Making GABA rice at home is really easy. We all want to maximize nutrition in our meals, and here is a super economical way to do so.
When I shared my kimchi fried rice recipe last month using sprouted GABA rice, a few people asked me on Instagram what GABA rice is and how to make them. GABA rice is sprouted brown rice that is more nutritious with special health benefits. Here I will be sharing how I sprout and cook GABA rice at home as well as some tips.
What Is GABA Rice?
Sprouted brown rice is also called GABA rice, because it contains higher amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a very beneficial nutrient for the nervous system and brain health. GABA rice is used in Japanese cuisine.
GABA calms the brain, improves sleep and reduces anxiety. Besides GABA, the process of sprouting increases the amount of many other nutrients, such as iron, zinc, magnesium, and vitamin E. Sprouting also reduces anti-nutrients such as phytic acid, making the brown rice more digestible and easier on the stomach. Brown rice has higher nutritional values than white rice, but many people find them tougher to eat. GABA rice is even more nutritious, softer in texture and tastier than regular brown rice.
You can find GABA rice at a premium price in Asian, Japanese, Korean grocery stores, and health food stores. They are first sprouted then dehydrated again in order to be sold in packages. However, sprouting your own GABA rice at home is way more economical, and extremely easy to do.
Sprouting Rice At Home
Proper soaking and sprouting provide more health benefits, and this is true for all kinds of rice and other seeds as well. Here is how to grow sprouts using any grains, seeds and legumes, and the health benefits. For this GABA rice recipe, see below for specific tips on how to germinate rice.
What Rice Should I Use?
Any kind of whole grain rice. Although store-bought GABA rice is sprouted from brown rice, I like to use a variety of whole grain rice, including red rice and black rice, for a wide range of nutrition. Note that polished rice with germ removed will not sprout.
How To Sprout Rice
Simply soak the whole grain rice in room temperature water. Change the water every 8 to 12 hours. Around the 2-day mark, you should see tiny sprouts start to emerge. I usually soak my rice for 2 to 3 days. If your rice doesn’t sprout at all after 3 days, you may want to try a different brand.
Storing Sprouted GABA Rice
I recommend planning your meals ahead, so that you can cook the rice right away once sprouted. Sometimes we get busy, and we need to delay cooking by a day or two. For short-term storage, cover the germinated rice in some new water and keep in the fridge until the time of use.
Although some people may want to dehydrate the sprouted rice for long-term storage, I really don’t think it’s worth it. Freshly sprouted rice has soaked up a lot of water and cooks faster. The sprouting process is extremely straightforward, and much easier than dehydrating the rice and then rehydrating again. All you need is a little planning to soak the rice in advance.
Why I Use a Rice Cooker To Cook Home-Sprouted GABA Rice
One thing to keep in mind is that freshly sprouted rice has soaked up a lot of water and expanded in volume significantly. When cooking your rice, if you use the same water-to-rice ratio as if using dry rice, you will end up with really soggy rice.
The easiest way to achieve the best result is to measure out dry rice before sprouting. For example, I use 2 rice cooker cups (rice cooker cup is 180ml) of dry rice. After sprouting, I place the expanded rice inside the rice cooker, and then fill the water to the line indicating the correct level for 2 cups of brown rice. Using this method, the total amount of water is the same, regardless how much the rice has expanded after soaking and sprouting.
Making a Full Meal
Here are some tasty dishes you can serve with GABA rice to make a nutritious full meal.
- Spicy Beef Stir Fry
- Easy Stir Fry Kimchi & Pork Belly
- Stir Fry Bean Sprouts with Minced Pork (Keto, Gluten-Free)
- Spicy Cumin Lamb (Keto, Gluten-Free, Paleo)
- Nourishing Lamb and Spinach Curry: Food for Winter
- Chinese Eggplant Recipe: Red-Braised Eggplants
- Stir-Fried Sour Long Beans and Minced Pork (酸豇豆炒肉末)
How To Make GABA Rice
- 2 180ml-cups whole grain rice
- Measure out dry whole grain rice using the rice cooker cup (180ml/cup).
- Rinse the rice and then place the rice in a large bowl. Cover the rice with room temperature water. Change the water every 8 to 12 hours.
- Around 2 days, you should see tiny sprouts start to emerge from the rice. Soak the rice for 2 to 3 days.
- Rinse the rice again before cooking. Place the rice in rice cooker, then fill water to the line indicating the correct level for 2 cups of brown rice. (If you start with more or fewer cups of dry rice, fill water to the corresponding line.)
- Press the "menu" button to toggle to pre-programmed "brown rice" setting. To start cooking right away, press the "cooking" button. To set the timer for later, press the "timer" button to toggle between “timer 1” and “timer 2” to choose the timer you want to use, then use the “▲” and “▼” buttons to adjust finish time, then press “cooking” button to start the rice cooker on the timer.
- When cooking is done, the rice cooker will play a ringtone, and then automatically switch to “keep warm” setting until it is manually turned off.