Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cooking Brown Rice

Brown rice just screams "healthy," doesn't it?  However, it has a lovely, nutty flavor and even a pleasantly nutty color to it.  I was making some for dinner tonight and decided to make a picture tutorial for making brown rice.

There are two important things to know about prepping and cooking rice: cleaning the rice and the water-to-rice ratio.  Cleaning the rice removes all of the extra starch and dirt--if you don't clean the rice you get CRUNCHY rice even after it's cooked.  Plus, there's all of that dirt that I just mentioned.  Yuck.

     My mother used to clean her rice using a tightly woven basket.  She would dump the rice in the basket and then just run water over it until the water came out clean on other side of the basket.  It was a mesmerizing process, watching the water coming out of basket turn from milky-cloudy to clear.  Now my mother and I both just use the metal container from the rice cooker to hold the rice.  Dump the rice in and fill the container with water and swirl; the water will turn cloudy.  You can even see the particulate matter floating in the water.  Eww.


     Repeat that a few times.  Maybe as much as five times.  You want the water to stay clear after you swirl it around.  It should look like this.  See how you can actually see the rice now? 

     Now to the second important concept of rice cooking:  the ratio of water-to-rice.  Since brown rice still has has the bran and germ still attached to it, it needs more water (and probably more time) to cook.  The proper ratio is 2 parts water to 1 part rice.  For example, to get you need two cups of water for each cup of UNcooked brown rice.  I'll be honest, I don't actually measure anything, except the depth of the water sitting on top of the rice.  This is the method my Mom taught me and I've adapted it for brown rice.  I add enough water so that the top of water comes to the first crease of my index finger.  It's about an inch.  Quick, easy, and I don't have to
wash a measuring cup after wards. 

     And last but not least, I pop the metal bowl into the rice cooker.  It's magic!  In goes raw, crunchy rice that's drowning in water and out comes beautiful, aromatic, yummy rice!   My mother gave me my rice cooker about eight years ago, when I moved out.  It's the best and I'm sure she got it from the local Asian market.  If you're ever in the market for a rice cooker, I highly recommend buying one from an Asian market.  It's very easy to use; as you can see it only has two functions, COOK and KEEP WARM.  A bell-like sound goes off when the rice is done cooking.  The metal bowl itself is non-stick and it has a lid so I can just use it to keep leftovers in the fridge.  Enjoy!

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