I am a firm believer that healthy foods don’t have to taste awful. That you shouldn’t have to suffer through eating something just because it’s “good for you.” Doing so causes two problems – first, it makes people more likely to avoid that food in the future, thus defeating the point, or it makes them feel like because they’ve “suffered” and eaten that healthy blah-tasting food, that they can now overindulge in junk foods because they’ve had their vitamins for the day. This has always been my experience trying to eat brown rice.
I really wanted to like brown rice. After all, it’s higher in fiber and nutrients, and is digested more slowly, thus leaving you feeling fuller, and more satisfied, longer. But most brown rice I’ve had, even in national restaurant chains like PF Changs, has tasted awful. It’s like eating cardboard. It’s chewy, hard, and tastes undercooked. I wanted so much to like it, but no matter how long I cooked it, I couldn’t do much better than simply choke it down.
I had nearly given up, until I came across this recipe on Pinterest from Saveur magazine. I added a few things to the cooking water (which I usually do with white rice as well, to give it a flavor boost) and it was AMAZING! No more hard bits, no mushy, overcooked glop, just perfectly cooked brown rice. I now use this method every time I make brown rice and it is always perfect. My kids eat it up with no complaints and my husband often doesn’t even realize it’s brown rice instead of white. I can still taste a subtle texture difference between the white and brown rice, but it’s a good difference, like the difference between stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth white bread (yuck!) and a heartier bread made with whole grains. This method does take a little longer than regular white rice, so keep that in mind as you plan, but it’s well worth it!
Begin by boiling 6-7 cups of water in a large stockpot (the original recipe calls for 12 cups of water, but I’ve found that only about half of that water is necessary for 1 cup of rice and still turns out perfectly cooked brown rice). While the water is boiling, put the rice in a colander and rinse under cold water for about 30 seconds.
Once the water comes to a boil, add your chicken bouillon, garlic and onion powder and stir until the bouillon is dissolved. Add the rice to the water, stirring only once, and boil, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
After the rice has boiled for 30 minutes, turn off the heat and pour the rice into a colander (if you use the same colander that you used to rinse the rice in the first step, be sure there are no uncooked pieces of rice still stuck in there – you don’t want to chomp down on one of those pieces, trust me!) and drain for about 10 seconds (don’t rinse). Return the rice to the pot and cover with a tight-fitting lid, and let the rice steam in the covered pot for 10 minutes. And that’s it! Fluff the rice with a fork, season with additional salt if you feel it needs it (I don’t usually), and enjoy your perfectly cooked brown rice!
Best Brown Rice
1 cup uncooked brown rice (any variety, I used long grain)
4 chicken bouillon cubes or 4 tsps chicken bouillon (alternatively, you could also substitute 4 cups of chicken broth/stock for 4 cups of water)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
Bring 6-7 cups of water to a boil in a large stockpot (make sure it has a tight-fitting lid). Add bouillon cubes, garlic powder, and onion powder and stir until bouillon is dissolved. Rinse rice in a colander under cold running water for 30 seconds and add to the pot. Stir once, then boil, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and drain rice in a colander for 10 seconds. Return to pot, cover with lid, and let sit for 10 minutes while the rice steams in its own heat. Remove the cover and fluff with a fork, seasoning with salt if desired.
Adapted from (Saveur magazine)