Brown rice seems to be an intimidating grain when you are not familiar with its basics. Simple steps are often overlooked such as washing the rice before cooking, adding enough water, and letting the rice rest after cooking. These are 3 common mistakes people make while cooking brown rice.
Is this the first time you are cooking brown rice? Perhaps, you are having a hard time cooking which is why you are currently reading this post. Brown rice is considered to be the best of all rice grains and cooking it should not intimidate you.
In this post, I’ll give you tips on how to prepare the perfect brown rice for your next healthy meal and what to avoid!
Showcase your Cooking
Cooking rice is an easy kitchen task yet the most complicated one to understand. Due to so many rice varieties, you cannot clearly identify which process works for which type.
And you cannot memorize all these grains and their processes too! 😛
Brown rice is by far the healthiest rice grain and is now popular worldwide because of its overwhelming benefits. Personally, I prefer eating brown rice because it keeps me fit and healthy especially that I have a busy lifestyle.
However, some people really find cooking brown rice so intimidating. I was also skeptical at first, and I read a lot of recipes and watched several cooking video tutorials.
Whole grains are quite different from the others in terms of process, this is why a lot of people fail in understanding the key techniques in handling these kinds.
Mistake #1 Not Washing the Rice
The first thing I notice is that not all people actually wash and rinse their rice before cooking. Washing your rice significantly reduce dirt, dust, and other elements present in the grains.
Though there are many debates concerning the health risks of not washing rice before cooking; let’s be careful in dealing with it since most of the rice we purchase come from overseas.
Not all rice brands use the “Musenmai technology” or the ‘no-wash’ needed, so safe to presume that they need to be clear of contaminants before cooking.
This is a Japanese technology where they already washed and pre-cooked the grains to lock in the essential nutrients. So when you purchase it, you can just toss it over your cooker!
For white rice, you can wash and rinse the grains until the water runs clear. But, for brown rice, you can wash similarly or at least 3 times. Just make sure that there are no more visible dust or dirt present in the grains.
It’s not going to take much time, simply place the pot of rice under running water and mix it with your hand.
Mistake #2 Not Adding Enough Water
Because brown rice still got everything intact, it is quite firm and nutty in texture and earthy in flavor. For best cooking results, add enough water to cook the grains thoroughly.
Some of my friends actually suggested using a rice cooker so I don’t have to worry about undercooked or overcooked rice.
But then, I wanted to learn how to cook brown rice using stove-top too. Anyway, it doesn’t matter what cooking method you will use with brown rice as long as you got all these 3 tips covered. 😉
What is important here is the amount of water you will add during the cooking process. The outer bran of brown rice absorbs more water and longer cooking time this is why the standard water ratio is 2:1.
You will need 2 cups of water to a cup of brown rice to evenly cook the grain. But, what if you have added plenty or little water, what will happen to the rice?
Check out how you can still salvage the rice in case you get caught up in these scenarios:
What to do with undercooked brown rice?
Undercooked brown rice is not pleasant to eat but you can still do a quick fix in case you are caught up in this scenario.
Add at least 1/4 cup of water to your rice, cover, and let it steam under lowest heat for 5 minutes.
It takes about 45 minutes to an hour in cooking brown rice. The perfect way to minimize the cooking time is to soak your brown rice overnight or at least an hour or two.
Be extra careful in cooking pre-soaked brown rice. You don’t need to add 2 cups of water at this point, you can use the general ratio of 1:1.
Otherwise, your brown rice will be too wet and grains too separated.
What About Burnt Brown Rice?
I’ve done this a hundred times and because of that, I managed to make a quick fix for this rice cooking problems. Usually, burnt rice happens when you are using the stove-top method and on high heat.
Rice cookers, barely produce burnt rice and if it does, it is only sticking at the bottom and not totally burnt. In case you are experiencing this awful scenario, place the bottom of the pot on cold water, (not inside the pot). This will prevent burning the rest of the rice.
While doing this, salvage whatever rice you have left and tip it off the pot. Be careful not to scrape the burnt part, you may not like the taste!
Mistake #3 Not Resting the Rice
I’m guilty of this third and last mistake when cooking brown rice. Usually, I cook when I am starving so I have little patience in every little thing. I always end up eating undercooked rice! I’m pretty sure, you were in these shoes too! 😀
However, this is not a good practice. Like any other rice grains, brown rice needs a bit of resting before serving.
Serving brown rice right away after cooking is not a good idea. It is best to let the rice rest for about 5-10 minutes and let its own steam cook it more. The steam that the rice release makes it softer too.
You can practically do this while cooking brown rice in a pot. Simply turn off the heat after all water is absorbed and leave it covered.
Best if you can fluff it a little using a fork or spatula so the steam will go through the bottom area of the pot. Just like in using a rice cooker, once the rice is cooked, it automatically switches to the keep warm mode where the steam cooks the rice thoroughly. You can also use rice spatula included with the cooker to fluff the rice.
Methods in Cooking Brown Rice
There are different ways of cooking brown rice. You can use any of the following:
- Absorption method
Among these, the absorption method seems to be the perfect fit since it retains all the rich nutrients in rice.
You can also use the 3 popular cooking techniques which are:
Other techniques may include using a slow cooker and even pressure cooker in preparing brown rice. However, you need to carefully follow the cooking principles of each kitchen equipment you wish to use.
Among these, I find the stove-top and rice cooker more accessible to everyone. Although microwave is more common cooking equipment at home, there is a stigma about it that it may not be healthy to use for a long time.
But, it sure does help in quick cooking!
Rice Cooker vs. Stove-top
As technology rises. kitchen appliances also upgrade in so many ways. The most common upgrade we see is the way we cook rice.
We read and heard stories of people from Asia on how they cook rice in such innovative manners until the stove-top technology arrived. Since then, cooking was made easier.
Rice cookers, on the other hand, brought a modern twist to rice cooking. Until today, rice cookers have only improved its technology to compete with the fast-paced lifestyle of most people worldwide.
You have an option on what method to use in cooking. What you need to do is determine your needs and see which among these two is more convenient for you.
Which is Better?
A lot of people may argue that a rice cooker is better than the stovetop and vice versa.
I can still hear my grandma’s voice echoing inside my head “Stovetop is easy, you just put the rice in the pot, wash, add water, and let it boil. Turn the heat down when the water is almost gone, you don’t need a rice cooker! ” This was when my mother bought her a rice cooker to use. 😀
Apparently, when I became independent and started living alone, I began searching for a kitchen appliance that would be easy to handle and more versatile. And this is where my friends suggested the idea of buying a rice cooker.
Of course, having a stovetop lets you cook so many dishes, but my concern was, I need to get a lot of pans and pots! This was when I discovered the wonders of rice cookers.
Rice Cooker Versatility
When it comes to cooking many dishes using only one device, the rice cooker actually tops my list. In many of our posts, we have showcased a lot of rice cooker recipes you can try.
Cooking brown rice is not a problem with rice cookers too! Upgraded rice cookers such as that of Zojirushi Rice Cooker & Warmer NS-ZCC10/18 is a great innovation.
It can cook a wide variety of rice grains like white rice or sushi rice (you can have an option for softer or harder), mixed grains, sweet rice, porridge, brown rice, rinse-free, and even quick cooking.
What’s best about this model is that it uses computer microchips in cooking. So it’s more like of cooking “on its own” because it can easily adjust the cooking heat and time to ensure you get perfect rice all the time!
What is Perfect for Cooking Brown Rice?
If you own a modern rice cooker, you don’t have to worry on randomly checking your rice since the device has a brown rice cooking setting.
Simply follow the 3 tips given above and surely, you will get perfect brown rice!
Although the stove-top method is more practical, it takes quite an experience to master the cooking process. From water to rice ratio, and you might even need more time to spare to check on your cooking.
I don’t say stovetop is not a good idea at all, what I am trying to emphasize is the benefit of rice cookers for those people who are always on the go!
You don’t need to own a modern rice cooker like what I mentioned, this is just an option for you guys, any rice cooker can actually be versatile.
We Recommend Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 Rice Cooker
If you’d like to know what the best rice cooker so far is, it’s actually the Zojirushi NS-ZCC10.
The reason why I am recommending Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 is that it certainly eliminates all the mistakes you might probably encounter while cooking rice.
Even if you accidentally added a bit too much water, this rice cooker will extend and use its neuro-fuzzy technology to make sure that your rice will still come out excellent.
This technology cooks rice perfectly every time and stays warm without dehydrating the grains.
Apart from being the #1 rice cooker brand in Japan and worldwide, Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 is well-received, rated, and used by satisfied homeowners across the globe.
For me, undercooked or burnt rice is no longer an option with Zojirushi NS-ZCC10. Only perfect rice!
Ginger Chicken with Brown Rice Recipe
Are you wondering what else you can do with brown rice? Here is another excellent take on brown rice made by HenryFordTV. Watch this video tutorial so you can try it for dinner tonight!
To wrap up this post, today we learne that there are 3 common mistakes people make while cooking brown rice. We may not really notice it from the start but as we go along cooking, we realize that the mistakes are caused by these tiny details.
They may look so simple like, from washing the grains down to adding enough water ratio and letting the rice rest before serving, however, they contribute a lot to the overall result of your cooking. You may end up with an under or overcooked brown rice.
If you get to follow and understand the reasons behind why each tiny detail matters, you will learn that cooking rice totally depends on how you treat it. It is more of becoming more familiar with your recipe than the ingredients.
I hope you get to practice and avoid doing these mistakes again. Remember, cooking should be fun and natural. Don’t get too intimidated with the process!