Wednesday, May 11, 2011

3 Ways to Cook Brown Rice

So rice…you are still using Uncle Bens Instant rice because… haven’t had a positive experience cooking the good stuff? And by good stuff I mean regular white rice or BROWN RICE. You know what I’m talking about, the water won’t evaporate or it scorches on the bottom, sometimes the rice transforms to a gooey, mushy mess. Well, lets put those bad experiences behind us and start fresh. In this post you’ll find three different methods for cooking BROWN RICE. Why brown rice? Because it’s WAY better for you and it actually has a taste whereas white rice has no other redeeming value except that it looks good with Chinese food. But before we focus on the cooking methods I have some tips I’d like to share.

Tip 1             
Don’t rinse your white rice…any enrichment added to healthy it up would be washed away. 
White rice is ready to cook so just leave it as is.

Tip 2            
Don’t rinse your brown rice either. 
(unless it's grown and/or packaged OUTSIDE the US - See Sierra's notes in the comments-very helpful)
It doesn’t affect the end product enough to matter; it wastes time and water 
AND may dirty a dish that doesn’t need to be dirtied. Who needs more dishes – not me.

Tip 3             
The cooking methods I’m including can be used with short, medium, or long grain brown rice. 
They can also be used with white rice however cooking times and water ratios may need to be adjusted. 
(For the record I prefer method 3 for white rice.)

Tip 4           
There is a difference between short, medium and long grain rice in both flavor and texture however to cook them, you can still use any of the three methods included below WITHOUT having to adjust water or cook times. Alton Brown offers one difference between the lengths of the grain in his Good Eats episode, “Do The Rice Thing”. He explains that short or medium grain rice are better to use if you are planning on storing the cooked rice in the fridge and then eating later cold. The molecular structure of LONG grain rice turns hard when the rice is cooled and the short or medium grain stay soft. Never fear the hardness of the long grain, once heat is applied, softens it right back up again. If you are going to stir fry your rice, day old, refrigerated long grain is ideal. If you are going to eat your rice leftover in a cold salad, short and medium grain rice will work splendidly.

Now…to the cooking methods!

Method 1

I like method 1 because it’s consistent and IT’S THE QUICKEST WAY TO COOK BROWN RICE THAT I KNOW OF. I don’t like method 1 because it dirties 2 dishes and it makes the inside of my house really humid - not so bad in the winter, but horrible in the summer.

Boiled Brown Rice

2 ½ cups brown rice

  1. Fill an 8 qt stockpot with water until waterline is 2 inches below the top rim of the pot.
  2. Bring water to a rolling boil, stir in rice and continue to boil, UNCOVERED, for 30 minutes. If water boils over, turn the heat down a tad.
  3. Pour the rice into a strainer over the sink and let it drain for 10 seconds.
  4. Return the rice to the pot, off the heat. Cover the pot with a lid and set it aside to allow the rice to steam for 10 minutes.
  5. Uncover the rice, fluff with a fork, and season with salt if desired.
Source: adapted from 

Method 2

I like method 2 because it’s also consistent and it only dirties one dish. Also, if I needed to do a large batch I could double the amounts and put it in a 9x13 pan and really I could stuff my oven full of 9x13 pans if I needed that amount of rice. I don’t like method 2 because it takes a full hour before it’s ready and it makes me use a sheet of aluminum foil. I’m trying to cut back on my use of one-time-use items like aluminum foil and parchment paper. As much as I cook rice though, I could probably just save the aluminum and use it again each time I bake rice.

Baked Brown Rice

1 ½ cups brown rice
2 ½ cups water
1 tbsp unsalted butter (optional)
1 tsp salt (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place the rice into an 8-inch square glass baking dish
  3. Bring the water, butter, and salt (if using) to a boil. 
  4. Once boiling, pour water over the rice, stir to combine, and cover the dish tightly with a heavy-duty aluminum foil.
  5. Bake of the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour
  6. After 1 hour, remove cover and fluff rice with a fork.
Notes: Alton adds 1 tablespoon unsalted butter and 1 teaspoon salt to the rice. I left it out because I like my rice plain, however the rice did stick a little to the glass dish. I pretty sure the addition of butter would prevent it from sticking.

Source: adapted from Alton Brown on the food network 

Method 3

I like method 3 for white rice and that’s about it. I have had anything but consistent results when it comes to steaming brown rice so I’m including this method just in case you want to try it. If you think you are better than me…I’m totally ok with that. Let me know your secrets.

Steamed Brown Rice

1 cup brown rice
2 ½ cups water

  1. Bring water to a boil.
  2. Stir in rice, turn heat down to low (or off completely) and cover pot with lid. Allow rice to steep for 35-50 minutes until rice is tender, water has evaporated/absorbed and steam holes can be seen on the surface of the rice.
Source: adapted from Clean 


Ju said...

And here I only thought there was one way to do it. Which is none of the ways you've listed... But close to #3. We mainly use short grain brown rice, it is a favorite. I do 1 cup brown rice to 2 cups water, bring to a boil and turn down heat to low (simmering) for 40 minutes. Works everytime. You could also add a little oil prior to boiling.

Amy said...

What a great resource! I've used a method similar to Ju, but with mixed results--I can't wait to try method 1!

Trac said...

This is good to know. You'd think it would be pretty simple, yet I always get frustrated and just throw it away. I'll give your methods a try.


Great post! I love baked rice. :)

Sandra said...

Nice tips and methods..very well one! I am rice lover too!:))

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

Wonderful options! I always use method 3 as that's what my mom did. We love rice :)

Sook said...

Thanks for the tips! I always have a hard time cooking brown rice because it usually comes out not cooked well. I will try your ways! :)

thecoffeebreak said...

I absolutely love brown rice!Thank you for sharing with very useful info!

Kate from Scratch said...

I love this! And...I love brown rice, hence loving this post! Thank you so much for the tips. Mine always turns to mush, so I kind of abandoned it after a few tries. Thank you and I'll definitely be trying this.

Sierra said...

yum! i needed a tip to cook brown rice :) however...i just wanted to point out that, depending on the origin of your rice, you may or may not need to rinse it. i took a safety and sanitation course last semester, and dry rice can actually harbor bacteria/pathogens that can make you VERY sick. if your rice is made and manufactured in the US, you don't need to rinse it (I believe Uncle Ben's is made and manufactured here). if your rice is imported from another country, you need to rinse it at least once, if not twice. other countries' sanitation standards are not as high as ours are, so just check where your rice is coming from! don't want to step on your toes, i just thought it was important to point that out so that no one got sick because of that. i'm not sure about you, but i don't enjoy spending my evening/night/next morning hanging over the porcelain throne... :)

Apron Appeal said...

Sierra. Thank you very much for the helpful information. I updated the info on the post however I do have a question. If the rice is boiled (or steamed at a high enough temp) wouldn't that kill any pathogens anyway?

Sierra said...

For some reason it doesn't. I'm not sure why. They told us that the rice needs to be rinsed - I guess it washes away when you rinse it, but if you boil/steam it can cook into the grains of the rice (when rinsing, the pathogens run out of the rice as the water runs through it but when boiling, the water is absorbed into the rice). I thought it was a little backwards that it would rinse away but not be killed when at a high temperature, but we were told numerous stories about people who had gotten sick off unrinsed rice...better safe than sorry!

dinnerordessert said...

I love this post. I can never master the art of cooking rice no matter how many times I try. I think next time I will try the baking method. Your blog looks great!

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