Cooking Brown Rice: Rule of Thumb Method


Years ago a friend showed me how to cook rice measuring the water using only her hand. Today, I use the same basic method but instead measure with my thumb or finger. I felt a little weird plopping my whole hand in the pot.

This actually works great. I love that I don’t have to get out a measuring cup. It scales it up or down. It’s very easy. I’ve thought about purchasing a rice cooker, but we’re short on space and this works with the multitasking pots we already have.

Brown Rice Method:

Put rice in a pot. The pot should be a good size for the amount of rice — use a larger pot for a lot of rice and a smaller pot for a little. The uncooked rice should have room to cook and expand, but be deep enough in the bottom so that it comes at least 1/3 of the way up the side of the pot.

Rinse the rice if you do that. I find that brown rice doesn’t need as much rinsing as white, but I know some people don’t even rinse white.

Keeping the tip of your thumb at the top of the rice, pour water into the pot so that the water comes up to the first knuckle on your thumb. On me, this is about 1 inch.

Bring water to a boil on medium heat. Then cover with a tightly fitting lid. Turn heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. DO NOT remove the lid. (Treat it like it will release a cloud of poisonous fumes if you do.) Clear glass lids can help resist the temptation to remove the lid and take a peek.

Turn off the heat and allow the pot to sit for 15-25 minutes. Leave that lid on the entire time! Once a minimum of 15 minutes is up, you can remove the lid and fluff with a spoon or fork before serving.

Cooking Brown Rice, A Recap:

1.) Put rice in a pot that has a tightly fitting lid. Use a big pot for a lot of rice, small pot for a little rice. Uncooked rice should come at least 1/3 up the side of the pot, but leave enough space at the top for rice to expand. Rinse rice if you do that.

2.) Fill pot of uncooked rice with water so that water line sits about 1 inch above the uncooked rice. On me, this is to the first knuckle on my thumb.

3.) Using medium heat, bring rice to a boil.

4.) Once it’s boiling, pop that tightly fitting lid on the pot and resist the urge to remove it while the rice cooks.

5.) Turn the heat down to low. And simmer for 30 minutes.

6.) Turn off the heat. LEAVE that LID ON! Let the pot sit for a full 15-25 minutes.

7.) Fluff with a spoon or fork and enjoy!

White Rice Variation:

Generally speaking, white rice doesn’t need as much water or to cook for as long as brown. I measure water for white rice to the first knuckle of my index finger. This is about 3/4 of an inch.

Bring to a boil, put the lid on, and simmer on low for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit for 15 minutes. Done and yum!

Note that this method is not for quick-cooking rice.

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