What is brown rice?
Brown rice is the whole grain of rice with only the outermost layer (hull) removed. This leaves each grain with a coating of bran, which gives the rice its brown color and makes it more chewy. It also adds a slightly nutty flavor. The bran has the health benefit of providing fiber, which aids in the digestive process. Brown rice takes longer to cook, mostly because the bran forms a protective coating that slows the rate of liquid absorption.
Brown rice is better for you than white because the complete milling and polishing process that converts brown rice to white destroys most of the nutritional content, including all the dietary fiber and essential fatty acids.
You can get long grain or short grain brown rice (short grain is stickier when cooked). And you can also get basmati and jasmine varieties. White basmati and jasmine rices have subtle flavor differences which are somewhat obscured in the brown rice versions. But they’re still good, and better for you.
How to cook brown rice
Brown rice is just as easy to cook as its white counterpart – it just takes longer.
- Bring 1 cup brown rice to boil in 2 cups of water or broth.
- Turn heat to lowest setting, cover tightly and cook for 50 minutes.
- Let stand in the pot for about 5 minutes.
If you use an automatic rice cooker, follow the instructions for your appliance.
How to use brown rice in recipes that call for white rice
Use cooked brown rice in place of uncooked white rice. If the white rice recipe calls for liquid, reduce it by half – the brown rice will still hold up well.
How to make it even easier
Cook 2 or 3 times the amount you need and freeze the rest. It freezes well and is easy to defrost in the microwave in a couple of minutes.
Buy brown rice already cooked and frozen – it’s available in many supermarkets now, so you can skip the cooking process altogether!
If you’re interested in the history of brown rice, visit ricepedia.org.
Links to a few brown rice recipes