You can add whole grains to your meals without cooking, simply by choosing breads, breakfast cereals, and other prepared whole grain foods. If you'd like to enjoy delicious whole grains at home as a side dish, however, here are some guidelines for cooking them from scratch.
Plain Grains, general directions
Cooking most grains is very similar to cooking rice. You put the dry grain in a pan with water or broth, bring it to a boil, then simmer until the liquid is absorbed. Pasta is generally cooked in a larger amount of water; the excess is
drained away after cooking. Don't be intimidated!
Grain Pilaf, general directions
Brown small bits of onion, mushroom and garlic in a little oil in a saucepan. Add grain and cook briefly, coating the grains in oil. Then add broth in the amount specified below, and cook until all liquid is absorbed.
Important: Time Varies
Grains can vary in cooking time depending on the age of the grain, the variety, and the pans you're using to cook. When you decide they're tender and tasty, they're done. If the grain is not as tender as you like when "time is
up," simply add more water and continue cooking. Or, if everything seems fine before the liquid is all absorbed, simply drain the excess.
If you want to cook grains more quickly, let them sit in the allotted amount of water for a few hours before cooking. Just before dinner, add extra water if necessary, then cook. You'll find that cooking time is much shorter with a
Another shortcut is to cook whole grains in big batches. Grains keep 3-4 days in your fridge and take just minutes to warm up with a little added water or broth. You can also use the leftovers for cold grain salads (just toss with
chopped veggies, dressing, and anything else that suits your fancy), or toss a few handfuls into some canned soup. Cook once, then take it easy.
There are also many quick-cooking grain side-dishes on the market, even including 90-second brown rice.