Healthy Ramadan Recipe Makeovers: Fragrant Brown Rice

In this series, I will be sharing healthier alternatives to well-loved meals to share with your family and friends this Ramadan.

All over Asia, rice is a staple food whose importance can not be overstated. Many nutritional deficiencies occur when white rice is consumed, the most notable is a thiamine (B1 deficiency) which can result in Beri Beri or a niacin (B3 deficiency) also known as Pellagra (Fallon, Sally Nourishing Traditions, 38). The B vitamins are essential to maintaining good health, and B3 is important in maintaining heart health. Interestingly, both Beri Beri and Pellagra were unknown conditions before the introduction of white rice. Both these conditions are not a disease, but the result of nutrient deficiency.


  • 4 cups brown rice
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 strip kombu
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • Salt


In a stock pot, heat butter and add in onions. Fry for 1-2 minutes. Add in garlic and fry for 1-2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt. Pour in the water and add the kombu, 1 tablespoon butter and enough salt to taste. Bring to a boil. Add in turmeric and saffron and rice.

Cover (leave a space for the steam to escape) and let boil for 15-20 minutes. Keep an eye on it and add water in need be. Reduce heat to medium and let cook for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for another 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit until absolutely tender.

Serve, and enjoy!

Anisa Abeytia is a published author and poet. Her work is translated into over 12 languages and covers wide-ranging topics from science to art. After earning her B.A in Creative Writing from the University of Southern California, Abeytia started her career working for one of the producers of the "Godfather Trilogy." She later attended graduate school at Stanford University and holds a Master's of Art and Science. Over the last four years she was active in advocating for the Syrian cause and most recently for refugee rights. She is the director of "Anywhere But Home," a documentary following the journey of Syrian refugees to Norway. She is also the producer of "I Am My Homeland," a film that documents the experience of Syrian-Americans and Syrian refugees in the U.S.

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