Smorgasbord Health – Cook from Scratch with Carol Taylor – Brown Rice – Nutritious and Delicious

Welcome to our weekly look at the nutritional value and health benefits of food that is usually included in our daily diet. This week one of my larder staples and a food that we eat several time a week… in moderate quantities since we are not as active as we used to be.

Now time to hand the raw brown rice grains over to Carol Taylor to work her magic.

Nutritious and delicious Brown Rice.

Brown rice not something I cook with often my first foray into cooking Brown Rice some years ago now was a disaster and liken to just a plate of stodge and not one I repeated….

Back into kitchen for Take Two.

How you should cook brown rice….

  • For 1 cup of Brown rice use 1 ¼ cups of water slightly less than the 2 to 1 ratio you get on the packet of rice…
  • Like many cooks before me I used the standard ratio and the one I use for white rice…Big Mistake!
  • Bring rice, water and coarse salt…1/4 tsp per cup of rice to the boil. Cover; reduce the heat to a slow, steady simmer for about 30 minutes…
  • Let the rice sit for 5-10 minutes and the fluff it up with a fork.
  • Result lovely, fluffy brown rice and not the sticky stodge that emerged from my kitchen all those years ago…Yeahh!

The thing I like about rice dishes as well is that they are quick and easy to do…less fuss
I must admit when I cooked brown rice all years ago and it was such a disaster I have steered clear of it…I eat black rice or raspberry rice as some call it here and I believe it is equally as healthy… Do not confuse it with wild rice though they are two different rice’s… some fans of black rice say move over brown rice but brown rice is plentiful here and there are many different brands in the Royal Project shop here and I am going to have fun trying them all.

One thing I remember very clearly on my very first visit to Thailand was the many different colours of rice all in sacks in the markets such a wonderful site and one which stays with me…I suppose as rice is grown here you will get many, many varieties as it is a staple in the Thai diet.

Sally’s idea about eating brown rice with banana and honey for breakfast is a great one and as I have plenty of bananas at the moment a welcome change and one which I think the kids will like…Thank you Sally x

..Mushroom rice pilaf


  • 1 med onion chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 cup of sliced fresh mushrooms of your choice or mix them which is lovely.
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup of brown rice
  • 2 cups of homemade chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Start by browning the chopped onions and garlic in a large saucepan with the olive oil, add the sliced mushrooms and cook for about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the brown rice and stir to coat in the oil then add your chicken stock.
  3. Bring to a slow boil then reduce heat and cook for 35-45 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
  4. Keep an eye on it as I find with brown rice it can easily turn from cooked perfectly to something you don’t want to eat….
  5. At this point you could also add a handful of spinach and what was really nice was my grandson requested a poached egg on his (he has) poached eggs on everything…lol
  6. I like Indian spices so I cooked mine with some cumin, cloves and touch of turmeric….Play with the flavours these dishes are so very versatile and you can add almost anything…
    Red peppers or any colour peppers, a handful of nuts, pineapple… as I said play with it…get the kids to join in they love experimenting and like the poached egg suggestion it was actually very nice..
  7. One of my favourite things is Feta cheese (and spice) so these little spicy lamb kebabs went down a treat…

Spicy Lamb and feta skewers…served with Brown rice…


  • 500 gm lamb mince
  • 1 large red onion, half of it thinly sliced and the other half grated or finely chopped.
  • 1 tbsp Harissa
  • 50 gm Feta cheese
  • Large handful of parsley chopped
  • Large handful of mint chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon/ lime
  • 300 gm cooked brown basmati rice
  • 85 gm black kalamata olives quartered
  • 1 cucumber diced…I use the small Japanese cucumbers
  • 300 gm cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Firstly soak you wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes…saves burning them…
  2. Cook the rice then rinse under cold water and drain thoroughly.
  3. Heat your grill or fire up your BBQ…we can because it’s hot here…lol our summer to your winter…
  4. Now it’s time to get those in the bowl mix that mince with the Harissa, feta, grated onion and seasoning and combine thoroughly…Now shape into little sausage shapes around your pre soaked skewers.
  5. Lay on a baking tray and grill for 6-8 mins until slightly browned and the mince is just cooked.
  6. Mix the remaining ingredients to your brown rice and serve and enjoy…

Nasi Goreng…Is a lovely Indonesian stir fried rice dish…


  • 2 cups uncooked brown rice
  • 8 oz boneless chicken thighs cut into ½ inch strips
  • 6 oz raw prawns peeled
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp shrimp paste
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp chilli bean sauce or 1-2 tsp sambal oelek
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce

To garnish:

  • 3 tbsp chopped spring onion
  • ½ cup chopped coriander

Let’s Cook!

  1. Cook rice, then rinse and drain and let cool for at least 2 hours or overnight…The best rice stir fries are made with rice cooked the day before or well cooled which is something I have learnt since living here.
  2. Add sesame oil and salt to eggs and put to one side.
  3. Heat your wok and let’s cook…. Add the oil and wait until it very hot and slightly smoky…this will heat you up on a cold day…
  4. Add the onions, ginger, garlic, shrimp paste, black pepper and stir fry for 2 minutes squashing down the shrimp paste as you cook as it is quite firm..
  5. Now add your chicken strips and prawns and cook for 2 minutes then add rice and cook for a further 3 minutes…
  6. Getting hot in the kitchen?
  7. Now add the sambal oelek or chilli bean sauce, oyster sauce and dark soy and continue to stir fry for 2 minutes….Finally add egg mixture and stir fry fry another minute.

As Nasi Goreng has many versions this is where one of them kicks in and instead of adding the egg mix to the rice a small omelette is made and then finely cut in strips and add to the top of the rice dish alongside the spring onion and coriander.

I hope you enjoy… Are you thinking you cannot get the ingredients? Most Asian stores carry these around the world as do many of the major supermarkets also on my new blog I have links to Amazon and they can take the pain out of sourcing the ingredients and deliver it to your door…

Brown rice is also a lovely vegan meal with broccoli, spring onions and cauliflower…How vibrant does that look…don’t you just want to eat it whatever your diet?

Like any stir fried rice dish you really can add any meat or vegetable of your choice and it makes a little go a long way so all those leftovers and little bits of this and that …just have a look in your fridge or garden and ENJOY!

I am sure that you will discover a whole new world of taste by trying out Carol’s wonderful recipes and we look forward to hearing how you get on.

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:  Amazon US

Connect to Carol

Blog: Carol Cooks 2
Twitter: @CarolCooksTwo
Facebook: Carol Taylor

Food Pharmacy – Brown Rice – packed with nutrients and fibre and helps rid your body of toxins.

There is quite a bit in the press about how eating grains can be harmful to your health. I do agree that a ‘white’ diet of refined grains every day does not provide the body with any basic nutrients except for sugars. However, whilst I am on the fence when it comes to wheat which has undergone so many natural and man-made changes in the last ten years, I do feel very strongly that some grains do belong in our diet and for very good reason. Apart from the nutritional content, fibre plays an important role in our lives and to be honest, brown rice is a staple that I keep in my larder the whole time and I always have at least a couple of tablespoons a day even if I am watching my weight. Here is why…..

As the body releases waste and toxins from the cells and tissues it will pass through to the intestines. There are some normal side effects that might occur as this takes place but if you include fibre, particularly brown rice the toxins will be removed quickly and efficiently, speeding up the detox process.


Of all rice – any form of brown rice will contain more of the nutrients as it loses only the outer layer of the grain called the hull. During the process that turns brown rice to white rice it loses 67% of its vitamin B3 (niacin) 80% of B1, 90% of B6 – half of its manganese and phosphorus, 60% of its iron and all the dietary fibre and essential fatty acids. Do you realise that to make white rice acceptable as a food it has to be artificially enriched with B1 B3 and iron? It is amazing the difference that processing a food can have on its nutritional content.

Brown rice is a very rich source of manganese –essential for blood health. It is also necessary for bone health and for it’s antioxidant capabilities in preventing damage to cells, particularly blood cells.

Brown rice is rich in fibre, which cleans the system of toxins and harmful deposits in the blood so helps keep your cholesterol down. Like oats it tends to release its energy slowly so maintaining stable blood sugar levels. The fibre is insoluble which means that it works through your system efficiently. This prevents some organs from getting into an overload situation like the liver and the bile duct – a speedy process through the system ensures that the bile duct does not secrete too much bile which can lead to gallstones.

Proteins like turkey are high in selenium but so is brown rice and it is very important for our immune systems and thyroid function – also to help prevent cancer as it encourages healthy DNA repair in the cells.

Magnesium is present in high quantities and this is associated with a number of systemic problems such as asthma – high blood pressure –migraine headaches and reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Magnesium does this because it helps to regulate nerve and muscle tone by balancing the action of calcium. You will see that very often calcium supplements are teamed with magnesium.

Calcium tends to rush around frantically and needs magnesium to curb its enthusiasm. For example if allowed to, calcium will overwhelm the nerve cells in the muscles and they become over activated. This causes the muscle to overwork and wear out faster. This occurs if you have insufficient magnesium in your diet. Another reason that magnesium is so important is for bone health and about two thirds of the magnesium is found in the bones of the human body. The rest is stored for when needed. Brown rice provides nearly a quarter of your daily requirement in one serving.

The human body is over 100,000 years old. In that time the body has developed an incredible defence mechanism called the survival instinct. In some cases it is miraculous. It is only in recent centuries that we have begun to refine our grains.

Recent researchers are maintaining that we ate few carbohydrates in the form of grain but I do dispute this. We would have eaten anything in our path that was in the least bit edible and certainly wild grains would have been a seasonal addition to the meat and fish that were hunted.

So our bodies spent the first 99,900 years eating whole-grains including rice. Wheat only came along about 10,000 years ago. During those many thousands of years our bodies evolved a very precise dietary support system that provided it with everything it needed to survive and be the fittest. It was essential for the survival of mankind that only the fittest made it through. This ensured that each generation was stronger.

If you go back to what I was saying about the loss of nutrients in the processing of brown rice to white rice you can perhaps understand why we are now facing the sort of medical problems that we are. We are depriving the body of not just a food group but the essential nutrients and energy that they provide.

You do not have to eat a plateful every day -for rice I would suggest two large tablespoons – it is actually very nice to have a cereal bowl of white rice with some warm milk and a banana for breakfast if you prefer a non-savoury option.

Brown rice needs to be prepared a little carefully – don’t get the easy cook as this has been partly processed. I suggest the real stuff, but put in a large glass bowl before cooking with cold water to cover it and whisk as hard as you can – then drain and then repeat until the water is clear. This gets rid of dust etc.

It takes a little more boiling than white rice and check after about 20 minutes until you get a slightly chewy and nutty tasting grain.

Use for any other dish that you would cook rice for. Curry, risotto, paella or mixed through a salad.


You will find the other food pharmacy posts here.

©SallyCronin 2006