What is an rice alternative
Steamed rice is perfect fluffy, starchy and flavorful accompaniment curry based meals. But with wanting to try low carb meals rice is not going to be in the cards for every meal. What can you eat instead of rice when you are planning on making curry-based meal for your whole family but want to stay low carb? Rice, even though it’s super tasty and perfect to eat with curries, wasn’t an option for me for some time. If you are wondering, what did I do to cut down the amount of rice I was eating without compromising on flavor. I would gladly tell you in this post. I eat almost all my vegetables as curries. I love eating that way because I can have wide variety of curry sauce options in a single meal and do not have to compromise on spices I love most even when I am trying to eat healthier. Another reason is I love making meals ahead and meal planning. I do cook white or brown rice once or twice a week, and go with rice replacements for every other meals.
But what are my top favorite rice replacement ideas?
Whole grain blended rice alternative
Buckwheat, Farro and whole barley blend is my go to first choice when it comes to replacing rice. I can get the same satisfaction of eating rice because it taste like whole grain cooked rice, but only better. This grain blend is super easy to make and freezes well, for long period of time. I usually cook them separately and mix them together because buckwheat cooks faster than whole barley and Farro.
Buckwheat brings a more rice like texture to the blend. I stumbled upon this awesome pseudo grain in a little Russian grocery store way back in 2014 while looking for ways to up the fiber intake per meal. It is a very popular staple in Eastern Europe, Russia, and Asia. With a glycemic index of 35 and high dietary fiber of 4.5 g per cup it is a good way for me to curb those glucose spikes without compromising on flavor. Most of the times buckwheat is used in backing, as pasta or porridge.
Farro is no surprise to anyone in backing community. Farro not one but a blend of three ancient grains. Emmer wheat, Einkorn and spelt. It is that aromatic, fresh and wholesome. It has the same aroma of fresh red rice harvested fresh from the field, soaked, boiled slowly in big cauldrons. If you have ever taken a whiff, you know what I am talking about. Farro has 5 grams fiber per serving and is rich in vitamin and essential minerals.
Ferro is very popular addition to soups and salads as you may already know. How I cook ferro is by soaking it over night and then simmering It 10 to 15 minutes and draining water.
Whole barley is just awesome. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it delivers 8 grams of fiber per serving and just as awesome in its nutty aroma and chewy texture. When you are looking to buy whole barley its important it go for hull-less barley and not to confuse it with pearled barley. Pearled barley is polished version of this ancient grain that does not have as many nutrients intact as hull- less version.
How to cook mixed whole grain rice replacement
Soak equal part of whole grain barley and Farro for over 2 hours in cold water. then boil for an hour or until soft and fluffy in unsalted water. Drain the excess water well and set aside to cook. Next cook buckwheat in same way according to package instructions. blend all three grains together and use in the meals. I usually cook a big batch of multigrain blend at once, then portion it and freeze in individual portions. Buckwheat farro and whole barley grain blend filling, nutty and chewy. It goes well with tempered or dry curries that has medium to spicy heat level.
#2 Whole grain high fiber sourdough loaf
Making a whole grain high fiber loaf as a rice replacement goes to way back to our roots. People made hearty multigrain breads that used sourdough as leaven and fermented over long period of time through the known history. Even though we are talking about bread here, these breads were very different from ones what we know today. Wheat wasn’t polished and they often used any available grains to make it. Sometimes even beans and pulses and corn was used. Bread was very dense because it didn’t rise much. But it does have this amazingly wonderful flavor from long fermented grains.
I stumbled upon lots of old recipes and ways of making bread in ancient times, in books and documentaries and instantly fell in love with how whole, unprocessed, and naturally intact those recipes were. True they took days to make bread and it was lot of work at first, but flavors it delivered were incomparable. It delivers sweet, nutty, and dense bread that went perfect with my curry-based meals.
After making the bread I could either slice them fresh or let it dry to make some rusks.
Rusks soak up curry sauces in the bowl and would expand to make the filling, nourishing flavor balancing part of the meal. Bread freezes really well and keep in the freezer over two months at a time so its really easy to make and freeze several breads to use in meals over the period of time. To thaw out just toast them in air fryer and they would be just like the day they were made. This curry loving girl had found her perfect, nourishing, low GI, unprocessed bread fits her pallet and hart and stuck with it.
Click to read my bread recipe
#3 Vegetable Fufu
Making fufu is an uncharted territory for me as at now, but I have no doubt that I am going to love it. I have checked out so many lovely variations of it and lots of awesome recipes so far and can’t wait to try them out myself. Fufu is traditionally made with Casava and plantains. It is traditional to Africa and made with cleaned pureed root vegetables.
Starchy slurry is then cooked on hot pan with scant little water added at the end to loosen the texture. Result is perfectly mashed glutinous rice like mash that goes wonderfully with curries and soups.
There are lot of variations of making it with different root vegetables. Two that I am exited to try out is carrots and potatoes blend or cabbage and oatmeal blend.
#4 Red finger millet Fufu
This is very popular dish in Sri Lanka eaten with a meat curry for the breakfast and dinner. This hearty rice alternative is made by boiling red millet or whole grain Indian millet flour with water until it comes and comes together as a thick mass. Throughout the cooking process vigorous stirring is needed to prevent the lumps from forming. Resulting smooth mass is then allowing to cool down enough to handle and made in to individual portion sizes.
Method of making finger millet mash is very similar to the making of fufu. Texture and serving suggestions of resulting grain balls is very similar to Fufu. Typically in Sri Lanka we serve finger millet grain balls with any red meat curry. most popular option is to serve it with red pork curry.
#5 Mung bean or whole brown lentils boiled
My last and humble rice replacement is just humble boiled green lentils and mung bean blend. I just love having boiled mung bean and lentil blend with light vegetable curries and a salad
I hope you enjoyed my take on rice replacement ideas. I hope you will try some of them and let me know what you think about it. Also, I would love to hear about what you guys use as rice replacements. I am always looking forward to be inspired. Let me know in a comment or a message to me below.
Let me know what your rice replacement ideas are