Cooking Healthy Rice and Other Grains
Rice is an excellent staple, well balanced in nutrients and nourishing in the body. Brown rice has also gathered popularity in recent past because of its health benefits. Cooking healthy brown rice is quite simple but not many are aware of it. If you are choosing not-overly processed, non-enriched, unbleached rice, you are already halfway there; but unless you know this secret, there is no way you are cooking healthy. Curious? Don’t worry, I am just about to reveal it!
The Problems With Conventional Ways of Cooking
As much as choosing healthy ingredients is important for healthy cooking, equally important is the way we cook it. The problem with cooking brown rice is – the conventional ways of cooking involves using a metal/ceramic pot. This, unfortunately, makes your rice unhealthy in more than one way. Thus the conventional ones can never be the best rice cooker for brown rice.
First of all, these metals and ceramics leach metal ions that react with nutrients in rice at the cooking temperature (heat is a catalyst) and make it toxic. Sounds unbelievable right? I felt the same until I did a home test on my then favorite rice cooker (a stainless-steel pan).
The Alkaline Baking Soda Test
The test is pretty simple, all you need is some baking soda and follow these steps:
- Boil 2-3 cups of water in any pot, when it starts boiling add 2 tsp of baking soda, boil for 5 more minutes. Turn stove off.
- Wait till cool enough to taste then taste the water (take a sip). If you taste metals, that’s what you’re eating! If water has a rubber/paint taste it’s the chemicals from enamel/glaze.
As a control, stir 2 tsp of baking soda to 1 glass of water and take a sip — you will taste just the baking soda.
It’s recommended that at least 80% of the food we eat be alkaline, the baking soda is also alkaline and so, closely resembles our food. If a pot is leaching metals into the alkaline baking soda solution, it will definitely leach while cooking food. This is the working principle of this test.
Secondly, the harsh heat from metals/ceramics dissolves delicate nutrients and makes your rice nutritionally depleted. This heat is also uneven and as a result, doesn’t distribute uniformly. As a result, the rice either overcooks or cooks unevenly (one of the reasons grains do not look fluffy and separate from one another).
Best Rice Cooker for Brown Rice and Other Grains: A Truly Healthy Alternative
I did some research and came across this all-natural pure clay rice cooker and decided to give it a try. First thing I noticed about them after following the alkaline baking soda test is that they do not leach! Also, they don’t get heated too much and you can easily hold them mostly with bare hands or by using a kitchen cloth. The heat radiating from their walls is far-infrared. It penetrates deep into each grain, cooking them evenly and thoroughly, keeping nutrients intact.
The rice cooks soft, delicious and fluffy with just the right amount of moisture as the pot filters out excess water through semi-porous walls. No need for any artificial additives, fats or oils – the pot takes care of cooking that perfect rice for you. This is why I think it’s the ideal rice cooker.