HOW TO COOK BROWN RICE
The longer I cook the simpler my recipes become but the difference is I really want to excel and perfect in completing a recipe. Perfection does not come as easily as you think when it comes to rice.! In fact it is not so easy at all! It’s not as simple as cover the pan and go about your business, but instead it becomes a necessity to be there if you want it to turn out great and participate in the preparation and cooking steps . But if you follow the simple steps and stay around, your rice dish will be a success every time.
The ingredients are basic and don’t break the bank. In addition, most of us have a pretty good idea what taste and texture rice should be so there is really not much freedom to define a new way of rice cooking.
Rinsing rice with plenty of water is of outmost importance. It “washes” off excess starch and talc powder that is used in the grinding process. Talc keeps the mill running smoothly. Rinsing is done in a pot of water until the water runs off clear or in other word has no more cloudy appearance. Sometimes it requires changing the water up to four times. Also this step pre-hydrates the rice, which will help cooking the rice evenly. Further, many people swear by soaking the rice in water before cooking, for up to four hours, or a minimum of two hour. This gives the cooked rice a particular lightness that is also know as fluffiness. Pre soaking the rice should be done in the actual cooking water so that the ratio of rice to water won’t get messed up.
How much water do you need in rice cooking?
The water ratio is all over the place because there are many different kinds of rice.
A good rule of thumb is using the same weight for rice and water. If really necessary, and the rice are still undercooked after the cooking time, add a little more water to the rice. Using the same weight method almost guarantees a finished rice product, which that is not soggy or overcooked due to excess water usage.
Rice cooker vs. stovetop pot
I’ve cooked rice on the stovetop in heavy pots such as Le Creuset or Staub, which have excellent heat distribution and make properly cooked rice. A simple stainless steel pot will work just fine. Another important part of rice cooking is to have a tight fitting lid on the pot so steam won’t escape.
The downside of cooking rice in a pot is that it needs heat calibration, hence it’s not that great for the novice.
How to cook rice on the stovetop:
The basic recipe is to bring water and rice to boil on high heat setting and then continue to cook on low heat setting until the rice is cooked. The time varies a little bit and depends which pot is used but it will most likely cook in 45 – 50 minutes, then allow it to sit an additional 20 minutes next to the stove top so that the rice can absorb all the liquid. At this point the rice can be scraped with a plastic spatula and tossed with some sort of fat such as butter, EVOO, coconut oil etc. I prefer a plastic spatula or paddle to mix or “fluff” the rice versus a metal spoon because it’s gentler on the individual rice corn and does not crush or damage it.
Many people swear by cook the rice cooker, which takes the brains damage out of the process – for my part I favor it. Most of the time an electric rice cooker has an aluminum rice pot-insert and it heats on the bottom and on the sidewalls equally well and works in combination with a heat-regulating mechanism – meaning when the water has been soaked up by the rice it will turn off automatically. It’s as simple as push one button and the rice cooker does it’s magic – that’s it!
Spice & rice
Since this post is all about basic brown rice we’ll keep this simple. Salt is an absolute necessity unless it needs to be left out e.g., cooking in a health institution.
I recommend 1/2 teaspoon sea salt per each cup of uncooked rice as the lowest amount since the cooked rice will most likely expand to 3x it’s original raw volume. Bay leaf is the other must-add. 1 dried bay leaf per each 2 cups of raw rice.
The following combinations are all cooked with salt and bay leaf and give you the faintest sense of spiced rice:.
(suggestions based on 2 cups of raw rice)
– 1 pod of cardamom and a 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon
– ½ onion spiked with 2 pc of clove (discard after the rice is cooked)
– ½ onion, 1 medium sized carrot, 1 stalk green celery, 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
The spices can be combined with the raw rice but if you like a clean looking rice, put the spices into a small spice bag so it can be easily removed after the cooking process. They can be ordered online or in a kitchen specialty store.
Basic Brown Rice
(yields 6 cups brown rice)
2 cups brown long-grain rice
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 bay leaf
rice spice & vegetables (see above under Rice & Spice headline)
water (same weight as rice)
1 tablespoon of fat e.g. butter, EVOO, coconut oil
1 tablespoon fat e.g. EVOO, butter, coconut oil etc.
1 teaspoon chopped herbs e.g., parsley, thyme, lemon thyme, rosemary, cilantro etc.
- Rinse rice with water until the water runs-off clear.
- In a pot combine rice, water and spices.
- On high heat setting bring mixture to boil then cover with a tight fitting lid and cook on low heat setting for 45 minutes. Move the rice pot on the side of the stove and let the rice absorb the rest of the water for 20 minutes.
- In bowl toss the cooked rice with fat and herbs stirring with a plastic spatula.
Last but not least – guaranteed unsticky rice
The blanching method is another way to cook rice and it will come out unsticky or gluey every time. Per 1 cup of brown rice fill a pot with 8 cup of water and add 2 teaspoon of sea salt and bring to boil. Add the rice and simmer the rice on medium heat setting for 30 minutes. Pour the rice into a strainer and put the rice back into the pot. Cover with a tight fitting lid and cook the rice for another 20 minutes on the lowest heat setting. With a rubber spatula add your desired fat. Voila guaranteed not sticky rice!