Grains are an essential part of a healthy diet: they can help reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and assist in controlling high cholesterol. And with so many varieties (quinoa, barley, oats!), you can always find one to compliment your meal. Nutty, fluffy, and delicious, they make great sides, toppings for salads, and quick meals. And you cook any grain perfectly using just one of three methods. Really! We'll show you how.
The Pasta Method
The pasta method works best if you're making chewier grains such as barley, wheat berries, or sorghum. You can make these grains as you would a pot of pasta. Add the grains to a pot of salted boiling water and cook until the grain is tender and has reached your desired doneness.
The Pilaf Method
If you’re making a pilaf-style main or side dish you can start off by sautéing onions, garlic, and spices in olive oil then adding in your preferred grain (barley, bulgur, and quinoa are perfect for this method). Keep stirring for two to three minutes—this toasts the grain and brings out that wonderful nutty flavor. Then pour your measured liquid (water or stock) into the pot; once it has reached a boil reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook the grains until the liquid has absorbed and the grains are tender.
The Absorption Method
This is the most straightforward method of all three (and probably the one you're most familiar with). Cover your grains in the measured amount of liquid; according to package instructions, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover the pot. Let the liquid absorb, the grains become tender, and you’re ready to eat!