Healthier choice recipe: Nasi liwet (brown rice liwet)

PHOTO: Healthier choice recipe: Nasi liwet (brown rice liwet)

Most of us grew up eating white rice, either plain or flavoured.

But this staple food has its fair share of critics. White rice is generally frowned upon for its high glycaemic index, which means it is quickly broken down into simple sugars in the body.

This can cause blood sugar levels to spike, which makes it undesirable for diabetics.

That is bad news for people who simply cannot live without rice.

A great alternative would be brown rice, which has higher amounts of fibre. In this recipe, chefs I Gusti Nyoman Kaler and Noldy Herling Bawiling of Kintamani Indonesian Restaurant infused the grains with the traditional flavours of nasi goreng, which simply means "fried rice" in Indonesian and Malay.

Condiments aside, the only other ingredient you need is eggs. The rice-and-egg mixture is then wrapped in banana leaves and grilled to give it that extra fragrance.

The recipe, which was devised with help from the Health Promotion Board, is a simple way to jazz up a boring pot of steamed rice.

Overall, brown rice retains more minerals, such as manganese, phosphorus and iron, than its white counterpart.

This is because the milling and polishing process that produces white rice strips it of large amounts of nutrients. It is said that up to 80 per cent of vitamin B1 can be lost.

However, brown rice has only its outermost layer removed, which is a less damaging process.

So, yes, you can have your rice and eat it.

Background story

RECIPE

Nasi liwet (brown rice liwet) (Serves four)

INGREDIENTS

300g unpolished brown rice

30g nasi goreng paste

2 eggs

1tsp olive oil

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

Banana leaves, cut into palm-sized squares, as many as needed

METHOD

Steam the rice until it is cooked. Remove the rice and mix it with the nasi goreng paste. Season with some pepper.

Beat the eggs well and add in a pinch of salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a pan and pour the egg mixture in to make a thin omelette.

Roll the omelette, cut it into thin strips and mix them into the rice.

Clean the banana leaves. Put some rice in the middle of a leaf. Roll it up, twist the ends and secure with toothpicks.

Alternatively, cut the omelette into wide strips to loosely wrap the rice before rolling the entire bundle inside the banana leaf.

Grill the wrapped rice in banana leaves in an oven at a low temperature for five to 10 minutes until fragrant.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION (Per serving)

Energy: 241 kilocalories

Protein: 7.4g

Total fat: 6.6g

Saturated fat: 1g

Cholesterol: 106mg

Carbohydrate: 38g

Dietary fibre: 1.4g

Sodium: 628mg

TIPS

1. Use more water when cooking whole grains, as whole grains absorb more water than refined grains.

2. Use unsaturated oils, such as sunflower, canola or olive oil, instead of saturated oils, which include ghee, butter and blended vegetable oil. This is to reduce your risk of heart disease.

This article was first published on July 24, 2014. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.