How to Cook Rice & Other Grains

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Consider this scenario: You want to add some more fiber to your diet, and you discover that wild rice can be a great source of this. However, when researching how to make rice, different websites tell you different things and might recommend adding unnecessary ingredients to the rice that might ruin the health value. You finally find a recipe that might work for you, but when you try to cook it, your rice comes out hard, chewy, and tasteless. What went wrong? It’s just rice, does it have to be this difficult?

It shouldn’t be! Rice and grains have been a staple for countless generations across cultures all around the world. Not only do rice/grains offer its own health benefits, but you can top virtually any of your healthy meals over a bed of rice/grain. So in this scenario, what is the problem?

The answer boils down to your pot. A regular pot made of conventional materials (i.e. a cast iron pot and other cookware) generate harsh near-infrared heat that can damage the nutrients in rice, easily burn the food, and just make cooking a hassle! Fortunately, there is a cookware brand that harnesses the unique qualities of all-natural clay to create a pot that generates gentle heat to ensure delicious grains and easy cooking, every time: Miriam’s Earthen Cookware!

You can make many different kinds of rice and grains in MEC, here’s how:

How to Cook Your Rice in MEC

Measure and wash the rice you want to cook (like white rice, brown rice, wild rice, etc). For the best nutritional value, we recommend parboiled aged rice. The ratio of grains to water (in cups) in most cases is 1:2 for MEC . If your MEC pot is new, then add an extra 1/2 cup of water (grains to water, 1:2.5). Add the water-soaked rice to the pot and start cooking on the stove top. Start at low heat, cook for 5 minutes, then increase heat to medium-low on a gas stove (or medium heat setting on electric stove). High heat is discouraged for cooking rice in MEC- it will cook thoroughly and evenly with a lower heat setting. For 2 cups of raw rice (that yields 4-5 cups of cooked rice), a brand new pot takes about 25-30 minutes to cook the rice. After 3-4 uses, the pot will cook rice much faster, cutting the cook-time to be only about 15 minutes! Turn the stove off and let the pot sit for a few minutes with lid closed for the steam to settle, then serve your clay pot rice.

How to Cook Other Grains in MEC

You can cook any grains in MEC following the same 1:2 ratio of grains to water. If the grain has an outer fiber component, add an extra 1/2 cup of water. With a new MEC pot, use 3 cups of water.

One good rule of thumb to keep in mind with other grains is that if the grains are softer than rice, let the water heat up for at least 5-10 mins before adding the them to the pot.

If grains are as hard as rice or harder, you can add the water and grains at the same time to the pot.

Cook your grain on the stove at medium-low with the lid covered. Two cups of millets, quinoa, barley, buckwheat, corn will take about 20 minutes after the pot has been used 3-4 times. Oatmeal and other softer grains (like Semolina from wheat and Teff) will take about 10-15 minutes to cook.

How to Cook Pasta and Spaghetti

Before you add in your pasta, heat the water with the lid covered using the same heat setting as previously mentioned for other grains. Let water come to a rolling boil for 10 minutes, then add your pasta or spaghetti (at the same 1:2 ratio). Cover and cook till done. No need to stir often. Turn stove off 5 minutes before water is fully absorbed. 2 cups of pasta (which will become slightly more than double in volume after cooking) takes 20 mins to cook.

How to Cook Quinoa

It is a simple three-step process.

  • Step One: Add your water to the pot .
  • Step Two: Add quinoa to the pot and stir.
  • Step Three: Let it cook for 12 to 15 minutes until almost done (when you see just a bit of water in-between the grains).

The texture will be soft and fluffy – no oils needed!

How Much Rice can I Make With Each Pot Size?

Small Clay Pot (1.75 qt): 2 cups of rice/grains. Yields 4-5 cups cooked rice.

Medium Clay Pot (2.5 qt): 3-4 cups of rice/grains. Yields 6-8 cups of cooked rice.

Large Clay Pot (4 qt): 7-8 cups of rice/grains. Yields 12+ cups of cooked rice/grains.

X-Large Clay pot (6 qt): 9-10 cups of rice/grains. Yields 17+ cups of cooked rice/grains.

You can also make delicious rice in MEC tagine pans, they work just as well for rice making!

A few things to keep in mind when cooking your best rice:

  • Unlike in metals, there’s no need to boil water before adding rice/grains.
  • The grains & water can be added at the same time.  Because of the difference in heat, your rice may get cooked even before the water comes to a full and heavy boil.
  • For the sake of your health, we recommend cooking rice that has been processed the least, with no additives (and more importantly, no arsenic).
    • For example, imported Basmati rice (that comes in 10 or 20 pound jute/burlap bags) can be bought at any Asian, Indian, or Mediterranean stores. These are tested to have minimal or no arsenic, as they are grown in paddy fields that are not near industrial tailings/waste.
  • At the start of the process of cooking, it might look like there is not much going on in the pot for about 10 minutes or so. Don’t stir the pot; at this time the heat from the stove is being converted to the food-friendly, nutrient-preserving far-infrared heat!

Some things you will notice are different when cooking in MEC:

What you can expect?:

  • All varieties of rice and grains will turn out significantly softer, fluffy and tastier.
  • The grains will not get too sticky (except when cooking sticky rice). When the food is almost cooked, the microscopic pores of the breathable pot let the excess water evaporate from the walls of the pot. This lets the rice to cook beautifully, with each grain separate from the other.
  • Expect to save energy by cooking all you food at medium-low and low heat: While metals heat and cool at the same time, pure clay pots cook by holding all the heat inside the pot so you don’t have to go beyond medium settings — about 300 to 325 degrees which is .05 KW of energy. This is in contrast to the 450 to 500 degrees (consuming 1.39+ KW of energy!) metal needs, because metal needs to cook on medium-high or high heat to accommodate for the pots constant simultaneous heating and cooling.
  • Most importantly, expect your food to be more nutritious: The fact that rice cooks without water even getting to a boiling point is a testament to the different and gentle heat that cooks your food. This heat cooks without destroying the delicate nutritional cells: the complex carbohydrates, essential vitamins, & minerals.  On the other hand, the harsh form of heat in conventional cookware destroys the complex carbs, vitamins, and minerals in grains. What remains is mostly the starch, simple carbs, and sugars — making your food tast drier and harder.
  • The pots are easier to clean after — food does not stick to the bottom of the “breathable” walls of this pot.
  • No need to “baby-sit” or constantly monitor and stir while cooking to prevent scorching, sticking, or over cooking. The rice cooks independently and finishes promptly!

Recipes that Taste Great Over a Bed of Rice (or Other Grains!)

Here are some great clay pot recipes to combine other foods with your rice cooked perfectly in MEC:

Richly Flavored Thai Chicken & Basil Stir Fry: This Asian-style recipe pulls together the ingredients to create a stir fry that delights the taste buds. There is no need to use dark soy sauce for this recipe, regular soy sauce works great for bringing out its flavor!

Thai Chicken & Basil Stir Fry in MEC Pot
Thai Chicken & Basil Stir Fry

Rice with Lentils, Vegetables, and Spices (AKA Khichari) – A Quick & Easy One-Pot Wholesome Meal: This recipe includes a soothing combination of rice, lentils, and vegetables seasoned with spices is a one-pot wholesome meal you can enjoy any time of the day.

Amaranth With Rice – An Anytime Nourishing Meal!: Along with rice, dates, and coconut milk – this is a winning clay pot recipe for any time of the day or any season!

If you don’t have a MEC pot yet, you can cook these mouth-watering clay pot recipes in the healthiest way possible starting today. Head over to MEC’s online store and order a non-toxic rice cooker pot today!

3 Comments

Alice Loppini said:

Hi Miriam, a very well written post and great pics!!  thank you! Can’t wait to cook rice in my pot, will send you an update soon…  I make chicken soup the other day, it turned out fabulous — the chicken was so tender and juicy. I had added some vegetables; all of them came out great.  The vegetables very well cooked but didn’t lose their shape, it felt good biting into chunky pieces of veggies that were nice a soft, not mushy as they've always turned out in my other pots.  I am so happy these beautiful clay pots are part of my kitchen now; I am always looking for reasons and recipes to cook in them! Thank you ~ Alice

Annette Williams said:

Hello Miriam

I love, love, love cooking in my 3 clay pots. Brown rice cooking is so much more tasty and enjoyable. Everything taste so much better. My husband who was not a fan of quinoa and brown rice is now enjoying them to the point where he commented, "this is the best rice and peas I have ever tasted" Wow! that's a lot coming from my husband who told me that he prefers white basmati rice to brown basmati. Well, with the clay pots, my husband now has no issues with brown basmati rice or quinoa.
 
Thanks so much for these wonderful clay pots. All I use now for cooking is clay or stone pots and I love it! Makes my food taste and look gourmet every time.

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