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maggiethecat

Who in the World Eats Brown Rice?

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I hang my head with shame and admit that I hate brown rice. Seems most of the world does too, including my new extended Asian family -- you can bet that their rice cookers are churning out the white stuff, not the long-cooking crunchy gluey healthy stuff, with its whiffs of Birkenstocks. I may be way off here, which is why I'm starting this topic: is there a place in the world where brown rice is the rule, not the exception?

I'd love some geographical guidance.


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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This is speculation, not documented fact, but I'm guessing that white rice is universally preferred because brown rice goes rancid much more quickly, especially in the absence of refrigeration (and FoodSavers).

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Personally, I love brown rice. I cook it using the pasta method (ie in an abundance of salted water), which pretty much guarantees good results.

If have access to cook's illustrated, their recipe for Brown Rice with Parmesan, Lemon, and Herbs is absolutely fantastic.

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" ... whiffs of Birkenstocks."

:laugh: Very good.

In terms of geography, however, I'd say Colorado, not California. Maybe it's the altitude.

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To expand the topic a bit, the rise of "coloured" rice is in part tied in to health consciousness.

I know that brown, purple, and black rices are in favour with the Koreans, particularly the older folks as they're considered to be healthier.

It's also fashionable in Thailand to serve purple and black rices with meals, again seen as a "health conscious" choice.

Me, I like the crunchier chewier rices with some dishes. I find brown rice - or better yet, black - with it's nuttier background - goes well with grilled salmon. (and I do like that colour contrast)

But does that mean I'm going to start wearing comfortable shoes? :unsure:

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I certainly see alot of not just brown rice, but grain mixes in my local Korean market. I think it is a "health" thing. These are big displays with special sales and people are piling good sized bags in their carts.

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To expand the topic a bit, the rise of "coloured" rice is in part tied in to health consciousness.

I know that brown, purple, and black rices are in favour with the Koreans, particularly the older folks as they're considered to be healthier.

It's also fashionable in Thailand to serve purple and black rices with meals, again seen as a "health conscious" choice.

Me, I like the crunchier chewier rices with some dishes.  I find brown rice - or better yet, black - with it's nuttier background - goes well with grilled salmon.  (and I do like that colour contrast)

But does that mean I'm going to start wearing comfortable shoes?   :unsure:

Thanks, Peter, for the Korean and Thai view, and come to think of it "black treasure rice" was featured at my daughter's wedding reception. (And yes, there was salmon.) But still, I want to hear about a country or culture that puts brown rice first.

Yes, somewhere out there there's a brown rice/be good to your feet karma.


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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I hate boiled brown rice, but love rice cooker brown rice.  In fact, I eat it almost every day at my cafe (because I'm out of white  :biggrin: ).

Ditto. It always used to come out gummy when simmered in a pot, so I switched to a rice cooker years ago, and it's perfect every time - nice firm grains. Plus, I prefer the taste - it has a slight nutty taste. White rice is bland to me now.


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I hate boiled brown rice, but love rice cooker brown rice.  In fact, I eat it almost every day at my cafe (because I'm out of white  :biggrin: ).

Ditto. It always used to come out gummy when simmered in a pot, so I switched to a rice cooker years ago, and it's perfect every time - nice firm grains. Plus, I prefer the taste - it has a slight nutty taste. White rice is bland to me now.

That's a revelation of sorts. I've never felt the slightest need to buy a rice cooker for white rice, but if it can make brown rice edible I'll be thinking about picking one up at my next trip to the Super H Mart.

Still, it seems that brown rice is the nutritional pet of healthy peeps mostly in North America and Western Europe. Is there really nowhere on earth where it's the standard?


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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This is speculation, not documented fact, but I'm guessing that white rice is universally preferred because brown rice goes rancid much more quickly, especially in the absence of refrigeration (and FoodSavers).

Major hmmmm. Thanks, Richard.


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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I think most people dislike brown rice because they have only had it cooked badly and it has left a bad impression.

Cooked properly, it is wonderful in a warm (or cool) salad with a slightly piquant dressing, parsley, proper greek feta, sweet grape tomatoes, red onion, etc.

Nutty, separate grains with a slight bite/chew to it - it is a great combination.


Edited by infernooo (log)
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Hey, have you ever tried sticky brown rice? My mother and I prefer this to regular brown rice cause it's similar to korean white rice. We eat it when we want to eat "healthy." It's stickier and not as crunchy and is KIND of similar to white rice.

However you don't cook only sweet brown rice, you mix it with the sticky rice like you do with black rice (to make purple rice), barley, and other mixed grains.


BEARS, BEETS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA

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I love brown rice! Here in Seattle, many Asian restaurants offer it as an alternative to white rice.


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"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

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White vs Brown rice?

What about White vs "Brown" (wholemeal) wheat flour?

Or White vs Brown sugar?

Or table salt vs 'sel gris'?

It begins with some technology that "improves", purifies, refines the product.

To begin with, its the affectation of the rich.

Then, it hits the mass market, and everyone wants what the rich had.

Then it becomes the mass-market norm.

And then eventually, the unrefined product starts to sell at a premium to those who see the benefits... or maybe want to make a point - even if its only that they are outside the mainstream or else that they can afford it!

White rice and white flour do store better, I believe, which can provide production/distribution economies that (together with simple economies of scale) can lead to the refined product consolidating its mass-market dominance.

And, yes, with rice the faster, easier cooking of white rice might have something to do with market dominance as well. But, just as with wholemeal flour, brown rice is the nutritionally more valuable product...


"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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I hang my head with shame and admit that I hate brown rice. Seems most of the world does too, including my new extended Asian family -- you can bet that their rice cookers are churning out the white stuff, not the long-cooking crunchy gluey healthy stuff, with its whiffs of Birkenstocks.  I may be way off here, which is why I'm starting this topic: is there a place in the world where brown rice is the rule, not the exception?

I'd love some geographical guidance.

Try Kerala.

Rice is the stape through out peninsular (Southern) India, but most other states (other than Kerala) shifted to white (polished rice). I believe (though am not sure) that Ayurveda recommends white rice as being easier to digest.

Kerala however clings to red rice (partially husked) and rose rice (husked a little more than red). Local varieties (e.g. matta) that are fat grained are preferred, as they lend themselves better to this partial husking. The default option in restaurants and homes is red rice, even at celebrations. You have to ask for white rice specially if you want it, but why bother?

Like dougal mentioned re wheat flour and bread, brown/red rice was initially seen as declasse peasant food, and everyone aspired to white rice. But now due to health concerns and growing realization that local varieties are being edged out by all-India hybrids, many people are turning back to brown rice and red rice.

You can use red rice for almost all Southern Indian rice dishes (other than pulao and biryani which are Northern imports anyway): e.g. make it plain to eat with sambar, rasam, koottu, and meat, seafood, chicken etc dishes; make idli, dosai, adai, aapam etc batter; make puliyogarai, bisi bele, and similar rice dishes; make pradhaman/payasam, etc. Cooking times and water amounts are adjusted, of course, compared to white rice.


Edited by Milagai (log)
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Surprisingly, the people of Taiwan--beginning with a sort of yuppie foodie fringe--seem to be starting to come (back) around to brown rice, as well as to various multigrain mixtures, rather than the monochromatic bowl of white rice. A belief that these are healthier alternatives seems to be the chief motivation.

It should be noted, though, that rice considered "brown" by East Asians isn't necessarily as brown as our classic American hippie rice. I suspect it's milled a little more, since it has noticeably less tooth and sheen than our brown rice does. This is for the better: Were it as chewy as ours, it would repel rather than absorb sauces and cooking liquids, which is not particularly desirable.

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I ate my share of brown rice back in the day, when everyone else was eating it and it seemed like a novelty, and it can't be argued that it isn't good for you. Now, however, I've discovered that there are lots of healthy whole grains (many of them lower in calories than brown rice) that I much prefer: bulgar wheat, farro, barley--all of which are very high in fiber and (arguably) more versatile than brown rice, since I believe they work better (less gummy) in salads and soups. When I crave rice to go with Asian food or for rice 'n' beans, organic white basmatti is my rice of choice; I find the smell of it cooking to be addictive. But my interest has been piqued: I will try red rice the next time I see it.

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I hang my head with shame and admit that I hate brown rice. Seems most of the world does too . . . .

It's just like bread. A loaf can be highly virtuous with all the grains and outer layers intact, but a steamy soft slice white as snow is unbeatable. I wonder what the breakfast diner stats are for white versus brown toast.

Same goes for pasta -- I'd rather sprinkle wheat germ into the sauce than go with whole grain noodles.

Wild rice is not brown rice, but there are many places in the Americas where it's central to the diet.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

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Brown rice is at the bottom of my list because I've had it rancid too often. The first time I tasted brown rice was in California at the beginning of the healthy "hippie"?phase. Chinese people originally thought brown rice was for poor people - couldn't afford to get the grains polished. Now I believe, brown rice is more expensive. We eat mostly jasmine rice, followed by basmati, and lately, enjoying a 10-grains cereal in place of rice.

This 10-grain includes Australian brown rice (guess I'm still eating brown! :rolleyes: )sorghum rice, buckwheat, barley, pearl rice, wheat, oat, Job's Tear, millet, Gordon Euryale seeds, and black glutinous rice. The instructions said cook as for rice or as porridge.

With all these grains, the finished product is soft and chewy. For porridge, I cook it with more water.

I am confused about the difference stated between rice cooker and stovetop method. :unsure: The process is the same for both: first the water is brought to a boil until a certain amount of water has evaporated, then it is finished by "steaming". Rice cookers are automatic whereas stove top needs watching. (I have forgotten many times I've had a roomful of smoke and ruined pots.)

The difference in the finished product is governed by the amount of water and heat used. Any rice will be mushy if you use too much water.


Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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I suggest that you check out Peggy Knickerbocker's article about brown rice in the May 2008 Saveur (No.111), entitled "Born Again." James Oseland's short piece, "First," in the same issue also deals with the same subject. Unfortunately, I was not able to find these articles online to provide links.

Both pieces may answer your question in a roundabout way.

Oseland notes: "What exactly is brown rice anyway? I knew...from years of living in SE Asia, that much of the rice available there...is like brown rice, only minimally processed; the grains' hard, inedible hulls are removed, but usually no further milling is involved. Nevertheless, it was as white as snow...Shouldn't whole-bran rice be brown in color?"

"What (Saveur research assts) discovered...that "brown rice" is actually a production term, not an indication of a particular grain's color..."

Knickerbocker says in the article: "The term 'brown rice' is confusing shorthand because the color of the bran of a given variety of rice is often not brown." e.g., red rice, black rice.

Or to put it another way:

If you define "brown rice" to mean unpolished, whole-bran rice (which may be brown, white or a variety of other colors), and "white rice" as polished rice, then a significant part of the world eats "brown rice," especially where people are eating the rice they're growing on their own farms.

As far as your immediate problem goes, disliking American supermarket brown rice, I can feelingly relate, since I ate brown rice in the health-food '70s, and learned to detest it. But the article says most American brown rice is picked at an immature stage, and that accounts for its deplorable taste.

The article recommends an organic brown rice grower, Massa Organics, which is supposed to produce a mature, tasty brown rice. http://www.massaorganics.com/

The article also gives what is supposed to be a good recipe for properly cooking brown rice. http://www.saveur.com/article/food/Perfect-Brown-Rice

Knickerbocker's article makes a good argument about trying brown rice again, the good mature organic kind, properly cooked. And if I were the least bit openminded about the subject, which I'm not, I would give it another try.

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Rice cooker brown basmati rice is the best!! I cook it in my Zojirushi, and it comes out perfectly every time - smells FANTASTIC while it's cooking, too! Until we used the cooker, we hated it, too, but the cooker + brown BASMATI made all the difference!

Even my brown-anything hating DH is a convert, we haven't cooked white rice in months! :)

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I'm 47 and grew up eating brown rice in the US. I like it as much as white rice, and prefer it for use in fried rice because it won't stick to the pan much.

My current favorite type is red cargo rice, but I am also very fond of brown jasmine rice as well.

I like using the sticky black type as a color contrast with white rice in sushi, and serving it with other Japanese meals, even though I know it is not traditional.

For regular brown rice, my mother-in-law doesn't like the flavor of the 'exotic' types, I am particularly fond of a type that the LeeLee Market gets from Japan that has incredibly regular shape and identical size to the grains. (Sorry, I don't know the brand name, as I place it in a big jar as soon as I buy it. Phoenix has some very aggressive kitchen insects.)

As for history, I'd like to point out that Macrobiotics came to the US from Japan in the late 1950s, so, there must have been brown rice available in Japan at about that time.

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I know we've had this discussion before w/o the geographical component. I'm particularly intrigued by Millagai's comments about Kerala.

For everyday home consumption: Texamati brown basmati (organic or not, who really cares)? Treat it like a pilaf - sautee the grains in a little butter in an appropriately sized saucepan for a few minutes before adding boiling water & simmering per instructions. No rice cooker required. Yum. Delicious every time, straight out of the pan.

And yes, refrigerated storage is a good thing.


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