Vegetarian Pineapple Rice

Ingredients

10 oz cooked long-grain rice
1 large fresh pineapples
2 tbsp oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded, and chopped
8 oz zucchini, trimmed and diced
6 stalks green onion, trimmed and sliced diagonally
6 canned jalapeno chili peppers, drained and chopped
salt and pepper
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
3 tbsp freshly chopped cilantro
grated low fat cheese, to serve

Method

  1. Cut the pineapple in half lengthwise through the plume. Scoop out the fresh. Set aside the pineapple shells.
  2. Discard the central core, dice the remaining flesh and set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan and saute the red bell pepper and zucchini for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the green onion and saute for a further minute.
  4. Mix in the rice, chili peppers, and the pineapple flesh. Season to taste with slat and pepper.
  5. Heat gently, tossing occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until the ingredients are heated through. Add pine nuts and cilantro. Toss to combine.
  6. Spoon the pineapple rice into the pineapple shells. Serve with grated low-fat cheese.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Healthy Vegetarian Cooking

Top 10 Rice-eating Countries in the World

Ranking by Weight of Rice Eaten Per Person Per Day

1. Bangladesh – 473g

2. Laos – 445g

3. Cambodia – 436g

4. Vietnam – 398g

5. Indonesia – 364g

6. Burma – 345g

7. Philippine – 325g

8. Thai – 306g

9. Sri Lanka – 295g

10. Madagascar – 283g


Infographic

Scientists Discovered A New Way to Cook Rice that Cuts the Calories

Rice, the lifeblood of so many nations’ cuisines, is perhaps the most ubiquitous food in the world. In Asia, where an estimated 90 percent of all rice is consumed, the pillowy grains are part of almost every meal. In the Caribbean, where the starch is often mixed with beans, it’s a staple too. Even here in the United States, where people eat a comparatively modest amount of rice, plenty is still consumed.

Rice is popular because it’s malleable—it pairs well with a lot of different kinds of food—and it’s relatively cheap. But like other starch-heavy foods, it has one central flaw: it isn’t that good for you. White rice consumption, in particular, has been linked to a higher risk of diabetes. A cup of the cooked grain carries with it roughly 200 calories, most of which comes in the form of starch, which turns into sugar, and often thereafter body fat.

But what if there were a simple way to tweak rice ever so slightly to make it much healthier?

An undergraduate student at the College of Chemical Sciences in Sri Lanka and his mentor have been tinkering with a new way to cook rice that can reduce its calories by as much as 50 percent and even offer a few other added health benefits. The ingenious method, which at its core is just a simple manipulation of chemistry, involves only a couple easy steps in practice.

“What we did is cook the rice as you normally do, but when the water is boiling, before adding the raw rice, we added coconut oil—about 3 percent of the weight of the rice you’re going to cook,” said Sudhair James, who presented his preliminary research at National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) on Monday. “After it was ready, we let it cool in the refrigerator for about 12 hours. That’s it.”

How does it work?

To understand what’s going on, you need to understand a bit of food chemistry.

Not all starches, as it happens, are created equal. Some, known as digestible starches, take only a little time to digest, are quickly turned into glucose, and then later glycogen. Excess glycogen ends up adding to the size of our guts if we don’t expend enough energy to burn it off. Other starches, meanwhile, called resistant starches, take a long time for the body to process, aren’t converted into glucose or glycogen because we lack the ability to digest them, and add up to fewer calories.

A growing body of research, however, has shown that it might be possible to change the types of starches found in foods by modifying how they are prepared. At the very least, we know that there are observable changes when certain foods are cooked different ways.

Potatoes, for instance, go from having the right kind of starch to the less healthful kind when they are cooked or mashed (sigh, I know). The process of heating and cooling certain vegetables, like peas and sweet potatoes, can also alter the amount of resistant (see: good) starches, according to a 2009 study. And rice, depending on the method of preparation, undergoes observable chemical changes. Most notably, fried rice and pilaf style rice have a greater proportion of resistant starch than the most commonly eaten type, steamed rice, as strange as that might seem.

“If you can reduce the digestible starch in something like steamed rice, you can reduce the calories,” said Dr. Pushparajah Thavarajah, a professor who is supervising the research. “The impact could be huge.”

The team experimented with 38 kinds of rice from Sri Lanka, developing a new way of cooking rice that increased the RS content. In this method, they added a teaspoon of coconut oil to boiling water. Then, they added a half a cup of rice. They simmered this for 40 minutes, but one could boil it for 20-25 minutes instead, the researchers note. Then, they refrigerated it for 12 hours. This procedure increased the resistant starch by 10 times for traditional, non-fortified rice.

“The oil interacts with the starch in rice and changes its architecture,” said James. “Chilling the rice then helps foster the conversion of starches. The result is a healthier serving, even when you heat it back up.”

So far they have only measured the chemical outcome of the most effective cooking method for the least healthful of the 38 varieties. But that variety still produced a 10 to 12 percent reduction in calories. “With the better kind, we expect to reduce the calories by as much as 50 to 60 percent,” said James.

Cooking that can change the world

The prospect of lower calorie rice is a big deal. Obesity rates are rising around the world, particularly in the developing world, where people rely more heavily on cheaper food staples. China and India, which are already seeing rising obesity problems, are huge consumers of rice. Rice, of course, is not the sole cause of weight gain. But reducing the amount of calories in a cup of rice by even as little as 10 percent could have an enormous impact for future generations.

“Obesity has been a problem in the United States for some time,” said Thavarajah. “But it’s becoming a problem in Asia, too. People are eating larger and larger portions of rice, which isn’t good.”

The researchers still have to test the remaining varieties of rice, including Suduru Samba, which they believe will produce the largest calorie reduction. They also plan to experiment with oils other than coconut oil, like sunflower oil.

A world where commercially sold rice comes pre-cooked and with much fewer calories might not be that far off. People should already be able to replicate the process at home, although James warns the results might vary depending on the type of rice used. And there’s good reason to believe the chemistry could be applied to many other popular but less-than-healthy foods.

“It’s about more than rice,” said Thavarajah. “I mean, can we do the same thing for bread? That’s the real question here.”

Source: The Washington Post

Read more at American Chemical Society

New low-calorie rice could help cut rising obesity rates . . . . .

What is the Best Way to Cook Vegetables to Maximize their Nutritional Value?

Leslie Beck wrote . . . .

“Eat more vegetables” is long-standing advice for a healthy diet – and for good reason. A diet high in vegetables has been tied to a lower risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, cataracts, macular degeneration, cognitive decline and digestive-tract cancers. Thanks to their protective mix of vitamins, minerals, fibre and phytochemicals, vegetables are thought to help dampen inflammation, fend off harmful free radicals and boost immunity.

To reap their maximum nutritional benefits, though, you need to cook them right.

While all cooking methods alter the nutrient composition of vegetables (and fruits), some destroy particular nutrients while others actually enhance nutrient content.

Vulnerable vitamins

Vitamin C and many of the B vitamins are the most unstable nutrients when it comes to cooking. Because they’re water-soluble, they leach out of vegetables into the cooking water. If you boil your vegetables or microwave using too much water, you’ll end up with less thiamine, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and a lot less vitamin C.

According to a review by researchers at the University of California, Davis, as much as 55 per cent of the vitamin C in vegetables is lost during home cooking (compared with raw). Vitamin C is also easily degraded by heat.

Polyphenols – phytochemicals plentiful in kale, spinach and broccoli – are also susceptible to degradation during cooking.

Fat-soluble nutrients such as vitamins A, E and K are more stable and fare better during cooking. So do carotenoids (e.g., beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lycopene, lutein), antioxidants found in leafy greens, carrots, winter squash, sweet potato and, in the case of lycopene, tomatoes.

The microwave myth

Water is the enemy when it comes to nutrient losses during cooking. That’s why steaming is one of the best methods to preserve easily damaged nutrients, such as vitamin C and many B vitamins. Since vegetables don’t come in contact with cooking water during steaming, more vitamins are retained.

Dry cooking methods such as grilling, roasting and stir-frying also retain a greater amount of nutrients than boiling. If you prefer to boil your vegetables, save the nutrient-rich cooking water to add to soups and sauces.

Contrary to popular belief, microwaving doesn’t kill nutrients in vegetables. In fact, it may outrank steaming when it comes to retaining antioxidants.

A 2009 report in the Journal of Food Science found that compared with boiling, pressure cooking and baking, microwave cooking helped maintain the highest levels of antioxidants in beans, beets, artichoke, asparagus, garlic, onion and spinach. Microwave cooking increased antioxidant activity in eggplant, corn, peppers and Swiss chard. On the other hand, boiling and pressure cooking led to the greatest antioxidant losses.

Cornell researchers found that spinach retained nearly all of its folate when microwaved but lost most of the B vitamin when boiled on the stove.

Microwave ovens use less heat than many other cooking methods and involve shorter cooking times. If you use a minimal amount of water and don’t overcook your vegetables, microwave cooking is a nutritional win. (A 2003 study concluded that microwaving destroyed most of the antioxidants in broccoli – but the researchers had added far too much water.)

Raw versus cooked

Many people think raw vegetables are more nutritious than cooked, but that’s not the case. Cooking vegetables breaks down the plants’ cell walls, releasing more of the nutrients bound to those cell walls. Cooked vegetables supply more antioxidants, including beta-carotene, lutein and lycopene, than they do when raw.

Cooked vegetables also deliver more minerals. Spinach, beet greens and Swiss chard are high in calcium, but a compound called oxalic acid binds with calcium. Heating releases bound calcium, making more of the mineral available for the body to absorb. Cooking vegetables also increases the amount of magnesium and iron that are available to the body.

Even so, in some cases vegetables may be better for you raw than cooked. Cruciferous vegetables – cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy, Brussels sprouts – contain an enzyme called myrosinase, which, when you chop or chew these vegetables, converts glucosinolates (phytochemicals) to anti-cancer compounds called isothiocyanates.

The problem: Myrosinase is easily destroyed by heat. Cooking cruciferous vegetables reduces the conversion of glucosinolates to their active isothiocyanates, which may reduce their cancer-fighting potential.

According to research published in 2009, steaming led to the lowest loss of glucosinolates in broccoli while stir-frying and boiling (both higher-heat cooking methods) caused the greatest loss.

Fresh versus frozen

Cooking isn’t the only way vegetables can lose nutrients. Before fresh vegetables reach your steamer basket or microwave, some of their nutritional value can be degraded during the time they’re transported to a distribution centre, displayed in the grocery store and stored in your crisper. When possible, buy produce from farmers’ markets to reduce the time from harvest to table.

When vegetables are out of season, consider frozen.

Frozen vegetables closely match the nutrient content of their freshly picked counterparts because they’re flash-frozen at peak ripeness, a time when they’re most nutrient-packed. (Vegetables that are shipped to the produce section of grocery stores are usually picked before they are ripe, giving them less time to develop their full nutritional potential.)

The bottom line: No one cooking method will preserve 100 per cent of the nutrients and protective phytochemicals in vegetables. So don’t limit yourself to one cooking method or eating only salad.

Eat your vegetables roasted, grilled, steamed, boiled in a soup, microwaved and raw. Enjoy them fresh (locally grown when possible) and frozen. The more variety you have, the more likely you are to eat them. And that’s the whole point.

Source: The Globe and Mail


Today’s Comic

Disney Character Cakes

Sicilian-style Grilled Fish

Ingredients

2 fillets seabass, about 150g each
300g canned green lentils, drained and rinsed

Marinade

1½ teaspoons dried oregano
2 small garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
4 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Whisk together the marinade ingredients 1 tablespoon water.
  2. Wash the fish fillets, pat dry on kitchen paper, then lay them on a plate and spoon over half of the marinade. Cover and leave in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours.
  3. Preheat the grill to maximum and grill the fillets, skin-side down, for 5 to 6 minutes until just cooked through – the flesh should be white when tested with the point of a small knife.
  4. Meanwhile, warm the lentils with the remaining marinade. Spoon onto warmed plates and top with the sea bass. Serve at once.

Makes 2 servings.

Source: GL Diet Made Simple

Black Striped Snapper (ヨコスジフエダイ) and Dishes

The Fish


Sashimi

Nigiri Sushi

In Miso Soup

Oven Baked

Pan-fried with Sauce

Deep-fried