Need some fresh breakfast ideas? Don't reserve rice for dinner—it's time to bring this healthy, easily digestible carb to your a.m. table
Oatmeal, toast, smoothies... when you think of typical breakfast fare, chances are a bowl of rice doesn't come to mind. But billions of people around the world eat rice for breakfast as well as lunch and dinner, says lawyer and cook Nisha Katona, whose new book Pimp My Rice is all about the grain. And since rice is full of healthy carbs, easy to digest, and unrefined, it actually makes a perfect morning meal, she argues, giving you energy without weighing you down. (You should also try one of 10 Ancient Grains to Switch Up Your Healthy Carbs.)
Plus, rice is unbelievably forgiving. It'll hang out in your pantry for ages until you need it. You don't have to peel it or soak it (most of the time, anyway). It's even okay to overcook it—in many countries, the burned crust on the bottom of the pan is considered the best part.
For all these reasons, Katona makes the case for elevating rice to the main event—at any of your meals. "In the West, it's usually wheeled out as a quiet and dull side dish. It's only seen as a vehicle for real food," she says. "But paired and cooked with good, simple, synergistic ingredients, rice is a delicious and healthy way to start your day." She's scoured the globe researching how the grain is celebrated and prepared in different cultures and unearthing a wide variety of types (there are over 40,000!). Try these three for your morning meal. (Or eat them at night, like these Breakfast for Dinner recipes we love.)
Short Grain Brown Rice
Since brown rice is unmilled, it has the germ and outer layers with healthy fats, giving it a nutrition boost and a long-lasting slow burn. It's nutty taste pairs well with deep, sweet ingredients, like in Nisha's Hot Date Congee.
Any short-grain, round white rice will work to give you that velvety texture. Look for round shiny grains that look like tapioca. Try it in Ginger Beer Rhubarb Rice for breakfast.
To make good risotto, you need a short or medium grain that will absorb the flavors of what you're cooking it with and also release starch as it cooks, giving you that creamy sauce. Arborio, Carnaroli, and Maratelli are all examples that will work in a Builder's Breakfast Bowl.