Confession time: brown rice and I have never quite had what you'd call an amicable relationship. That's not to say that I don't like brown rice--I do. I like that it's nutty and slightly chewy. I like that it's more nutritious than its refined counterpart. But until recently, I couldn't for the life of me cook it properly.
Inevitably it came out not just a disappointment, but shamefully bad: it was either burned on the bottom or a soupy mess, no matter how much I fiddled with the cooking time or the amount of water. I can make a gorgeous pot of white rice (the fluffy kind, not the sticky kind), but a good pot of brown rice--even an acceptable pot--has eluded me.
And no, an electric rice cooker is not the answer, at least not for me. For one thing, I simply don't have the space, and when I get/find the space, the first thing that's going in it is one of these. Even in a kitchen twice the size of the one I have now, I don't know if I could dedicate that much space to something that has only one use.
More than that, though, it's a point of pride: I don't like to fail in the kitchen. I don't like to fail, period, but I fancy myself a fairly capable cook, and any evidence to the contrary tends to rile me into an attitude of "I WILL conquer this!" I wouldn't be satisfied resorting to a gadget to address my inadequacy. So, I've been stuck, and it's been bothering me: what kind of a cook can't make a simple pot of brown rice?
Growing desperate, I swallowed my pride and googled "brown rice recipe." The feeling of shame was acute--I felt like I had just asked someone how to boil water. But the interwebs were pleased with my (grudging) humility, and revealed this recipe from Saveur. As far as I'm concerned, they should add another "u" to their name, because Saveur is my sauveur when it comes to brown rice.
This recipe works. I've made it a few times now, and it hasn't failed me yet. "A few" might not sound like proven reliability, but that's more successes than I can count in a dozen or more previous attempts at brown rice. The secret is below the fold, and if you've struggled with brown rice, I encourage you to try it.
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Saturday, July 25, 2009