibly healthy. Not only do they offer a myriad of health benefits but mean that this fantastic grain has an unmistakable nutty flavour, which makes it one of my firm favourites!
Forget what you know
Forget what you think you know about White rice versus Wholegrain rice. No longer think of it as an alternative to white Basmati but think of it as an altogether different food. It tastes completely different, it cooks differently, it has a distinctive texture and as such you should treat it and cook with it differently.
There is no substitute for beautifully cooked, fluffy, fabulously fragrant pure Basmati rice alongside a delicious curry. But, think unctuous, slow cooked, deeply savoury braised dishes and all of a sudden white rice would be out of place.
Wholegrain however, with its nutty flavour and robust texture, is perfectly suited. Soaking up the wonderful flavours and complementing the textures perfectly. But don’t just think of it as part of a winter warming dish – Imagine a wonderful summer rice salad full of the crunch of red onion and fresh vegetables, the sharpness of a lemony dressing and the zing of fresh herbs. A million miles away from the wintery dishes but equally delicious.
Starting to cook with it
Try it plain. Cook some at home and the first thing you will notice is how much easier it is to cook than white rice. It’s great to try it on its own, get to know how it smells and how it tastes.
Then start to experiment. Cook it in stock instead of water, use it in simple over baked risottos knowing it will be soaking up all those glorious flavours giving you a wonderful dish showcasing all that’s great about wholegrain Basmati.
You’ll come up with plenty of your own unique ways of cooking with this glorious grain but for a little inspiration have a look at the recipes I have created especially for Tilda here.
Good luck and happy cooking!