Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Perfectly Cooked Brown Rice: Parboiled

I have a personal rule when planning dinner, everything I serve has to be something I am comfortable with someone making an entire meal out of.  It sounds like such an unlikely thing, for someone to make a meal out of only one thing on the table.  However not when there are children are at the table.  My children have often made complete dinners out of one dish, or even one item in a dish.  One day they might eat only the beef and the next time it is served they might eat only the peas in Chinese Hamburger with Peas (although now I am happy to say that is a dinner everyone in the family eats and enjoys).

Children are randomly picky, suddenly refusing the dish they previously ate their weight in.  They also have a natural instinct for finding which food has zero or low nutritional value.  So because of this I decided everything I serve must not be a nutritional zero.  Thus began the switch from white to brown rice, and many nights spent cursing as I once again served rice that was chewy and hard, only edible when eaten completely smothered in another dish.  I tried longer cooking times, more liquid, soaking etc and still  served rice that was not Al Dente or to the tooth but rather was hard and incapable of soaking up the sauces around it.

 I could always  make Volcano Rice and Uncle Ben's Brown Rice without fail, but I really wanted to make a simple brown jasmine rice.  I knew the Uncle Ben's Rice was parboiled so when I stumbled across this "recipe" I decided to try parboiling it first.  The only problem was the "recipe" tells you how to parboil it, not how to prepare it once parboiled.  So I experimented until I had a recipe that worked every time.  The best part is it takes slightly less boiling time overall then when just cooking it without parboiling.  If you want you can also parboil it ahead of time and store it in the fridge for a few days until you want to cook it (next I plan on trying storing it in the freezer).

Don't forget to enter my Good Meat Cookbook Giveaway.  Entry period ends Sunday February 27th at 11:59 PM.

Parboiled Brown Rice

This recipe is tested using Lundberg Brown Jasmine Rice, I am sure it would work with other varieties of brown rice, you might just need to play a little with the amount of water added in the final cooking to get it just right for your taste.

1 cup Brown Jasmine Rice
salt to taste
1 tsp butter or Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Bring a large volume of water to a boil, not as much as you need to boil pasta but enough for the rice to roll around freely in it while boiling (I would guess I used at least 6 to 8 cups for 1 cup of rice).  Once the water is boiling add the rice and boil uncovered for 15 minutes.  Drain the rice and add back to the pot with 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cup water (the smaller volume of water will give you a slightly more firm finished rice), 1 tsp butter and salt to taste if you want more.  Sometimes I also add 1 Tbsp of say sauce.  Bring to the boil and turn down to the lowest possible simmer for 20 minutes.  (My stove does not do a great simmer so I just randomly turn the burner completely off for up to 5 minutes at a time during the 20 minutes of cooking time.  Most of the time I am in the kitchen cooking another part of dinner so it is only a matter of turning the flame on and off every once in a while).

The basic recipe to cooked the already parboiled rice is 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 parts water to 1 part of rice before parboiling plus 1 tsp fat.

1 comment:

  1. I moved to half-and-half a few years ago and have been happy with the results from my rice cooker. I use half white basmati and half brown basmati, 1.5 times the water, and let the rice cooker take over. Sometimes the brown is a tiny bit chewier than the white, so maybe I should add a bit more water, but overall it is fine. (I am still surprised that this works, because I had given up on cooking basmati in the rice cooker long ago. It was always mushy. But the combo is great.)