Grains

Grains

By
Tony Chiodo
Contains
11 recipes
Published by
Hardie Grant Books
ISBN
9781740668873
Photographer
Chris Chen

Wholegrains have long been revered across the globe. They are power-packed, life-sustaining, nutritious foods containing protein, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats and fibre. Wholegrains are seeds loaded with nutrition, which if planted and sprouted have the ability to become plants, multiplying themselves to provide even more food.

My first experience with grains was a disaster. Millet, quinoa and amaranth all looked alike (and I was sure that I’d bought bird seed). I followed the recipe: wash, add water, stir and cook. Out came a dull, tasteless mush. After many more disasters down the track, wholegrains are now one of my daily staples. Since my first encounter I’ve gone on to learn that each grain has its own inherent identity, particular taste and cooking method.

We all intuit that grains must be good for us, that they are a natural wholefood containing good levels of fibre and nutrients and that somehow we’d like to start a romance with grains. But we’re often unsure how to approach them. As with all good things, start slowly, have a strategy and a plan B.

Following are the dos of romancing the grain:

Buy small amounts, such as 500 g packets, and search for the best-quality grains. Try organic foods stores or Mediterranean grocers.

Store grains in glass jars, in a cool, dry and preferably dark spot. Make sure you label the jars – many grains look similar.

Measure the quantity you’re about to use and rinse thoroughly to remove dust and any husks. Also, measure the water quantity correctly before cooking.

Use heavy-based stainless steel or cast-iron saucepans or deep frying pans with tight-fitting lids. If you have a gas cooker, have a flame diffuser at hand for slow cooking.

Add unrefined sea salt while the grain is cooking to enhance the flavour and help alkalise the grain.

Grains are a blank canvas and require a lot of flavouring. Add oils such as extra virgin olive or sesame and then splash with rice vinegar, champagne vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice. Feel free to add some soft herbs at the end of cooking, such as parsley, coriander or basil leaves.

A grain-based meal can become a complete meal by adding a soy product, such as tofu or tempeh, or beans. Grains and beans are a principal food for many cultures around the world, making them a great comfort food.

If you’ve got a weak digestion, soak your grains the night before. That is, rinse them as usual then soak in the required amount of water as listed in the recipe. The next day cook the grain along with the soaking water. Soaking the grain the night before also quickens the cooking time.

Another great tip is to chew your grains. Try and make the meal into a liquid before gulping it down. This will help you digest them more easily.

Dry-roasting grains such as brown rice, millet, whole spelt and whole rye will help to crack the shell, accentuate the flavour and reduce the cooking time. To do this, take a heavy-based saucepan, add the required quantity of grain and place over a medium heat and stir continuously until the grains become golden and a toasty nutty smell is released. Add liquid and continue to cook, or cool and store in a jar for later.

Featured Recipes in this Chapter

    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again