How to cook the perfect brown rice?

This method of cooking brown rice removes most of the naturally occuring arsenic (which can be very toxic to health), while retaining most of the micronutrients. Sharing some tips and tricks which I have learned over the course of time, to cook brown rice in a way you wouldn’t only eat just because it’s healthy but also because it’s delicious.

Brown rice is a whole grain, which means it contains all part of the grain: bran, germ and endosperm. It goes through only one milling process to remove the inedible hull. When rice is processed further (to give white rice), the bran and germ layer are removed as well, and with it, most of the nutrition.

While most of us know that brown rice is a nutritionally healthier choice, many aren’t aware of the high levels of arsenic present in it. In a study published by the University of Sheffield, 28 out of 55 rice samples sold in the UK exceeded the levels of arsenic meant for the consumption for infants and young children as per the regulations set by European Commission (Source). Arsenic, which is classified as Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, is water-soluble so it accumulates in rice, which is grown in flooded fields. Long term exposure to even small amounts of arsenic may lead to skin lesions, cancers of the bladder and lungs and increased risk of heart diseases and Type 2 diabetes.

What I am introducing here is a two step process. First is to parboil the rice as proposed by the Institute for Sustainable Food , which removes most of the arsenic, while keeping most nutrients in the cooked rice (Source). Second step is to infuse it with some additional flavors, using either of the following two variations.

Variation 1: Adding ghee/oil, cumin seeds and salt.

Variation 2: Adding chicken/vegetable stock and salt.

You can choose either of the variations depending on whatever is easily available to you. In my experience variation 1 (with ghee and cumin) works well with curries, and variation 2 (with chicken stock) works best with lentils and soups.

What kind of brown rice to choose?

There are various kinds of brown rice available in market. The best choice will be organic brown basmati rice. If that isn’t available, your second choice would be any long grain organic brown rice. Short grain variations aren’t as aromatic as the long grain versions.

In Germany you can find brown rice by the name ‘Naturreis’ from DM, Alnatura, Edeka, Rewe or Rossmann. If you can find Basmati Naturreis, that would be the best.

Can I cook brown rice without a pressure cooker or instant pot?

Yes, you can cook brown rice in a normal pot with a lid. Just make sure the pot is big enough and the lid closes it properly.

You will also find instructions (see below) to cook brown rice in an instant pot or a pressure cooker.

Can I freeze brown rice?

Cooked brown rice could be frozen for up to 6 weeks. In fact, I would highly recommend you to cook in big batches and freeze in portions as it takes much longer to cook. If you already have cooked brown rice in the freezer, it will save you time and effort in the preparation of the meal. Defrost by transfering from the freezer into the fridge 24 hours before consumption or put to room temperature a few hours before. You could either microwave or reheat the rice in a pan adding a few splashes of water.

The Perfect Brown Rice

This method of cooking brown rice removes most of the naturally occuring arsenic (which can be very toxic to health), while retaining most of the micronutrients and adding extra flavor and aroma.
5 from 1 vote
Cook Time 40 mins
Soaking time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Servings 4 Persons

Ingredients
  

Variation 1

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup brown rice (Basmati or long grain)
  • cups water
  • 1 Tbsp ghee/oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp salt

Variation 2

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup brown rice (Basmati or long grain)
  • cups chicken/vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tsp salt (adjust depending on the saltiness of your stock)

Instructions
 

Instructions for pot/ saucepan:

  • Wash and drain water from rice at least 3 times or until the water comes out clear. Soak the rice for 30 minutes in room temperature water. Drain water after 30 minutes.
  • Bring 4 cups of water (for every 1 cup of rice) to boil.
  • Add the rice to boiling water and cook for 5 minutes.
  • After 5 minutes, drain all the water. Steps 1 to 4 remain same for both variations.

Variation 1:

  • Add ghee/oil, cumin seeds, salt along with 2½ cups of water to the rice. Cover and cook on low heat for 30 minutes. After cooking, rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Variation 2:

  • Add chicken/ vegetable stock and salt to rice. Cover and cook on low heat for 30 minutes. After cooking, rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Instructions for Instant pot/pressure cooker:

  • Wash and drain water from rice at least 3 times or until the water comes out clear. Soak the rice for 30 minutes in room temperature water. Drain water after 30 minutes.
  • Bring 4 cups of water to boil (with the saute option on instant pot).
  • Add the rice and boil for 5 minutes (keeping on saute:Instant pot). After 5 minutes drain the water.
  • Variation 1: Add 2 cups of water, 1 Tbsp ghee/oil, 1 tsp cumin seeds and 1 tsp salt. Put the lid on, seal and pressure cook (on high for instant pot) (on medium low heat for pressure cooker) for 15 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes then release the pressure.
  • Variation 2: Add 2 cups of chicken/vegetable stock and salt. Put the lid on, seal and (on high for instant pot) (on medium low heat for pressure cooker) for 15 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes then release the pressure.

Notes

1. You can increase the quantity of rice and water in the same ratio for the parboiling method. That means 4 cups of water for every 1 cup of rice.
2. For the second part, adjust the amount of liquid (for cooking in a pot) as following: 
  • 2 cups of rice = 3½ cups of water/stock
  • 3 cups of rice =5 cups of water/stock
3. Store your uncooked rice refrigerated if you are not using them within 3 months. Storing brown rice at room temperature for a longer period could lead them to turn rancid.
Keyword aromatic brown rice, basmati brown rice, Brown rice, perfect brown rice

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Faiza waqas says:

    5 stars
    This was really thorough and helpful! Thankyou for all the details which we usually tend to miss out on while making brown rice !

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