Adorning White Rice With Nettle Specks To Boost Nutrition & Visual Appeal
If, like me, you don’t have a rice cooker, stovetop rice may bring some traumatic memories to mind. I can think of at least two pots irrevocably lost to burned rice. If that sounds familiar, this recipe might be as healing for you as it has been for me.
This recipe is fool-proof! I promise that you won’t end up with a burnt pot. All you’ll get is perfectly fragrant, fluffy white rice. I had sworn off cooking rice altogether until this recipe came along. I’m sure it will boost your rice cooking confidence as it has mine.
I don’t make Jasmine, or other milled white rice varieties often, but some meals are just best suited with the aromatic and sweet flavor of germ and bran free Jasmine. The fragrant compounds in long-grained Jasmine are free to be fully expressed and experienced only in this milled form. If glycemic index is not an issue for you, a small amount of buttery Jasmine rice paired with the occasional veggie and protein based meal is treat worth enjoying.
Adding wild Stinging Nettles to the rice infuses it with a hint of a fresh grassy flavor, makes it more visually appealing and infuses it with loads of minerals and nutrients. Nettles are one of the most nutritious greens that you can get your hands on. This plant’s medicinal properties have been recognized across cultures for millennia, and it has established that incorporating both leaves and stems of the Nettle plant into your meals can help prevent anemia and myriad inflammatory diseases.
Packed with iron and accompanied by complimentary mineral and vitamin cofactors, nettles will supply you with these and many other nutrients:
- high in iron
- high in calcium
- an excellent source of vitamin K1
- pro-vitamin A
- vitamin B complex
- vitamin C
As always, I recommend that you pair veggies and grains with healthy fats and proteins for maximum nutrient absorption and a steady blood sugar. Two perfect pairings for Nettles and Jasmine Rice are my Purple Eggs With Sorrel Pesto Over Nettle Infused Rice or Yoga Master’s Veggie Korma.
This simple recipe requires no cooking notes – other than my usual rant about why you should take the time to ferment grains before cooking. If this is new to you, be sure to read below. If you’ve fallen off the soaking wagon, this refresher might inspire you to get back on track.
Remember, that even if you don’t soak or sprout your nuts, it’s not a reason to excuse soaking grains. When you consume grains you’re usually consuming them in much higher quantities and the surface area of each little grain adds up to way more phytotoxins per bite!
This is one food you want to be sure to buy Organic. Because of pesticide build up in soil, all rice, but especially conventional pesticide sprayed rice, contains heavy metals like lead. Buying organic rice will help reduce your exposure to heavy metals.
SOAKING GRAINS IS AN EASY AND VITAL STEP FOR GOOD HEALTH
All grains, nuts and seeds contain a series of anti-nutrients which act as natural pesticides, sprouting inhibitors and other essential factors for the health of the plant. Unfortunately when consumed by humans, unlike the multi-chamber stomachs of ruminants, the acids in our guts are not strong enough to brake those chemicals down effectively.
As a result the physic acid, tannins, gluten-related proteins and enzyme-inhibitors in unsoaked grains will:
- bind with essential minerals in the gut, flushing them from your body
- block new mineral absorption
- irritate the gut
- inhibit digestion
- lead to bone loss
- cause allergies
- put stress on the pancreas
Altogether these effects can lead to health problems — but can be prevented with one simple step.
During the soaking process the acids in vinegar or lemon juice help to eliminate anti-nutrient compounds while allowing the plant to sprout. The sprouted seed released from dormancy becomes a live food once again. Nuetralizing the seed-preserving compounds allows for the body to stay mineralized while being further fortified with essential minerals (meaning that your body cannot produce them) otherwise locked into the grain. Bio-available vitamin content increases, “tannins, complex-sugars, gluten and other difficult-to-digest substances are partially broken down into simpler components that are more readily available for absorption.” (source)
As you can see, this process is non-negotiable if you’d like to improve or maintain good health. The bonus is that your cooking times will be drastically reduced. By about half for most grains!
I’ll admit that I don’t soak and sprout my nuts and seeds. You really need a dehydrator for that, and due to considerations of space, time and energy, I’ve decided to let that slide. My diet contains a very small fraction of nuts and seeds compared to how much, and how often, grains play a role in my diet. This feels good to me–and it ends up saving me time!
TIPS FOR GOOD HEALTH AND EASE
- Soak for a minimum of 6 hours, but you can leave the grains in the same water for about 24 hours.
- If you’re not ready to cook when 24 hours is up, simply refill with fresh water and vinegar.
- Soak in a dark warm place, like a cupboard or oven (while turned off).
- Pour off the soaking liquid before cooking and rinse the grains at least once.
- For extra pure grains: pour off soaking liquid, add fresh water, stir well and let any bubbles or foam rise, pour water off. Repeat until all the impurities have been released and the water is clear.
- Soaked grains absorb water, decreasing cooking time and grain to water ratios. Once you’ve made soaked grains a few times you’ll get a better sense of water ratios and will know when to add less, or more.
- Store dry grains in a glass container with a tight lid, away from direct sunlight to prevent rancidity of the fragile oils contained in the seeds.