In another sign of ever-advancing age, I’ve made the switch from white rice to brown rice. Beautifully perfumed “extra special” quality Thai jasmine rice to plain ol’ brown rice. Comforting, childhood memories bowls of white rice to… brown rice. Bleh.
I had tried to make the switch about half a dozen times in the previous year or so. My first attempt really wasn’t much of one: I picked up a bag of brown rice and looked at the preparation instructions. Whoa. 50 minutes? And that was after it came to a boil? Who are they kidding? White rice took less than 30 minutes total in my rice cooker unattended. I didn’t look at another bag of brown rice for months.
After that first “attempt” I’m happy to report that approximately 1.4 years later I’ve made the switch. Better late than never, right? How I finally did it:
- Short-grain brown rice is the way to go. I initially thought that since I liked long-grain white rice that long-grain brown rice was the logical choice. I even tried brown jasmine rice, hoping that the only difference would be the color and I could fool myself if only I closed my eyes. Oh, how wrong I was. The texture, the taste, the aroma … all wrong. For me, the medium- and long- grain brown rice didn’t have quite the right texture, but the short-grain was a revelation. It was good in it’s own right.
- I can still use my rice cooker! Most bags of brown rice do provide preparation instructions using a rice cooker. However, I didn’t agree with them. The rice was too dry, and it reminded me of Uncle Ben’s (which I tried only once out of curiosity in college and had to spit out, it was so gross). Rather I:
- Use the “first knuckle” method of adding water: after you’ve added the rice and some water to the bowl, stick your index finger in the bowl until the tip just rests on the surface of the rice. Add enough water so that the water level comes up to the first knuckle of your finger. This has worked with my petite fingers as well as my husband’s not-so-petite ones. I know this might not sit well for folks who like to measure, and if it’s any consolation, I do measure the rice:water ratio for white rice. But take the leap and give it a try. You can have a baguette at the ready as a backup if you’re worried!
- After the rice has finished cooking, unplug the rice cooker and keep the lid closed for at least 10 minutes, although I shoot for 30 minutes.
Every now and then, I do get a craving for white rice and allow myself a bowl here or there courtesy of the bulk bin at the grocery store. And brown rice does take longer to cook (about 50 minutes), so that is an adjustment. But on the whole, I think I’m ok with the switch.