Although whole grains require longer cooking than their parboiled or refined counterparts, it’s hands-off cooking — you don’t have to stand over the stove while the grains quietly burble away. All you have to do is stir it once or twice. And if you put your grains in their water/broth a few hours ahead of time to soak (if you’re having brown rice for dinner, dump it all in a pot before you leave for the day; if you’re having steel-cut oats for breakfast, dump them in a pot before you go to bed), then you’ve just cut your cooking time by about 70%. Oh, and did I mention cooked grains last for a week in the fridge? So just one round of cooking will suffice for a week’s worth of meals.
The same is true of mung beans, which take a solid 30 minutes to simmer and soften (older, drier beans may take longer): they’re hands-off whilst cooking, soaking will shorten their cook time, and you can pop them into the fridge right alongside your whole grains and then enjoy them all week. This recipe takes advantage of the convenience of both whole grains — in this case, red rice — and those tasty mung beans. (Note: you’ll find mung beans in the Asian section of many grocery stores and/or sometimes in the bulk food section with the rest of their beany brethren. And sistren. Yep, that’s a word, too.)
Mung Beans with Red Rice, Feta & Cilantro
Cooked whole-grain rice; brown, black, purple, red, and wild rice takes about 40 minutes to cook (figure on about 2/3 cup cooked rice per person and note that raw rice generally triples in volume when cooked)
Cooked mung beans; mung beans need about 30 minutes of simmering time (figure on about 1/2 cup beans per person)
Feta cheese, preferably made with sheep or goat milk (soooo much tastier!)
Unrefined pistachio oil OR extra-virgin olive oil
Sesame seeds for garnish (optional; I used black ones for the nice contrast they provided against the white Feta)
Toss cooked rice and beans with the cilantro, some Feta, and a dash of oil. Serve and garnish with sesame if you like. Leftover rice and beans can be kept together or separately for a week in the fridge; the entire tossed mixture will keep for 2 days.
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