Saturday, October 29, 2011

Grains

Rice is a staple grain. Rice is plentiful and inexpensive, can be stored for use year round, and forms the foundation of traditional Indian food. Rice is a plant starch, high in energy, and typically eaten at every meal. Rice is simple and easy to cook. The focus is on the rich variety of sauces made from fresh seasonal ingredients, herbs and fresh ground spices.


Monthly
dry grain



brown rice
6 months
10 lbs
essential
puffed brown rice
1 month
0.5 lb
optional
flattened rice
1 month
2 lbs
optional


Of the total 4 lbs per person per day, I plan for 25% cooked grains daily. Cooked grains weigh twice as much as dry grains. So I plan for 0.5 lb dry grain daily, which will be soaked and cooked to 1 lb cooked grain. 4# weekly, 16# monthly.

BROWN RICE

Indians use different varieties of rice, but the favorite and most famous is long grain Basmati rice. Brown rice was traditional before inexpensive mechanical milling to remove the hull and bran became common.
Brown rice can be found everywhere, if you accept short, medium or long grain. I’ve never found a grocery without brown rice.

Brown rice keeps six months. I shop every month for a one month supply. Shopping for one person, I bring home a 10 lb bag every month, depending on what’s left in my bulk dry store. I could keep three times more. Brown rice comes in it’s own 10 lb sack. (My dry grains also include oats, and other dry goods include legumes.)

Long grain Basmati brown rice. 10#; store 1-2 months; keeps 6 months. Rice is always in the galley pantry. 10# = 1-2 months. Between a bag at each home and boat, that gives me 20# and 2-4 months.

RICE FLAKES

Rice flakes are parboiled and rolled brown rice, and require a trip to an Indian grocer or online. Rice flakes are a convenience food. Dishes with rice flakes are quick and easy. This makes rice flakes great for breakfast and lunch dishes. Because rice flakes are already cooked, then dried, they just require soaking. Rice flakes are available in thin and thick. Thin soaks quickly, while thick holds its shape better. Rice flakes don’t keep as long as whole rice.

Rice flakes. 2#; store 1 month (half-life); keeps 2-3 months (shelf-life). Between a bag at each home and boat, that gives me 4#. Note Quaker Oats is 2#, and I typically keep 2 bins at each home and boat!

RICE FLOUR

Rice flour requires a trip to an Indian grocer, but can easily be dry ground in a spice grinder or wet ground in a blender. There is no need to keep separate milled rice flour. Small amounts can be ground in spice grinder. Or wet grind from whole rice, in blender, as for pancake batter. Grind fresh, as with spices. By grinding yourself, you control the process. You can try flours from long, medium or short grains. Flours and breads are processed foods. Baked breads and crackers are dry, with higher energy density than whole foods (1000-1500 calories/lb.) Baking was never central part of Indian cuisine. Most traditional Indian homes had stoves, but not ovens.

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