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Grains





There always seems to be a grain of the moment. One day quinoa was hardly used outside of South America and the next it was on every menu and in every grocery store across the US. Now that quinoa has introduced America to options beyond just wheat and corn, it’s time to explore what the world of grains has to offer. Choices like teff, millet or kamut are quickly becoming better known in the culinary world. F&W’s guide offers delicious recipes to help you cook with these often overlooked ingredients, plus expert tips to help you avoid common mistakes.

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Roasted Vegetable Grain Bowl with Chickpeas and Tahini-Ginger Dressing

This grain bowl is a choose-your-own-adventure delight. Sub in any grain, protein, or leafy green you have on hand—no matter what you choose, the deliciously easy sesame-based dressing will tie it all together. You'll have enough for at least two lunches plus leftovers. Make a double batch of the dressing to have enough for a full week of easy lunches. For a vegan version of the dish, skip the egg and up your protein with a larger serving of the broccoli/chickpea mixture.

Sorghum and Albacore Tuna Salad with Preserved Lemon

Sorghum, a nutritious and sustainable grain, adds a pleasantly chewy bite to this simple salad from Roxana Jullapat, the co-owner and baker of Los Angeles restaurant Friends & Family. If you’re going to use sorghum grains as a salad base, she advises, presoak the sorghum at least 8 hours for the best texture, wash the grains before cooking to remove extra starch, and cook them with abundant water, like pasta. Once cooked, spread them on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil so the grains don’t stick together as much. Preserved lemon is a popular North African condiment made by pickling the fruit in salt and its own juice. The bracing lemony flavor adds a salty kick to this olive-, onion-, and fresh herb–laden tuna salad.

Café de Olla Alegría

Amaranth is a powerhouse of nutrition and flavor: It is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids.This take on alegría, a traditional Mexican candy made from puffed amaranth seeds, features the flavors of café de olla, a Mexican style of coffee brewed with cinnamon and orange peel and sweetened with piloncillo, a raw brown sugar with rich molasses flavor. Here, maple syrup and granulated sugar stand in for piloncillo, adding a rich chewiness. The pan is hot enough to pop the amaranth when a few drops of water evaporate on contact.

Ragi Roti

These flatbreads made with hearty, versatile millet flour are equal parts crispy and chewy, with whole cumin seeds, fresh herbs, and aromatics cooked right into the dough. The center holes allow steam to escape, resulting in a crispier roti. While they’re perfect for sopping up dal, these roti make a filling snack or lunch topped with creamy yogurt swirled with spicy tomato achaar or Indian pickle.

Ba Bao Fan (Eight-Treasure Rice)

Any variety of dried and candied fruits can decorate this lightly sweet sticky rice dessert, but using a lucky assortment of eight is traditional. The Chinese word for the number eight, ba, sounds similar to fa, which means prosperity and confers fortuitous meaning on the dessert. For her Lunar New Year celebration, Lucky Chow producer Danielle Chang likes to decorate hers with an opulent assortment that includes candied orange peel, goji berries, amarena cherries, kumquats, lemon peel, edible flowers, mandarins, lychees, red dates (jujube), maraschino cherries, gooseberries, kiwi berries, pomegranate, dragon fruit, and sliced figs. Do not substitute sushi or other short-grain rice here; sweet glutinous rice contains a starch that helps the grains stick together without getting mushy.
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More Grains

Kiribath with Lunu Miris (Coconut Rice with Sambal)

Spicy red onion sambal is spooned over diamonds of coconut rice in this Sri Lankan dish, served to commemorate new beginnings. While a mortar and pestle is traditionally used to pound the sambal, it also can be gently pulsed together in a food processor.

Yayla Çorbası (Turkish Yogurt Soup) with Velibah

Although most Turks will opt for a pillowy square of pide bread to accompany this soup of yogurt, barley, and dried mint, buttery-crisp velibah stuffed with feta and potato is a go-to for editor Oset Babür's family, who hail from Ossetia, a state in the South Caucasus.

Golden Fried Rice with Asparagus and XO Sauce

Stir-frying rice with egg yolks is a technique that hails from Chinese imperial cuisine, says chef Lucas Sin of Junzi restaurant, and gives the dish a buttery richness and beautiful golden color. A generous amount of onions, garlic, scallions, and fresh ginger builds a foundation of flavor, while a spoonful of spicy seafood-infused XO sauce and plenty of freshly blanched asparagus make this fried rice even more delicious.