Brown rice may take longer to cook, but if you consider that brown rice is less processed than white rice and contains more vitamins and minerals, fiber and antioxidants than white rice. Brown rice is considered a whole grain – only the inedible outer husk is removed, leaving the nutrient-dense outer bran layer. Brown rice is also much more flavorful than white rice, so here’s a quick tutorial on how to cook brown rice to perfection.
Whole-grain rice (any variety) is a good source of complex carbohydrates. It also contains dietary fiber, protein, and minerals including magnesium (which many people are deficient in), thiamin, niacin, and phosphorous.
Each ½ cup serving contains:
- 108 calories (when cooked with water; broth may add a few calories, depending on the type of broth used)
- 22g carbohydrates (complex)
- 2g protein
- 1g fat
- 2g fiber
- 5mg sodium (also depends on whether you’re using lightly salted water, homemade broth, or store-bought broth)
- 77mg potassium
- 0mg cholesterol
Brown Rice Shopping Tips
Whole grain (brown) rice is available in several varieties:
- Short-, medium- or long-grain
- Quick-cooking/instant (ready in 5-10 minutes)
Long-grain rice tastes mildly sweet and nutty, and the grains remain separate and fluffy after cooking. Great served with game or fish.
Medium-grain rice slightly stickier than long-grain rice, but not as much as short-grain rice. This is a great all-purpose brown rice.
Short-grain rice is sticky, and is a tasty substitute for white rice in sushi or rice pudding.
Jasmine rice and basmati rice are considered more specialty rices. Jasmine rice is a long-grain rice with a delightfully sweet floral aroma. This long-grain rice is perfect for Thai cuisine. Basmati rice is also a long-grain aromatic rice (reminiscent of popcorn) that is a staple in Indian cuisine.
Store brown rice in a tightly sealed package for up to 6 months at room temperature, or longer in the refrigerator or freezer. In humid climates, prevent staleness by storing in the refrigerator or freezer.
Basic Cooking Instructions
To make 3 cups of cooked rice:
- 1 cup rice
- 2-½ cups water or broth (use vegetable, chicken, or beef broth, as you prefer)
Put rice and your liquid of choice (broth or water) into a 1-quart pot, cover, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and let the rice simmer, covered, for 40-50 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Remove from heat, and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork, and serve.
To make gourmet-level rice, try this:
- Use a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid; a larger cooking surface allows for even heat distribution which leads to more consistent cooking of every grain
- Use lightly salted water (if you’re not using broth); broth is preferable for added flavor, but only for savory dishes. For sweeter rice dishes, use lightly salted water.
- To simmer, use a simmer burner or the lowest possible setting on a regular burner
- Don’t just go by the clock! A small batch (less than 1 cup) or a large batch (over 2 cups) can significantly alter cooking time. So can altitude (over 5,000’) and even the material used in the saucepan. Start checking your rice after 30 minutes to prevent burning.
- Don’t adjust the ratio. To avoid mushy or crunchy rice, stick to the 1 cup of rice to 2-½ cups of liquid ratio.
- Let the rice rest with the lid on for 5 minutes. This resting time is essential to cool the rice and let each grain firm up a little.
- Fluff the rice! Don’t just scoop and eat. Fluff the rice with a fork before serving to release flavors and aroma. Fluffing also helps release any lingering water, for a fluffier less sticky texture.