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How To Cook Grains

Last Modified: 05/12/11
First Published: 01/30/08
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Views: 5691

Cooking grains can be tricky since the time of cooking and the grain-to-water ratio varies a lotmillet from grain to grain. For example, wheat berries take up to an hour to cook whereas couscous only take a couple of minutes when soaking or microwaving. However, there are so many interesting grains that add variety as well as fiber to dishes, each one is somewhat different. That makes grains a lot of fun, and worthwhile to try out and experiment with. So here is a list of different grains and their preferred cooking method as well as their grain-to-water ratio and their required times of cooking.

There are a few different preferred methods of cooking grains such as the stovetop, microwave, soaking and pilaf-style. Pilaf-style is basically just a fancy word for sautéing the grains in some fat before adding liquid.

Methods:

Cooking on the Stove
When cooking grains on the stove, bring the water to a boil and add 2 ½ teaspoon of salt when using these proportions. Add the grains and cook for the recommended time.

Cooking Pilaf-Style
When cooking grains pilaf-style, rinse the grains and heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a sauce pan. Add the grains and toast for a couple of minutes, watching closely as not to burn the grains. Stir in water and salt and bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the temperature and cook during the remainder of the time. Once the time is up, leave the pot covered off the stove for 5 minutes.

Cooking in the Microwave
When cooking grains in the microwave, rinse the grains first. In a microwavable bowl, combine grains, water and ¼ teaspoon salt and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave for the recommended time, then fluff the grains up with a fork, cover with plastic wrap again, poke a couple of wholes in the plastic and let sit for another 5 minutes.

Type of Grain
Preferred Way of Cooking Amount of Grain Amount of Water Time To Cook
AmaranthMicrowave1 cup2 cups5 - 10 min high, then 15 - 20 min medium
" Pilaf-style 1 cup 1 1/2 cups 20 - 25 min
Buckwheat
Stovetop
1 cup
16 cups (4 quarts)
5 min
Bulgur Stovetop
1 cup
16 cups (4 quarts) 5 min
"
Microwave
1 cup
1 cup
5 - 15 min high
"
Pilaf-style
1 cup
1 cup
10 - 15 min
Couscous
Microwave
1 cup 1 cup
5 - 10 min high
"
Soaking
1 cup
1 cup
5 min
Millet
Pilaf-style
1 cup
2 1/4 cups
25 - 30 min
Pearl BarleyStovetop1 cup 16 cups (4 quarts)20 - 25 min
Quinoa Stovetop1 cup
16 cups (4 quarts)
10 - 15 min
"
Microwave
1 cup
1 cup
5 min medium, then 5 min high
" Pilaf-style1 cup 1 cup
10 - 15 min
Wheat Berries
Stovetop
1 cup
16 cups (4 quarts) 1 hour


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