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Big Batch Brown Rice

Brown rice, once the darling carb of the health conscious, has been upstaged by spelt, quinoa, and farro -- ancient grains with intriguing textures and tastes that now hold pride of place on restaurant menus and supermarket shelves. By comparison, brown rice seems dutiful and a little dull. Although the end result is still less processed (thus more nutritious) than white rice, it's often overcooked and mushy ... and ripe for reinvention. When our food editors decided to ignore the cooking instructions found on most packages, they had a revelation, and you will, too. Using less water and cooking brown rice for less time yields deliciously fluffy, nutty-flavored grains that hold up well in the refrigerator or the freezer -- that is, if you have any left.

Master Recipe: Brown Rice

1. The Right Ratio

Trust us: Though it's printed on the package, the standard 2-to-1 ratio makes mushy rice. For long-grain brown rice, use 1 1/4 cups water to 1 cup rice. For short-grain, use 1 1/2 cups water.

2. Quick Cooking Time

Bring rice, water, and coarse salt (1/4 teaspoon per cup of rice) to a boil. Cover, and reduce to a slow, steady simmer. Many recipes call for 50 minutes, but we think 30 minutes is plenty. A wide, shallow pot with a tight-fitting lid ensures evenly cooked grains.

3. Steam and Fluff

Let the cooked rice sit for 10 minutes, covered, to absorb maximum moisture; then remove the lid, and fluff the grains with a fork. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

Recipes

Brown Rice with Tuna, Avocado, and Toasted Nori
Brown-Rice Cakes with Sauteed Fennel, Broccoli Rabe, and Ricotta
Stracciatella with Brown Rice

More Brown Rice Ideas

Rice with Greens and Eggs

Saute spinach, collards, kale, or any other hearty green in olive oil with sliced garlic, salt, and pepper. Serve over rice with a fried egg on top. Season with red-pepper flakes.

Fried Rice

Stir-fry chicken, tofu, or shrimp until cooked. Remove from the pan, and add sliced vegetables. Cook until crisp-tender, remove, and then add chopped ginger, scallion, and garlic to the pan. Cook, stirring, until fragrant. Add vegetables and protein back to the pan, along with some rice, and toss. Finish with soy sauce.

Hot Rice Cereal

Heat rice with milk and a pinch of salt in the microwave or on the stove top. Top with cinnamon, bananas, maple syrup, nuts, or seeds.

Store and Reheat
Refrigerate brown rice in an airtight container for up to five days. If you freeze it in an inch-thick layer in a large resealable plastic bag, you can easily break off individual portions as needed. Whether frozen or refrigerated, reheat rice in the microwave, covered, until steaming, one to three minutes.

Comments (2)

  • robinscorner 16 Sep, 2012

    The best method I've found for cooking brown rice is to cook it like pasta. Boil salted water. Add whatever amount of rice that will NOT absorb all of the water (just like pasta). Cook for 20 minutes on low boil, then do a quick drain. Cover the pan and set on a cool burner for 5-7 minutes. It comes out fluffy, not gummy. I usually just add a tablespoon of olive oil (depending upon how much rice), some red onion, a little basil, and whatevever veggies I want (or none). Good hot or cold.

  • tassieadams 9 Oct, 2014

    I just made this according to the directions given by robinscorner (in the comments). Really surprised to find out that this works! I needed mine to sit covered for 10-15 minutes instead of the 5-7. I seriously cannot believe it!