Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Learn the Trick to Cutting Up to Half the Calories in Rice via author Cleo Coyle

Last month in Denver, the American Chemical Society announced findings that changed my foodie life. If you haven't heard, I'm happy to share the news AND the culinary trick to cutting up to half of the digestible calories in white rice.

Researchers in Sri Lanka discovered that cooking (non-fortified) white rice with a tiny bit of coconut oil and then chilling it for at least 12 hours will change the rice's chemical properties, effectively cutting its digestible calories up to half (or more) while adding health benefits. And, yes, you can reheat it after the chilling and the calories will stay cut. 

Cleo Coyle has a partner in 
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here or here.

Get the recipe below.

Frankly, I was OVERJOYED by this news because I love FRIED RICE, which requires that day-old rice be used for proper texture. In other words, the overnight chilling required to cut the unhealthful starch and calories in your white rice now serves as a bonus step in making fried rice. (See my fast veggie fried rice recipe below, too.)

Sadly, I never could make a lasting commitment to that other rice. You know (shhh...), brown rice. I tried everything—couple’s therapy, vacations abroad—but I just kept returning for my white rice fix.

Now the guilt is gone, along with much of the bad starch and half the calories...

The return of white rice!

Yeah, Chemistry!

The Recipe for Cutting
Calories in Your Rice 

Click for the free
recipe PDF.
To download this recipe in a free PDF document that you can print, save, or share, click here.

This "skinny" rice recipe
yields 1-1/2 cups of cooked rice.

(1) Add 1 teaspoon coconut oil
to rapidly boiling water.

(I use 1-1/4 cups water.)

(2) Stir in 1/2 cup of uncooked white rice
(non-fortified/non-enriched rice).

(3) Turn down the heat to a simmer,
cover with a lid, and cook for at least
20 minutes or up to 40 (until done). 

(The 20 minute minimum ensures the
chemical process will take place.)

(4) Chill for at least 12 hours.
(You cannot skip the chilling step.)

That's it!

You can reheat this rice
via microwave or stove, as in
my easy veggie fried rice recipe
below, and it will retain its lower
digestible calorie profile.

Some Q & As...

Can you double the recipe? Yes, that's what I do. For a yield of 3 cups of cooked white rice, melt 2 teaspoons of coconut oil into about 2-1/2 cups of rapidly boiling water. Stir in 1 cup of uncooked (non-fortified) white rice. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover with a lid, and cook for at least 20 minutes. Stir the rice at that point to prevent sticking, and continue cooking until the water is absorbed by the rice. 

COOKING TIPS: Here's a good trick to prevent burning. Turn off the heat when the cooking process is nearly through. Allow the hot pan to sit on the warm burner and continue cooking the rice until the water is completely absorbed and the rice is cooked.

Will you taste the flavor of coconut? Yes. And I find it delicious. If you're not a fan of the flavor, no worries. Using the rice in other recipes (like my veggie fried rice below) the coconut flavor is diluted against the other flavors in the recipe.

Won't the coconut oil add calories? At the American Chemical Society press conference in Denver, the scientist who presented these results basically said that if you stick to the amounts in the recipe (no more and no less), the chemical process will effectively nullify these calories.

Health benefits: According to the researchers, rice cooked this way may give you a healthier gut. The transformed starch in the reduced-calorie rice provides a potent energy source to the "good bacteria" in the human body. Coconut oil is also incredibly good for you. It helps prevent infections; it curbs obesity by increasing energy; and it boosts brain function. Learn more about coconut oil's many health benefits by clicking here

What kind of coconut oil? Look for unrefined, cold pressed coconut oil, ideally virgin. Some brands are better than others. To learn more, visit one of my favorite old recipe posts for Chocolate Ricotta Muffins, where I shared my favorite brand of coconut oil and a link for more suggestions. Click here for the chocolate muffin recipe.

In the video below, you can see one of the chemists who
made this discovery give his original 
Press Conference
Presentation at the 2015 American Chemical Society
meeting in Denver.


If you do not see the video above,
click here to view it on YouTube.


Guess what his next project is?

Cutting the digestible calories
in potatoes and (yes!) pasta.

Read the Washington Post 
article on this discovery here.

Cleo Coyle's Fast
Veggie Fried Rice

As I mentioned above, I love fried rice, which requires that day-old rice be used for proper texture. In other words, the overnight chilling required to cut the calories and unhealthful starch in your white rice now serves as a bonus step in making fried rice. Here's how I make mine...

Yields around 5 to 6 cups 

Warm a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add a generous splash of neutral oil (vegetable or canola). When hot, add chopped onion (1 medium yellow or whatever you have on hand). Saute until translucent and toss in finely chopped garlic and big chunks of peeled ginger (these big chunks are there to flavor the oil and should be removed before serving). Finally, add a generous splash of sesame oil.

Stir and cook until the onions are light brown (and caramelized) and the oil is infused with the ginger and garlic. Now carefully add your frozen veggies. Add them carefully because frozen water crystals will sputter and jump when they hit the hot oil in the pan. Take care not to get burned. What veggies you use are your choice. I like to add frozen peas, carrots, and sweet corn for a total of about 2 cups. Stir them up to coat with the delicious flavored oil then cover the pan for 1 minute. Lift the lid, stir again then cover for another 30 seconds or so. This should cook them through fairly well. 

Now add your day-old chilled "skinny" rice (add 3 cups, made as directed above) and stir until heated through and lightly coated with the flavored oil. Push everything to one side and add 2 large eggs (lightly whisked with a fork) to the hot bottom of the pan. Stir quickly as you would scrambled eggs and (before they are completely cooked and hard) fold into the rice and veggies. Finish by pouring on a mixture of soy sauce, rice vinegar, and white pepper. (Mix before pouring. I use 75/25 soy sauce and vinegar with a generous sprinkling of white pepper, but the ratio and amounts should be to your own taste.) Taste test and add more of this mixture if you'd like a more powerful flavor. Garnish with chopped green onions. 

*Variation: On days when I'd like a little spice in the mix, I add a chopped jalapeno with the garlic and ginger. (Be sure to remove the seeds and white membrane before chopping.) 

Click here for the free
recipe PDF, and...

Stay Cozy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

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Reviewer's Pick -
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* Dr Pepper Glazed Chicken
* Silver Dollar Chocolate Chip Cookies
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a guide to reading coffee grinds...

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  1. Thank you for the info of how to cut the calories in white rice. (I didn't know it was possible.)

  2. You're very welcome, Jen, thanks for dropping by today. I can tell you that I've been making my (white) basmati and Texmati rice this way for a few weeks now. I can actually *feel* the change in the digestion of this rice in my body. In simple terms, the "skinny" white rice feels more like oatmeal or a bowl of veggies going through my system. It’s as if the "roughage" in the rice has increased (which it has, according the chemists)!

    In other words, I feel great eating this rice. For me, it's a very useful discovery. I hope it is for you and others, too. More than ever, may you...

    Eat with joy,
    ~ Cleo
    Coffeehouse Mystery.com
    “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  3. Talk about "better living through chemistry"!
    I don't know how this works, but I'm happy it does.
    Good for you for finding it, trying it, and sharing it.
    And the fried rice looks delicious, of course.

  4. Why didn't they try this with cookies or ice cream? ; ) This is quite fascinating. Somehow, though, I'm picturing the guys from The Big Bang Theory hanging around in their kitchen trying to figure out how to make a time machine with rice and finding they cut the calories instead!

  5. Thanks for giving the quantity of coconut oil to rice. I had about this too but did not see proportions. And fried rice is a family comfort food with us. Depending on what I have, sometimes I leave out the ginger but not if I have a cough, it is said to help with that, and I tend to flavor the dish with salt, soy sauce, and/or a spoonful of store bought chili garlic sauce for a bit of kick.

  6. What a fascinating tip and yes, I'm going to try it. I love white rice and like you, can't wrap myself around the brown rice. Just too chewy and doesn't agree with me, which might be a celiac thing. (The awn of the brown rice captures wheat-type particles.)


    Daryl / Avery

  7. Cleo, this is just splendid! We will be trying it, because we find the carbs in rice are hard on the old blood sugar. So we'll be scientific about this find, Honestly, coconut is magic and so are you. XO

  8. Does this do anything good for wild rice, my other favorite rice? Thanks fo the great info.

  9. I am pinning this recipe and will be trying it soon!