7 Easy Tips To Cook Whole Grains For Your Health At Home
Image Credit: Pixabay

Everybody who knows anything about health and healthy diets today knows that eating more whole grains is much more beneficial than eating wholemeal flours and refined flours. This is also the reason why even when eating out, most of us order dishes that include whole grains like quinoa, barley and millets. Whole grains are excellent sources of dietary fiber, which plays a crucial role in maintaining digestive health. They are also packed with essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. 

So, from reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart diseases to maintaining healthy blood pressure and blood sugar, whole grains help with it all. What’s more, they are nutrient-dense and low in calories, which makes them ideal for weight loss diets too. Cooking whole grains at home is a nutritious and delicious way to incorporate fiber, vitamins, and minerals into your meals.  

And yet, despite all these benefits, most people shy away from cooking whole grains at home. This is because whole grains are delicate and have very different cooking times. Get it wrong, and you are more likely to end up with mushy grains or undercooked ones. So, knowing how to cook these grains right is a trick we all need to learn for better health.


Video credit: YouTube/Sumana's Kitchen

Here are seven tips to help you achieve perfectly cooked whole grains. 

Choose the Right Grain

There are a variety of whole grains to choose from, including quinoa, brown rice, barley, farro, and wheat berries. Each grain has its unique flavor and texture. Experiment with different options to find the ones you enjoy. Consider the cooking time and adjust accordingly. 

Rinse and Soak

Before cooking whole grains, rinse them thoroughly under cold water to remove any dirt or debris. Soaking grains overnight or for a few hours can help reduce cooking time and improve digestibility. This step is particularly useful for grains like brown rice or wheat berries. 

Use Proper Ratio of Liquid to Grain

The liquid-to-grain ratio is crucial for achieving the desired texture. As a general guideline, use about 1.5 to 2 cups of water or broth per cup of grain. Some grains, like quinoa, require less liquid, while others, like rice, require more. Check the specific instructions for the grain you are cooking. 

Add Flavor with Broth or Seasonings 

Cooking whole grains in broth instead of plain water can add depth and flavor to your dish. Vegetable, chicken, or beef broth complements various grains. Additionally, consider adding seasonings such as herbs, spices, or aromatics like garlic and onions to enhance the taste. 

Simmer and Cover

After bringing the liquid and grain to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid. Simmer the grains gently, allowing them to absorb the liquid and cook evenly. This method helps prevent the grains from becoming mushy or overcooked. 

Avoid Excessive Stirring  

While cooking whole grains, it's important to minimize stirring, as it can cause grains to become sticky or clumpy. Instead, let the grains simmer undisturbed until they are tender. If necessary, gently fluff them with a fork after cooking to separate the grains. 

Rest and Fluff  

After cooking, remove the pot from the heat and let the grains rest, covered, for a few minutes. This resting period allows the grains to absorb any remaining moisture and become fluffier. Once the grains have rested, fluff them with a fork to separate and loosen the texture. 

Whole grains can be cooked using various techniques beyond stovetop simmering. Consider trying other methods such as using a rice cooker, pressure cooker, or even baking them in the oven. These methods can provide different textures and flavors, offering versatility in your whole grain cooking repertoire. By following these tips, you can confidently cook whole grains at home, creating nutritious and satisfying dishes that contribute to a healthy diet.