Brown rice is a delicious and healthy alternative to white rice, which is why more and more people are reaching for it when making a meal. The problem with brown rice is that it doesn’t cook the same as white rice does, leaving many people scratching their heads or eating late because they underestimated the amount of time that they needed to prepare this food. These easy ways to cook brown rice using a rice cooker will ensure not only that the brown rice is perfectly prepared, but is delicious, which will make everyone in your family happy at mealtime.
1. Choose Great Rice
One of the most important parts of cooking delicious brown rice is to choose high-quality rice. There are a lot of different brands of rice available on the market, but not all of them are going to taste great, cook evenly, or separate into individual grains of rice. By choosing high-quality rice, you can easily ensure that your final product will be better than if you choose lower-quality options.
2. Measure What You Need
Even if you only need a small amount of cooked rice, you have to make sure that you have enough in the rice cooker for it to work properly. Generally speaking, any amount of rice smaller than one cup won’t cook evenly in the cooker, resulting in disappointing rice that is gummy or hard. It’s a good idea to start with two cups of rice, as this will produce enough that you have leftovers.
3. Rinse Your Rice
Some people think that this is an outdated step, but rinsing your rice, especially brown rice, is an important part of getting great rice. By rinsing the rice, you will remove any excess starch from the grains and ensure that the grains can fully expand. The end result is fluffy rice with fully separated grains. You can rinse the rice under cool water in a colander or cover it with a few inches of fresh water, swirl the rice, and dump it. Make sure to rinse the rice until the water runs clear for the best results.
4. Remember the Ratio
Getting the ratio of rice to water correct is important if you want your brown rice to turn out delicious. The golden ratio for brown rice is one cup of rice to two cups of water. This is easy for most people to remember, and if you opt for two cups of rice, then you can easily double that to add four cups of water when cooking.
5. Consider Your Cooking Liquid
Water is the most common cooking liquid used when making brown rice, but you don’t have to be limited to only using this liquid. In fact, some people prefer to use chicken broth as all or part of the liquid when making brown rice in a rice cooker. This is a great way to add a lot of flavor to the rice without having to worry about using seasonings.
6. Add the Secret Ingredients
At this point you can add your rice and your water to your rice cooker. If you used any chicken broth as your cooking liquid, then you probably won’t need to add salt at this point, but if you only used water, then you will want to add a healthy pinch of salt to improve the taste of the rice. Additionally, add one teaspoon of vinegar to the rice and water and stir it in. This doesn’t in any way affect the taste of the finished rice, but does help to prevent the grains from sticking together. Apple cider or white vinegar will both result in fluffy rice that looks and tastes great.
7. Set the Cooker
A lot of people have rice cookers that have a “brown rice” setting, which makes cooking brown rice faster and easier than ever. If you have this setting on your rice cooker, then you can simply use that and enjoy perfect results. However, if you don’t have this setting, then you will want to use the timer on the cooker. By setting the timer to 30 minutes you can easily enjoy great brown rice. However, some models vary, and if the rice is still uncooked and there is a lot of water in the cooker, then you will want to recover the rice and set the machine for an additional 10 minutes.
8. Keep the Lid Closed
Never open up the rice cooker when it is working or you will risk ruining your rice. Keeping the cooker closed ensures that the rice cooks correctly and will be fluffy when it is finished.
9. Fluff Carefully with a Fork
Brown rice grains aren’t as tender as white rice, which means that you are less likely to damage these grains fluffing them with a fork, but you still must be careful. Rather than using a spoon, which will mash grains together, use a fork to gently stir and lift the rice, separating the grains and making sure that it looks tender and fluffy.
10. Kick up the Flavor
Brown rice can taste a bit bland on its own, but it does a great job accepting the flavors from seasonings. You can allow the nutty flavor of the rice to shine through by using a bit of butter and some fresh lemon juice on the rice, or you can use earthier and more intense spices, if desired.
11. Know How to Store and Reheat it
It’s easy to make too much brown rice and want to store it for another meal, but too often rice turns hard and unpleasant. It’s important to allow the rice to cool completely before storing it in the refrigerator and then to carefully reheat it for best results. One way to reheat brown rice is in the microwave. Break the rice apart on a plate and then cover it with a damp paper towel before heating. A great way to heat up larger quantities of rice is by placing the rice with some water in a baking dish, sealing it tight, and then baking at 300°F for 20 to 25 minutes, or until heated through and soft.