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The Rice Debate ...Brown or White ?

If there has been one question on my mind it is ..when will I switch to brown rice? For starters , I have always savoured white rice. The pulaos, biryanis , tehris or even the delicious and simple steamed rice cakes or idlis would all be prepared with white rice . And there is no harm in doing so , just that i am aware that it isn't going to give me any kind of nutrition .

To put it very simply , brown rice contains the whole grain ,including the germ and the bran while white rice is devoid of those. Due to these , differences in nutritional value arise between them, such as

Brown rice contains more fibre ,which would mean 100 gms of brown rice would give you 1.8 gms of fibre as opposed to 0.4 gms if u ate the same amount of white rice.

The list below shows a comparison of other vitamins and minerals:

Brown (RDI) White (RDI)

Thiamine 6% 1%

Niacin 8% 2%

Vitamin B 67% 5%

Manganese 45% 24%

Magnesium 11% 3%

Phosphorus 8% 4%

Iron 2% 1%

Zinc 4% 3%

Brown rice contains Anti nutrients which hinder the absorption of zinc and iron and arsenic (especially in polluted areas) but if you have a varied diet these are negligible. More the reason to get good quality grains when purchasing.

While growing , we did not have brown rice but our diet was varied with different grains so it may not have mattered much. But with our increased dependencies on wheat and rice , this does call for attention.

So I took the plunge and soaked some short grain organic brown rice for a delicious biryani rice and a simple khichdi . The Biryani is vegetarian and the biryani masala is prepared in house. This recipe is adapted from Zarine Khans Family Secrets.

These recipes can be prepared with white rice.

Biryani Masala Rice


500 gms Brown Rice

3 nos. Cloves

3 nos.Green cardamom

1 tsp Ginger -Garlic paste

1/2 bunch fresh green coriander

5 no. Dried red chilies

1 no. Onion , sliced

2 nos. Tomato ,chopped

1/4 cup Yoghurt, whisked

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

2 nos. slit Green chilies

A few Mint leaves

2 tblsp Oil / ghee

Salt to taste

To Prepare:

1. Soak the Brown rice for at least 1 hour before cooking .

2. Grind cloves , cardamom, ginger and garlic , fresh coriander and red chilies together to make a masala.

3. In a pan,fry onions till they turn light brown and then add ground masala from step 2 and fry for another few minutes.

4.Add tomatoes and keep frying till they soften .

5.Mix in the yoghurt , salt and turmeric

6.After the masala is well browned , the oil and ghee would separate ,drain the soaked rice and mix it with the masala and fry for 5 minutes.

7. Boil 4 cups of water and pour into the pan with the masala and rice . Keep adding water if you need . Brown rice requires more water to cook.

8. Stir in the mint leaves , coriander and green chilies.

9.Cover and let the rice cook on a slow flame . Check the level of the water now and then and cook till rice has entirely cooked.

This rice is a great accompaniment to any dish for both vegetarians and non vegetarians

Serve hot and enjoy with Raita (spiced yoghurt ) and your choice of Daal(lentils) .

Brown Rice Khichdi

This is a simple recipe that has been cooked in our homes since my childhood . Mostly we would relish the yellow moong daal khichdi but the split green moong daal occasionally replaced it . The dollop of butter on the khichdi was the most comforting aspect . With minimal spices used , this dish is usually had as a detox when one has over indulged in the matters of feasting. It poses as a fantastic substitution to a lunch or supper.


1/2 cup brown rice

1 cup split green moong gram /lentil

2 tsp ghee

1 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp asafoetida

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

2 nos. cloves

salt to taste

A dollop of butter

To prepare :

1. Soak the rice and green moon gram in a bowl for 1/2-1 hour.Drain and keep aside.

2. In a pressure cooker , heat some ghee and add cumin seeds , cloves , asafoetida and turmeric . Saute for a few seconds .

3. Add the rice and gram and mix well.

4. Pour 2.5 cups of water , season ,and close the lid . Cook for 4 whistles.

5. If there it is very watery then , cook on a high flame to thicken it .

6. Remove and add a dollop of butter .Serve hot .

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