Apparently, I’m all about cold water cooking methods. First, it was pasta. Now, brown rice. What’s next? (wheels are turning)
So why a cold water brown rice method at all? What’s wrong with cooking rice in boiling water like a normal person, huh, Beth?
Well, first of all, thanks for agreeing that I’m not normal.
For something that seems so simple, brown rice is notoriously difficult to cook properly. And by properly I mean chewy, light, fluffy, and NOT MUSHY. Ugh, mushy rice. It is pretty fun to say the word mushy though, especially if you say it like Michael does. “MOO-SHEE.” It cracks me up every single time he does it.
Anyway, I was struggling to get brown rice right, and it was really bugging me. Even my fancy pants rice cooker wasn’t doing the job (yes, it could be operator error, but I don’t want to go there). Whenever I tried making brown rice, it took nearly an hour, and then I would open the lid to discover that the rice was gummy and overcooked. Cue sad face. Cue even sadder face to learn the rice cooker I have is discontinued. Hmmmm…might not be operator error after all (a girl can dream). Supposedly the Instant Pot can cook rice too, but I haven’t had great luck yet. More to come on that front. UPDATE: This TOTALLY works in the Instant Pot, just not using the Rice setting. Go figure. Here’s the tutorial!
I’m not alone in this struggle either. There are methods all over the internets for the perfect brown rice, including boiling it like pasta. And that got me thinking…if the cold water method worked for pasta, would it work for brown rice? Friends, I’m here to tell you that perfect brown rice can be yours in 35 minutes start to finish – just enough time to do all of your veggie chopping for a stir fry. Let’s get started!
Step 1. Measure your rice.
Step 2. Rinse your rice and add it to a medium to large pot.
Step 3. Cover the rice by two inches with cold water.
Step 4. Bring the rice and water to a boil (takes about 10 minutes), then reduce the heat to a low boil/medium simmer for 25 minutes, or until the rice is cooked to your liking. Drain the rice and rinse it under hot water in a fine-mesh strainer. Serve right away or store in the fridge or freezer for later use.
That’s it! There are a few things I really love about this method.
– The cooking time is reduced, because the rice starts to cook as the water comes to boil. Efficiency for the win!
– You can control the doneness of the rice by testing it as it cooks, until it’s perfect to you. Maybe you LIKE mushy overcooked rice, who am I to judge?
– The starchy factor that leads to gummy/mushy rice is eliminated, because you strain off the excess water and rinse the rice after cooking. Perfect, fluffy, chewy grains of brown rice = awesomeness.
– If you reserve the cooking liquid, you can use it to make this sauce. Look at you, all repurposing stuff.
– It’s easy to cook a whole bunch of rice and freeze it for later. Just rinse it with cool water after cooking, then it’s ready to be bagged up and frozen for instant rice anytime!
So what do you think? Will you give this method a try? I hope you do, and I hope you tell me about it. Leave a comment here or send me a shout-out on Instagram with hashtag #passtheplants – it seriously makes me want to jump up and down with happiness.
Cold Water Brown Rice Method
- 2 cups brown rice (rinsed and drained)
- Water to cover by two inches
- Place rice in a medium pan (at least 4 quarts), and cover with cold water by at least 2 inches.
- Bring the water and rice to a boil (takes about 10 minutes on a standard stovetop).
- Reduce the heat to a low boil/medium simmer and cook for 25 minutes, testing the rice at the 20 minute mark.
- If the rice is not cooked to your liking after 25 minutes, continue cooking and testing at 1-minute intervals until it is done.
- Drain the water using a fine-mesh strainer, and serve as desired.