Friday, December 18, 2009

Aborio Rice Cakes

Yesterday's post featured low starch complex carbohydrates.

Namely, three vegetarian dishes topped with nuts, seeds, oils, and yogurt and eggs added for additional protein, flavor, and texture.

When we think of complex carbohydrates, we generally think starchy carbs like breads, cereals, grains, pasta.

Yet vegetables are carbohydrates, but because of their high-fiber content the sugars present enter the blood stream at a slower rate than say the starchy sugars present in white bread.

If you crave carbs more specifically, simple sugars, and if you experience sugar crashes after eating them, it may be that you're hypoglycemic.

Alternatively, simply rectifying your diet by including more fiber in the form of complex carbs--like veggies and high-fiber whole grains-- can help regulate blood sugar so that cravings don't occur.

Arborio rice, which we tend to eat as risotto, is a short-grain, high-starch rice. The starchiness gives risotto its creaminess and that starchiness quickly enters our blood stream as sugar, unless we're eating the risotto in conjunction with a plate of fibrous veggies, and perhaps a side of protein.

I tend to find a plate of risotto inadequate as a meal; within in a short period of time I'm feeling hungry for something else. As I mentioned in yesterday's post, if there isn't sufficient fiber, plus good oils and fats in a meal, then we reach for more and often it's a dessert.

But Arborio rice is delicious and creamy and so today, rather than suggest you avoid it, if you're on a weight-loss or low-starch diet, I've come up with a way to add fiber, flavor, color and thus additional nutrients in the effort to create a more healthful way to eat this yummy grain.

Arborio Rice Cakes

1) Pour one cup rice into a lightly oiled skillet, heat over med heat, browning rice slightly.
2) Pour two cups water or stock over rice, and place lid on skillet, turn heat to low. Cook for about 10 mins.
3) Meanwhile, chop your choice of veggies to add to the rice. I had some green peppers on hand and some brussels sprouts, and I added a chopped clove of garlic and a piece of ginger.
5) Add veggies to the skillet with another cup of water or stock. Instead of plain water or stock, I added a cup of leftover carrot soup.
Note: At this point you could also add a cup full of shrimp or your choice of fish, perhaps some salmon or chicken -- you get the idea.
6) Cook for another 10 -15 mins, stirring periodically, till the rice is soft and sticky, the veggies are soft, and till most of the liquid has been absorbed.
7) Tip cooked rice into a large bowl and allow it to cool. Add two or three eggs and a couple tablespoons of whole-grain flour; gently stir so ingredients bind.
8) Using a tablespoon, drop spoonfuls of the mix into a skillet lined with light olive oil or canola oil. Cook over med-to-low heat.
9) Flip the cakes with a spatula at around the 10 min mark and browning both sides.
10) Remove browned rice cakes from the skillet with a spatula and place them on a paper-towel lined tray. While you cook all the rice mix, keep the cooked cakes in on the tray in a warm oven.

To Serve: As you can see in the picture above, I served the rice cake with a sliced piece of baked chicken breast, a side of greens, and a side of vegetable relish. They'd also be fabulous served with the vegetable dishes featured yesterday or try them with the baked fish and wilted greens I featured a couple of weeks ago.

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