Updated: Feb 6
Every cook needs a quick and easy side dish that can suit everybody at the table. This rice is a simple side dish with a beautiful refreshing flavor from fresh herbs. I delight in serving this rice as a side dish to my new guests, who may or may not have a gluten problem.
Last week I posted a recipe:
Braised Pork Chops with Watermelon that I served with herb-butter rice being the perfect vehicle to soak up all the juices that accumulated around the meat.
This earthy flavorful rice dish can pair well with:
Rice is the main ingredient of this dish, but it is good quality butter combined with bunches of fresh herbs that gives it a life of its own.
Since my arrival to this country, I have often heard big talk from those who try to be healthy and especially from my mother-in-law, that white potatoes and white rice are merely empty calories. This idea that Americans seem to view as a complete truth began in the late 70s. The more health problems we acquire the more solutions by big Pharma/government have attempted to provide a solution. Right?
Consider looking at health statistics in Japanese people who eat white rice three times a day or the Ukrainians who survived many generations on white potatoes, doesn't this give you pause to think that clearly, we are doing something wrong? Please realize that not all rice is created equal, and quality isn't just a consideration but essential.
If you are a big fan of Uncle Bens rice, because it's delish, easy, convenient, and your mom used to make it, you probably don't know how bad this highly processed food is for your body. Just by skimming quickly the ingredient list, you will see how much garbage easily can be consumed from this product. Did you know that the last ingredient listed, as "spice" is a true mystery for it can mean anything including MSG?
Long Grain Parboiled Rice Enriched with Iron (ferric Orthophosphate). Niacin, Thiamin (thiamine Mononitrate) And Folate (folic Acid); Precooked Wild Rice; Salt: Maltodextrin: Hydrolyzed Soy Protein; Sugar; Vegetables* (onion, Broccoli, Parsley): Autolyzed Yeast Extract: Chicken Fat? Cornstarch, Turmeric (color); Natural Flavors (wheat); Disodium Inosinate and Disodium Guanylate; Spice.
Why Do I Feed My Family with White vs Brown Rice?
There are a wide variety of viewpoints on this subject. On one hand white rice is striped from all nutrients and basically is just a starch. And while many nationalities live on rice and live long, then why can't I eat at pizza hut and live a healthy and long life too from consuming those type of starches? Right? Shouldn't all carbs effect your body the same way? Not all carbs are created equal and nor is rice created equal.
Over a number of years, rice has been hybridized and modified thus producing ill effects upon people especially those with a weak gut lining and causing gluten to be a big problem in the 21st century. Therefore, choose your rice carefully and read the labels to know what you are purchasing.
So why not eat brown rice? Studies that came out in 2012, warned against rice consumption because it could contain high levels of arsenic. Since then, many specialists looked more closely into this problem and based on Chris Kresser's explanation, brown rice and brown rice processed products like rice cakes, rice pasta, breakfast rice cereal, crackers, brown rice crisps, etc., can lead to cancer. Usually, healthy eaters who follow a whole grain, gluten free diet are in danger. By consuming brown rice products, they are clearly at a significant risk of arsenic overexposure, especially if a person eats more than one serving per day.
Chris Kresser stated that: "Many of the white rice products tested had fairly low levels of arsenic, and in the context of a few servings a week for an adult, it’s probably not an issue. As for very young children and infants, I don’t recommend serving them rice products in general, so they shouldn’t be exposed to arsenic from rice anyway. Pregnant women may want to be cautious about their rice intake and minimize their exposure to arsenic to protect their developing fetus; finding another safe starch to replace rice during pregnancy would be wise".
And last but not least is phytic acid
While brown rice technically has much more nutrients, in the bran, but isn't readily available to the body and the bran is the most problematic part of the rice as far as high phytic acid content. Like anything from the grain's family, rice contains anti-nutrients like phytates that can make it hard for our bodies to absorb the minerals it contains. In fact, white rice is lower in phytic acid than most nuts, seeds and definitely most other grains. That's why no presoaking of white rice is needed.
However, in my cooking practice I follow the old-fashioned way of preparing most grains, nuts, seeds, and beans, which is soaking them first before consumption.
Let's do it...
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
Author: Inna of innichkachef.com
Served: 4-6 portions
Tips On Cooking Fluffy White Rice
Instead of completely following the instruction guide on the package, try adding a little bit less water or any other liquid such as stock or broth than is recommended. Usually the ratio 1:2 doesn't work too great, especially if you desire to avoid creating mushy and overly cooked rice. Once the seasoned water/liquid comes to a boil add rinsed rice (rinsing helps to have a fluffy result as well as removes extra starch and any remaining arsenic). Immediately lower the heat, cover and let cook for 10-12 minutes. Turn off the heat and keep covered for another 5 minutes. Use a fork to separate grains. If for some reason your rice looks as though it has too much liquid and is overdone, place a paper towel on top of the pot then place on the lid allowing the rice to steam. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes.
2 cups long-grain white rice (I used basmati in the video)
8-10 Tablespoons of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon of Celtic salt
1/3-1/2 cup packed basil leaves
1/3 cup packed mint leaves
1/3 cup packed parsley leaves
1/3 cup chives, chopped
1/3 cup packed cilantro leaves
Pour 3½ cups of water into a pot and set the temperature to high heat and bring water to a boil.
Add well-rinsed rice into the pot, turn down the heat, and cover with a lid and let cook for 10-12 minutes.
3. Meanwhile make the herb-butter: Simply chop all herbs and add to the soft, room temperature butter. Mix all together until your mixture is has a green paste appearance.
4. Turn off the heat and use a fork to fluff the rice. Next, place the herb-butter mixture into the pot, cover and let rest for 5 minutes.
5. Open the lid and with a fork fluff rice one more time. Serve right away.