Part II: Cooking with Whole Grains (how to soak, cook and even sprout these sexy super grains)
Have you ever tried to cook quinoa and found that you had added too much water, which resulted in a bowl of gooey mush? Or perhaps you gave soaking a go and ended up with a gelatinous mound of buckwheat.
One of the most important things to master when adding these super grains into your diet, is how to properly soak and cook them. You can either make or break them, all depending on how you do this.
I remember the first time I cooked quinoa I through everything into a pot, filled it with water and hoped for the best. Turns out that wasn’t the best idea and I learnt pretty fast that there is actually a simple recipe to follow and once you have that nailed your all set.
Think of soaking as re-awaken the grain, turning the nutrients on so that they are not only good for us but also more digestible. Basically, your skin will glow that much brighter, your hair will shine that much more and best of all you’ll feel amazing.
Soaking doesn’t need to be complicated, just pull out some grains, tip them into a bowl, add water and you’ll be good to go the next day when you cook them.
All whole grains NEED to be soaked in water for 12-24 hour, except quinoa, which only needs 10-12 hours.
Soak 1 cup of grains in 3-4 cups of water.
Once your grains have had a long soak, tip the grains through a sieve and give them a good rinse to remove any of the phytic layer (which surrounds the grain and prevents easy absorption). The grains are now ready for cooking, hooray. (maybe instead …yeeha!)
Note: I love adding Kombu (a type of seaweed) to my grains as another way to boost nutrient levels. I add 1 piece of Kombu to my grain when cooking and then at the end, once it’s cooked, I either throw away the seaweed or thinly slice it into my dish.
Let’s Cook Quinoa
If you’re after a grain that’s foolproof to cook and super quick to prepare, you’re in the right place. Quinoa takes 15 minutes from start to finish and requires no babysitting while it cooks.
I said this a lot in my Blog, but I’m going to repeat it. When you take the time to cook quinoa, make enough for the whole week. I do this for 2 reasons;
It lasts really well in the fridge for one week and in the freezer for up to one month.
This way you can easily whip up different meals and get it into your diet more easily.
Basic Quinoa Recipe:
- 1 cup of quinoa
- 2 1/2 cups of boiling water
- Salt and pepper to taste
Soak the quinoa in water for 10-12 hours and then place in a sieve and rinse under cold water for 1 minute.
Tip the quinoa into a large saucepan with the boiling water; add salt and pepper and bring to the boil. With the lid on simmer for 10-12 minutes. You want all the water in the pan to be absorbed and that’s when you know it’s cooked. The quinoa should be fluffy and light.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 5-7 days. You can also store this in the freezer in a snap lock bag once it’s cool.
My Recipes with Quinoa:
Let’s cook brown rice
You all know I love brown rice, but the reason I don’t cook up a large batch is because brown rice is very difficult to reheat properly. I make enough just for our meal and for leftovers the next day and that’s it.
Cooking brown rice:
- 1 1/2 cups of brown rice
- 2 1/3 cups of water
- Pinch of salt
Soak the brown rice overnight or for at least 12- 24 hours. Drain and rinse the rice and place it in a pot and add the water with a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and then simmer over a low heat for 25 minutes with the lid on. Do this until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is soft.
Make sure to only remove the lid at the near the end just to check if it needs any extra water added.
My recipes with brown rice:
Sweet and Sour stir-fry (replace noodles with brown rice)
Let’s cook oats
I’m sure you’ve all made a few porridges in your day and so this section should be rather easy. I do find, however, that a lot of people don’t know about soaking their oats. Am I right?
I mostly eat porridge by scooping a few tbsp of my bircher into a bowl, add some almond milk and let it cook. My soaking is done without me having to even think twice. But if you’re eating your oats for another reason make sure to soak them first, even if you only have 30 minutes. This will make them more absorbable and will shorten the cooking time.
- 1 cup of oats
- 1 1/2 cups of water or milk
- Pinch of salt
Soak your oats in your liquid of choice, ideally overnight or for a couple of hours.
Transfer the bowl of soaking oats into your saucepan and add your water or milk. Bring the mixture to the boil over medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes. It should become creamy and the oats should be soft. Finish with a pinch of salt for flavour.
My recipes with oats:
Let’s Cook Buckwheat
Buckwheat is a more difficult grain and people often get it wrong the first time they try and so they might never try it again. I’m here to change that. We can’t let one bad experience ruin your future for buckwheat salads because they are gong to rock your world.
Note: Use milk when making gluten free porridge from buckwheat and use water when making it for savory options such as a salad.
- 1 cup of buckwheat
- 1 1/2 cups of water or milk
- Pinch of salt
Soak your buckwheat for 12-24 hours and then rinse it thoroughly before cooking. Tip the buckwheat into a pot and add the water or milk and salt. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes.
Recipes with Buckwheat:
Once you’ve soaked and cooked these wonderful grains a few times you won’t even think twice before you tip them into a bowl at night or cook different whole grains all at once to cover you for the week.
They are an amazing bunch of grains and grains that I know you’re truly going to love. So what are you waiting for, go on, get soaking and have fun experimenting with all the fabulous ways that you can add these into your diet. The opportunities really are endless.
As always I would love to hear how you find soaking and cooking them, so please comment below and share your thoughts. Also please help me spread the word about these grains and share this article with any friends and family you think would be interested.
Until next time,