Rice. Yummy and versatile. You can enjoy it however you like: as a vegetable base for your foods, a salad for your dessert, or as a snack. And rice is the mainstay of nutrition for over half of the world’s population. Rice, as we know it, comes in different scents and sizes, with notable variations within and between types.
Just as important, they possess subtly different applications in cooking. Some people assume that there are only a couple kinds of rice, but the variety is remarkable! If you know the differences in texture and flavor, it’ll skyrocket your skill in the kitchen. Here in Kenya, Pishori rules in the jungle of cereals.
Thoughts about Pishori conjure up images of long, slender and irresistibly flavorful variety. Aged, medium grain Pishori is one of Kenya’s most priced culinary gifts to the world. Not many people know that the name of the variety means “superior”. This fragrant variety with a nutty taste and unique flavour can undergo prolonged cooking, a property that becomes useful in the preparation of the renowned dish, pilau. Pishori and tender meat/ fresh vegetables, richly flavoured with carefully selected spices, make a heavenly one-pot meal! Since the grains can withstand long, slow cooking, they soak up all the flavours from the pan.
Wheat or Chaff? How to Tell Apart Pure Pishori
We have genuine pishori dealers. Then comes this other category of scoundrel traders who embrace the business of anything sells. In a market not perfectly regulated, it’s easy to get scammed into buying blended, or worse, perfumed ordinary rice in the name of pishori. The thing is, it takes experience to differentiate. The perfect pishori grain is slender, long, cream-ish and has a nutty taste when raw. Check this article on what to look for when buying pure pishori to avoid getting scammed.
How to cook Pishori Rice
While it is slender with more flavor and taste, Pishori is not as long the Himalayan Basmati. The best way to cook it is in less water, hence absorption method. It is the method of rice-cooking that uses a measured amount of water. This is unlike drainage method where a lot of water is used, and then discarded at the end of the cooking process. I like the rice: water ratio to be 1:1.5, with low heat cooking. As tough as it sounds, resist that extra stir or tempting peek; and if you have stir or fluff, always use a fork to avoid crushing the grains. Avoid over cooking; it produces a mush. End result? Fluffy, each grain whole, separate and flavourful, just how pishori rice should and could be if you prepare it properly.
Health Benefits of Pishori
Pishori rice is more than aroma and taste. More often than not, the health benefits are not as widely recognized as it deserves From instant energy boost to prevention of cardiovascular diseases, the following are some of the benefits of making pishori your daily dose:
Cholesterol Free: Pishori rice contains zero harmful fats, cholesterol or sodium.
Cardiovascular System: Pishori rice bran has antioxidant properties that reduce cholesterol levels in the body. thus promote cardiovascular strength. In addition, because of the low sodium, pishori rice makes for an excellent diet for those suffering from hypertension
Energy: Since Pishori rice is rich in carbs, it acts as fuel for the body and aids in the optimal functioning of the human brain. In fact, a cupful of pishori daily provides you with the recommended manganese value, which aids in producing energy from carbohydrates and protein.
Vitamins: Pishori is a healthy source of vitamins and minerals (niacin, vitamin D, vitamin B1, calcium, fibre, iron, riboflavin and thiamine) which are essential to your health.
Constipation: Pishori rice is rich in fibre which acts as a soft sponge that may be easily and quickly pushed through the intestinal tract, thus preventing chronic constipation.
Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease: Pishori rice is said to contain high levels of neurotransmitter nutrients which are effective at helping to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Pishori and Glycemic Index
All carbohydrates are not equal. Well, as far as Glycemic Index (GI) goes. GI is the ranking of carbohydrates based on how they affect blood sugar levels once eaten. Low glycemic index means blood glucose rises gradually, and so does insulin – which is healthy for you. High glycemic index, on the other hand, means that the carbs are absorbed or digested quickly when eaten, causing your blood sugar to spike. As my son is so fond of saying, “This is not good for you.”
Whether or not pishori rice is good in matters GI depends on how it is processed. For starters, less polished, creamier pishori is better than the pure white, overly polished pishori. Cream-white pishori produces twice as much fiber as pure white rice, has a sweet nutty flavor and can be used in a variety of your favorite dishes.
Because the cream-ish pishori has been minimally processed to remove only the hull from the kernel, the rice bran layer and the germ are retained. This rice has a lower glycemic index and is more nutritious because it does not lose the vitamins, minerals and fiber, especially the B-complex.
You can also lower the glycemic index by combining protein and/or vegetables with your rice dishes. I hope you will extend your horizons and try some of these other delicious rice varieties that are available.