Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Brown Rice


chappie
 Share

Recommended Posts

I've been trying to incorporate more brown rice in my cooking lately, and the latest Saveur introduced me to a new method that works great, but goes against everything I read in "Nourishing Traditions" about preserving nutrients in whole grains.

Without fumbling around for the issue, the techique is simply: Boil the rice on high, uncovered, in way more water than most recipes call for, for 30 minutes. (I usually scoop off a bunch of grey scum during this stage). Then you strain it, allow the mass to drain for a few moments, return to the empty pot, cover and allow to steam for 5-10 minutes or so. What results are perfectly cooked grains that don't stick together in a gummy clod, with portions undercooked, like many other cooking methods produce.

I know I am likely dumping out some vitamins here, but the rice is great, especially leftover for fried rice. The article says this works for any kind of brown rice. Has anyone else tried it, and if so, are there even better methods that perhaps result in less nutrient loss?

(Note: I couldn't find a main "brown rice" thread, so if there is one, please feel free to merge.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That actually sounds like a lot of work to me, and I don't like the idea of the scum forming.

I've started cooking a lot of brown Japanese rice this year. Both the organic Akita-Komachi brown rice sold by the Japan Centre in London and also grains labelled Sukoyaka Genmai (genmai means brown rice).

First stage is to give it a good rinse using a sieve. Let it drain. Measure out a big mugfull, measure out at least 1.5 mugfulls of water, leave the water and rice to sit for at least an hour and a half.

You'll need a nice heavy pot for this with a heavy lid that will 'stay put', but once the rice has soaked for a while, put the pan with the rice and water on a large burner/hob and whack up the heat to full with the lid on. Listen out, and once the water gets to a rolling boil (if you can tell without peaking so much the better as you lose steam by lifting the lid) move the pan over to the smallest hob you have and turn the heat to as low as it will go (you may need to have it a smidge higher depending on your cooker).

Depending on the rice, it should take 30 minutes from the point you move the hob over plus another ten minutes with the hob turned off.

Some of the Japanese brown rice will require more water, some a longer cooking time, but once you figure it out it's very simple. Rice comes out as nice and fluffy as you could expect this rice to, no scum, no faffing or scalding yourself. I've never had undercooked rice this way.

I've not experimented with other kinds of Brown rice as I enjoy the japonica varieties so much (and grew up eating paellas and Spanish Arrozes which are at least cousins) and it's unlikely that I'll be doing so any time soon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hadn't caught that in Saveur, but I had heard the method on Splendid Table. I did it just a couple of nights ago when I made a riff on Moors e Cristianos. The rice I used was Singing Pines Hand-Harvested, Wood Parched wild rice. Amazing stuff. I, however, did not do the steaming step, and it was perfect as is.

gallery_41282_4708_50482.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The actual ingredient is important too. Over a year ago I wrote about the Massa rice they feature and I tell you, there is nothing like it. I thought I didn't like brown rice but I was wrong!

Brown rice entry.

Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do brown rice that way when I'm in a hurry or don't want to turn my oven on, and think it turns out well (even without the full time for steaming...) But my personal favorite method for brown rice is the Cooks Illustrated method which involves mixing the rice with boiling water and then baking it in a covered casserole. I've found this makes my brown basmati incredibly fluffy and not dense or sticky at all, even more so than the "boil it like pasta in lots of extra water" method (which still certainly produces better results than the "cook it like regular rice in just enough water for it to absorb" method).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What is the big deal with cooking brown rice? That "boil in lots of water" approach doesn't save any time. What's the point of it? Is it solely to improve the texture?

I use the Texamati rices, 1 part rice to 2 parts water, simmer on lowest heat possible for 45 minutes. Always comes out fine. Perhaps it's not the fluffiest but the texture works for me.

My one variation on the label instructions is to saute the rice over low heat in a little melted butter (maybe 2 tsp. per 1/2 cup rice, as little as possible) for around 5 minutes, stirring constantly, before adding the boiling water. I saw someone do that somewhere some years ago; I've forgotten who or where. (I saw Lidia B do it more recently but she wasn't my oriignal inspiration.) It seems to help keep the grains from sticking together & adds a nice bit of flavor with a minimum of fat.

ETA: What is the purpose of rinsing your rice? What are you rinsing away? What does it accomplish? I assume that the scum wouldn't form in the boil-like-pasta approach, or perhaps not as much. Anything else to it?

I tried it once, but sauteeing wet rice doesn't work too well, so I didn't pursue that approach further.

Edited by ghostrider (log)

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's not about saving time. It's about achieving consistent, good results. The article discusses the fact that -- and I can corroborate this -- many of the methods shown on rice packages (even those on heirloom or organic, etc. varieties), don't yield a good finished product.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ghostrider -- What I meant is that the boiling saves time over Cooks Illustrated's baking method, when you factor in oven preheat time and such. I recognize that the boiling in lots of water doesn't save time over the more traditional cooking in just enough water to all be absorbed, but I agree with chappie that the boiling in lots of water yields a much better result -- less gluey -- between those two alternatives. I still feel the baked version gives the fluffiest, least gummy texture of all...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chappie --

Here is a site that received permission to print the Cooks Illustrated baked brown rice method... I know there was at least one other person on eGullet who commended this method too, over on the Cooks Illustrated thread... Note that I never find it takes even close to the full hour that the recipe states -- mine is typically done in about 35 minutes using brown basmati...

http://kitchen-parade-veggieventure.blogsp...lustrateds.html

Edited by Emily_R (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's not about saving time. It's about achieving consistent, good results. The article discusses the fact that -- and I can corroborate this -- many of the methods shown on rice packages (even those on heirloom or organic, etc. varieties), don't yield a good finished product.

Ghostrider -- What I meant is that the boiling saves time over Cooks Illustrated's baking method, when you factor in oven preheat time and such. I recognize that the boiling in lots of water doesn't save time over the more traditional cooking in just enough water to all be absorbed, but I agree with chappie that the boiling in lots of water yields a much better result -- less gluey -- between those two alternatives. I still feel the baked version gives the fluffiest, least gummy texture of all...

Thanks both of you.

I've never found my method to produce anything I'd call gluey or gummy, but it's possible that it could be fluffier. I'm not sure that I'd prefer it that way but I won't really know without some experimenting. I'll have to give these methods a try to see how they compare.

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ETA: What is the purpose of rinsing your rice?  What are you rinsing away?  What does it accomplish?  I assume that the scum wouldn't form in the boil-like-pasta approach, or perhaps not as much.  Anything else to it?

I once soaked my rice and didn't rinse it first I forgot to). The rice cooked perfectly but there was a noticeable, unappetising crust of scum formed on the top. Yuk!

I've never failed to rinse it since, and I've never had scum form on the top again.

That's all the convincing I need.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I find that toasting brown rice in a dry skillet makes it very tasty. No butter, just heat until it browns and even a few puff. Then cook in my rice cooker. Works every time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chappie --

Here is a site that received permission to print the Cooks Illustrated baked brown rice method... I know there was at least one other person on eGullet who commended this method too, over on the Cooks Illustrated thread... Note that I never find it takes even close to the full hour that the recipe states -- mine is typically done in about 35 minutes using brown basmati...

http://kitchen-parade-veggieventure.blogsp...lustrateds.html

I make my brown rice like this too( in the winter, not the summer when its 95F outside) and it comes out great!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I always toast my rice, in butter or sometimes without, to improve teh texture. I find it easier than boiling it like pasta. Sometimes with basmati I boil and drain, and I like it. Actually, I never understood why the exact amount of watear had to be added. It's simpler sometimes to just oil like pasta.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The actual ingredient is important too. Over a year ago I wrote about the Massa rice they feature and I tell you, there is nothing like it. I thought I didn't like brown rice but I was wrong!

Brown rice entry.

Any other suggestions for specific brands of brown rice for those who don't go to Ferry's?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I always toast (non-brown, haven't experimented with that variety yet) basmati in butter with a touch of oil for quite some time, then add water and cook the old-school rice way. But it's a much quicker-cooking rice than the browns I've been getting, which risk burning, undercooking and overcooking with several methods.

I'll try the oven method next. But, like I said, vitamin loss be damned, this "pasta boiling" way works great with the included post-boil steam. It doesn't require any measuring or monitoring, and you can prepare the rest of your dishes while it's rolling away on the stove.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use the 'pasta boiling' method for both brown (any grain) and basmati (and other long-grained) rice. For medium grained white rice, I use the rice cooker.

I rinse a few times and dump it into a large pot of boiling water (not measured, just make sure I have an excess of water). The brown takes about 20-25 minutes to get to the consistency I like (a little on the chewy side), and the basmati about 10. I rinse it in a colander, toss it back in the pot and fluff. Works fine each time.

I started doing this with basmati first, at the suggestion of an Indian friend who said this was how it was done in her family.

I like the toasting idea - may try that next time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I bought a Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Logic rice cooker. It cooks any kind of rice, and the bowl that it cooks in has printed in water lines depending on type of rice and how many cups.

I've cooked about 5 different types of organic brown rice from Natural Foods up the corner from where I live. I prefer the short brown rice.

ANyway, I put vegetables in with the rice, sometimes a little S&P and EVOO, and it comes out exactly right everytime. IT even keeps it warm for up to 12 hours without scorching or losing the just right consistency.

Pardon the pun, but just set it and forget it. It plays a little happy tune when its done, and even lets you know how much more cooking time is left.

For white rice, it allows you to choose soft, medium or firm textures.

For the money, I wouldn't be without it. I guess the fuzzy neuro logic is what does the trick. It must sense doneness, and does so extremely well. It placed first in rice cookers on America's Test Kitchen.

doc

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The actual ingredient is important too. Over a year ago I wrote about the Massa rice they feature and I tell you, there is nothing like it. I thought I didn't like brown rice but I was wrong!

Brown rice entry.

That brown rice from Masa Organic is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! I don't shy away from brown rice but let me tell you I've never had brown rice that I would call delicious and this rice is delish!

I discovered Masa Organics brown rice last fall when I was visiting San Fran and spent most of Saturday at the market.

Also, this is the first American grown rice that I really like. The other American rices that I've had have been too starchy. I am game to try others though so if anyone has any suggestions...

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 8 years later...
On ‎5‎/‎19‎/‎2008 at 11:12 AM, chappie said:

Without fumbling around for the issue, the techique is simply: Boil the rice on high, uncovered, in way more water than most recipes call for, for 30 minutes. (I usually scoop off a bunch of grey scum during this stage). Then you strain it, allow the mass to drain for a few moments, return to the empty pot, cover and allow to steam for 5-10 minutes or so. What results are perfectly cooked grains that don't stick together in a gummy clod, with portions undercooked, like many other cooking methods produce.

 

FWIW, I sometimes use the described method for making brown rice (I use Masa Organic and Koda brands mostly) and, before cooking, I thoroughly rinse the rice in lots of running water.  I put the rice in a strainer, run water over it while using my hand to stir and mix the grains.  This pretty much eliminates any grey scum, although there are times when some scum forms, and then I just skim it.  Usually the rice needs very little skimming.

Edited by Shel_B (log)

 ... Shel


 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On ‎5‎/‎21‎/‎2008 at 10:40 AM, deltadoc said:

I bought a Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy Logic rice cooker. It cooks any kind of rice, and the bowl that it cooks in has printed in water lines depending on type of rice and how many cups.

I've cooked about 5 different types of organic brown rice from Natural Foods up the corner from where I live. I prefer the short brown rice.

ANyway, I put vegetables in with the rice, sometimes a little S&P and EVOO, and it comes out exactly right everytime. IT even keeps it warm for up to 12 hours without scorching or losing the just right consistency.

Pardon the pun, but just set it and forget it. It plays a little happy tune when its done, and even lets you know how much more cooking time is left.

For white rice, it allows you to choose soft, medium or firm textures.

For the money, I wouldn't be without it. I guess the fuzzy neuro logic is what does the trick. It must sense doneness, and does so extremely well. It placed first in rice cookers on America's Test Kitchen.

doc

I have another model of the Zo (the induction kind) and I absolutely love it as well.

It makes every kind of rice imaginable perfectly.  Just about the best small appliance investment I've ever made.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...