Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.
Today: How to make perfect brown rice, every time.
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Compared to its white counterpart, brown rice is a challenge to get right: Where white is stripped down, giving up flavor for ease of cooking, brown has more burliness to fight against, more factors to figure. But when you succeed, you are rewarded with a depth of flavor and texture that white rice will never live up to.
Here's what's tricky about cooking brown rice: You need to soften the outer bran layer, but if you try to force it into submission with too-long cooking times, you're left with gummy innards.
The best route to success, luckily, is a straightforward technique we picked up from our friends at Saveur: You treat the rice like pasta, boiling it in ample water, then strain it and let the rice steam in the pot's residual liquid, which makes things soft but never gummy.
Here's how to make perfect brown rice, every time:
First, put on 12 cups of water to boil in a large pot. Then rinse a cup of rice in a fine mesh strainer under cold water until the water runs clear -- this should take you about 30 seconds.
Once your water boils, add your rice and 2 teaspoons of salt; stir once, and then let it cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
Strain your rice (and discard the cooking liquid), then add it back to the pot, cover it, and let it steam in its own moisture for 10 more minutes -- this lets each grain's outer bran soften without overcooking the innards.
We end with the timeless rice refrain: Fluff with a fork! And you're done. Go ahead and serve it immediately, or save it for tomorrow's lunch or a week of cheap dinners.
Tell us: How do you like to cook brown rice?
Photos by James Ransom
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).