Let’s talk about brown rice. It gets a pretty bad rap. Some people suffer through it because it’s a health food, but most people dismiss it immediately and just stick with white rice or nothing. Rice has been available for human consumption for over 5,000 years. The average American eats about ten pounds of rice over the course of a year. In Asia, that number is closer to 100 pounds. Most of that rice is white.
But I have news: brown rice is actually delicious.
As someone who grew up in a Cuban household, white rice is the go-to starch–black beans and rice, arroz con pollo, albondigas y arroz--the list goes on. And the brown rice you find popping up at restaurants and in the Uncle Ben’s instant packages don’t make me want to ditch the white rice either.
And yet… I know the facts. Brown rice is a whole grain. Because only the hull is removed, brown rice is the healthiest rice product. As it turns out, if you take care of your brown rice and cook it properly, it can be just as tasty as its white bi-product.
Some notes for properly preparing whole grains:
- Because they still contain the protein-rich germ, whole grains smell slightly sweet or have no odor and need to be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer to keep fresh. If you’re going to use it soon after purchasing it, store it in a cool, dry place.
- Rinse whole grains in a strainer in a water-filled bowl before using. Change the water repeatedly until it is clear. While rinsing, sift through the grains with your fingers to make sure there are no small rocks in the mix.
- Toast your grains before cooking them in order to bring out the sweet nuttiness that gives whole grains their special flavor.
- When cooking whole grains for a salad, like wheat berries, cook in salted boiling water like pasta.
1 cup long grain brown rice
1 3/4 cups water
pinch of salt
Wash and drain rice (as explained above).
In a saucepan on medium heat, roast the rice until it is dry and slightly aromatic. Do not use any fat (butter, oil, etc.) and be careful not to let it burn. This should only take a couple of minutes.
Boil the water and add the boiling water and salt to the rice. Cover and return to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes without lifting the lid. Turn off the heat and let it steam for 15 more minutes without removing the lid.
Fluff with a fork and serve.
The internet is an amazing resource for just about any task you might want to accomplish. My little brother just informed me that he will be teaching himself how to build a desk just by watching YouTube videos. But since my interests (and The Nosher’s) are more food-focused, I’m probably more likely to Google how to make great pareve ice cream or how to keep herbs fresh. In the past week, some of my go-to kitchen experts have posted a slew of great kitchen tips that you can start using today! Here are a few:
Herbivoracious put up a great video guide on how to use steel to keep your knives safe and efficient in the kitchen.
Joy of Kosher digs into the nitty gritty details about different kinds of oils, what they are good for, and why we don’t have to run away from them. (Note: this article does not address the classic Ashkenazi fat-of-old: schmaltz.)
theKitchn tackles the challenge we all face at some time or another–what to do when you’re cooking for one.
Every Day Health partnered up with editors from the South Beach diet to come up with six tips for changing the way you cook.
What are some of your tricks of the trade?