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Brown Rice Cooking Help

  • d

I seem to be cooking and eating a lot more brown rice these days, due to some dietary changes, and I have been having difficulty getting it to come out right--it's either overdone and mushy or underdone and chewy--and this would seem to be an easy thing to cook! I am a very experienced home cook (for the past 40+ years) so this shouldn't be a challenge for me. Any helpful hints are appreciated--do I need a rice cooker, perhaps?

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  1. I make brown rice all the time and, yes yes, I know some people dislike it, but cook's illustrated recipe is the BEST I've ever made. It is always absolutely consistent. The point of it is keeping your liquid at the same temp. Unfortunately, you have to bake it for an hour, but it's WELL worth it. I used to hate brown rice, now I love it.

    Be sure to cover the saucepan and use the water as soon as it reaches a boil. I use a square glass dish with a lid.

    serves 4 to 6
    1 1/2 cups long-grain brown rice or medium-grain brown rice, or short-grain brown rice
    2 1/3 cups water (or broth)
    2 teaspoons unsalted butter or vegetable oil
    1/2 teaspoon table salt

    heat oven to 375 degrees. Spread rice in 8-inch-square glass baking dish. Bring water and butter or oil to boil, covered, in medium saucepan over high heat; immediately stir in salt and pour water over rice when it's boiling. Cover baking dish with doubled layer of foil (I use one layer of foil and the lid). Bake for 1 hour. Remove, uncover, fluff, then re-cover with dish towel; let stand 5 minutes. Uncover and let stand 5 minutes longer.

    You can add all kinds of yummy stuff to this, too. CI had a version with basil, parsley, garlic, shallot, lemon and parm that was fantastic, too.

    Good luck. I recommend giving it a try!

    1 Reply
    1. re: krissywats

      Yes, I like this method too. I use a rice cooker for it these days, but this method works great.

    2. I will probably get blasted for this but here it goes.....

      I too had difficulty cooking brown rice so that it came out "right". I tried virtually all the no fail cooking techniques to no avail. Everyone suggested getting a rice cooker but I have no use for yet another gadget being that I am short on storage space as it is. What I do is buy TJ's frozen pre-cooked bags of brown rice. The box comes with 3 bags and each bags is approx 2-3 meal size servings. Just micro for 3 minutes and you are done. I bring brown rice with mixed veggies and 2-3 oz of some kind of protein for lunch everyday.

      Yes, I know that the cost of a rice cooker would "pay for itself" in no time since brown rice is very cheap in bulk and then I could freeze bags myself, blah, blah, blah. But for me TJ's convenience is worth it because it is a no brainer to add whole grains to my diet this way and insures that I bring a healthy low fat/low cal/high fiber lunch to work a day, avoiding the cafeteria all together.

      So if all else fails for you I highly suggest TJ's!

      4 Replies
      1. re: foodiex2

        i've recently discovered TJ's pre-cooked brown rice bags and i love them. when i first saw them in the store i had doubts, but i think they have a good quality to convenience ratio. i live in an apartment so i have limited cabinet space to store a rice cooker and a big bag of rice, and i have the tiniest freezer on earth which makes freezing items for future use next to impossible. plus, i just don't have the time to wait 50 minutes for brown rice to cook. it's nice to actually have a healthy option that can be ready in 3 minutes that doesn't taste crappy.

        1. re: foodiex2

          This is Trader Joe's--right? I don't have one that close to me, but I do make the trip now and then when I'm nearby and I'll look for it. This sounds perfect to me, even though I admit it's probably not the cheapest idea. I'm OK with going for convenience if it means I can stick to my eating program. Thanks so much for the tip!!

          1. re: Diane

            Yup, Traders Joe. No, it is not the cheapest but it guarantees I eat healthy so to its worth the trade off. If you can't get there often maybe you can spare the space in the freezer to stock up!!

          2. re: foodiex2

            I think the TK brown rice in a bag is a little dry, when cooked. I have a rice steamer (you put water in the bowl with the rice AND between the bowl and the cooker) and rice comes out perfect every time.

          3. Try "toasting" the rice in a hot pan before adding the water. Works for me.

            1. I use a rice cooker. A hint my grandmother just told me is to soak the brown rice (after washing) for a few hours before cooking.

              I think you also need to experiment with rice to water ratios - adjust it to your taste..

              1. d
                Das Ubergeek

                I use a rice cooker... put in brown rice, stick my finger in, pour water up to the second knuckle (assumes at least a cup of rice).