Let's talk about rice, baby...

While staying at my aunt's place in California I was introduced to rice milk. Till then, at least to me, rice was just that white stuff on my shelf, where it has been the neighbour of ‘Mr. Oatmeal’ and ‘Miss Pasta’ for ages. It’s the white stuff I used to eat about twice a week while growing up, never disliked and mainly had chicken as its side dish.

But since my introduction to rice milk, I started to use rice differently and experienced how versatile and convenience the little grains are (especially during a Live Below the Line week).
According to the container, rice milk includes two main ingredients: rice (indeed, very surprising) and water. To me, it sounded like something I should be able to make myself. So I did…

Rice Milk
In order to make rice milk one takes 1 cup of long grain/brown rice and 4 cups of water. So called ‘Minute Rice’ is not that suitable for making rice milk. Next put both ingredients in a pan and boil for two hours on a low heat.

Two hours in long… While boiling the rice on my first ‘home made rice milk trip’ I passed different stations  called ‘Hmm.. The Rice Is Getting Dry… I Will Add Some Water’….. ‘The Rice Is Getting Dry Again… Why Isn’t adding water Mentioned In The Recipe?!?’….. ‘Looks Fine To Me… Still An Hour Left Though…’…. ‘More Water?!?!’… ‘Is It Really Two Hours? Why?’….. ‘Hmm.. Maybe 1.5Hours Will Do?’… ‘More Water..agaaain’…. ‘Done!’….

After boiling the rice past-different-stages-of-being-done, let the not-that-tasty-looking-stuff cool down. Don’t drain it! In the meantime try to locate the blender and some empty glass bottles (I wouldn’t recommend beer bottles, but jus bottles will do perfectly). Once found (and after the rice-stuff cooled down) blend the overcooked rice in the blender and pour the mixture in another pan. In case you’re thinking ‘but this looks like glue?!?!’.... you nailed it!

Next pour the rice glue /through a sieve (strainer) twice. I never really understood why I had to do it twice, but well… by the time you get to this point the kitchen is a mess anyway.. so why not keep on going a bit longer? Once sieved twice add water until the rice glue mixture’s texture gets more ‘milky’. You can also store the rice milk a bit thinker, and add the water when using it.  Saves storage space (and bottles)

Re-heat the rice milk till boiling point. In the meantime clean the glass bottles and fill them with the hot rice glue/milk. Close the cap, let cool down for a couple of hours and store in a fridge.

This week I was able to make about 2 litres of rice milk out of 1 cup of rice (about 200gr), costing me 10ct per litre (compared to 60ct per litre for cow milk). Because I bought ‘Minute Rice’ (just because it was much cheaper than long grain or brown rice) I didn’t boil it as long as stated in the original recipe. The taste in general was also not as nice as rice milk made from long grain rice.      

Rice porridge / pancakes
Now you’ve got your rice milk you can basically make any recipe with milk in it. This week I had oatmeal rice porridge for breakfast every day and on Tuesday and Friday I baked myself some pancakes for lunch and dinner, without eggs.  

Rice Porridge
Simply put about 6 table spoons of oat meal in a pan and mix it with a little bit of cold water. Then add rice milk to taste (I use about 1 cup) and put the pan on a low heat. Boil the mixture for about 4 minutes. If you want you can add some raisins, apple cubes, sliced banana, cinnamon, ginger powder, sugar and/or honey. Once cooked, let the porridge cool down for a couple of minutes. If the porridge is too thick to your taste you can also add some more water or rice milk.

Rice pancakes
For 4 pancakes one takes 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of water and 1 cup of ‘milky’ rice milk. Whisk the ingredient together until you’ve got a smooth batter. Add a pinch of salt and some sunflower oil (or in my case olive oil), whisk the mixture again and your batter is done!

In order to bake the rice milk pancakes you have to be a little bit more patient, since the lack of eggs might make the pancakes less ‘solid’. Therefore before turning the pancake, really ensure the batter isn’t runny anymore. I personally prefer to wait until one side is already quite coloured. Once thoroughly baked on both sides, put the pancake on a plate, grab some syrup, honey or sugar and.. enjoy!      

And there is more...
Next to being very versatile, tasty and easy to make... rice is also very nutritious. Quite important in general.. but especially during my Live Below the Line week. Furthermore, rice is low in saturated fat, very low in cholesterol and sodium, a good source of selenium and a very good source of manganese. Just so you know!

And there is even more...!
Besides eating rice, you can also use the grains in a more creative way. In the World School Bank I found an example of how to use uncooked rice to create colourful paintings with children. Here you can also find a great idea to use pasta (or noodles) to make necklaces. Interesting!
 

 

 

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