Tuesday 28 June 2011

Rice Is Nice

We were headed to Victoria for the day today and I wanted to pack some sort of lunch to take along with us.  Sandwiches didn’t appeal so I turned to an old standby:  brown rice patties and cheese.  If you’re looking for something different to pack for lunch at work, to add to a picnic basket, or to feed the kids at snack time, you might want to try these patties too.

My recipe for brown rice patties dates back to the 70’s.  Like many recipes from that era, it’s very conscientious about using healthy ingredients but not really concerned about added fat.  The patties are fried.  I’ve tried baking them but it just doesn’t give them the right texture.  I continue to make them anyway, choosing to fry them in canola or olive oil, and to make sure that both the skillet and the oil are hot when the patties are placed in the pan.  Doing so ensures that the patties form a crust while absorbing the least amount of oil.

Why do I continue to make these patties?  Well, they taste really good and, even with the oil, they’re good for me. 

Brown rice is a whole grain, rich in fiber.  Fiber keeps our colon happy and helps to lower cholesterol.  Research has also shown that women who eat a diet rich in whole grains are less likely to gain weight because the fiber in whole grains helps them feel full.

Brown rice is a good source of manganese, selenium and magnesium.  Manganese helps us to synthesize fatty acids, important to maintaining a healthy nervous system.  Selenium is an essential component of several major metabolic pathways, including thyroid hormone metabolism, antioxidant defense systems, and immune function.[1]  Magnesium aids in the body’s absorption of calcium, helps our hearts maintain a steady rhythm, and helps maintain proper muscle function.[2]

Sesame seeds are a source of copper, manganese, tryptophan, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, zinc, vitamin B1 and fiber.  They contain two unique substances: sesamin and sesamolin. Both of these substances belong to a group of special beneficial fibers called lignans, and have been shown to have a cholesterol-lowering effect in humans, and to prevent high blood pressure and increase vitamin E supplies in animals.[3]

I eat my brown rice patties with cheese.  The proteins in the patties and the proteins in the cheese combined form a “complete” protein, providing all twenty-two standard amino acids.  All in all, that’s some pretty powerful nutrition packed into one tasty treat.

To make brown rice patties, combine 1-1/2 cups cold, cooked brown rice, 3 Tbsp. sesame seeds, 2 Tbsp. whole wheat flour and 1/2 tsp. each of salt and tamari sauce.  Work the mixture gently with your hands until it binds together and then form it into six 2-1/2 inch patties.  Fry them until they’re crisp and golden on both sides, then transfer them to paper towel and let them cool.  They’re best served at room temperature.



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