Some people swear by sushi rice, while others prefer brown rice as it is healthier. In contrast to white rice, brown rice has its bran layer and germ intact resulting more nutrients.
Making brown rice isn’t complicated, but there are a few tips to keep in mind when cooking it.
Step 1: Measuring your Rice
First, how much rice should you make? If you’re just cooking for yourself or a small family for the night, then 4 cups (a rice cooker cup) of rice should be sufficient. To be clear, this is 4 cups of uncooked rice, which should result in 8 cups of cooked rice.
For larger families, or for enough rice for leftovers, you may want to go with 8-10 cups of rice.
Step 2: Rinse Your Rice
This is the one step that you should do, regardless what type of rice you’re cooking. Wash your rice over cold water, or ideally through a mesh strainer 3-4 times.
This should wash away the excess starch from the rice that’s responsible for producing clumpy and sticky rice. It also helps prevent the rice from bubbling up in the rice cooker pot as it is this excess starch that ends up expanding and generally causing a mess.
Step 3: Using the Correct Amount of Water
Another important thing to keep in mind when making brown rice is the moisture levels. Brown rice requires more moisture than does white rice since it is a tougher grain and doesn’t absorb water as quickly due to its additional bran layer.
Precise water levels may differ depending on your rice cooker, but generally speaking you want to increase the amount of water you typically use for cooking rice by 50%. So you should use a 2 cup to 1 cup ratio of water to rice, for example for most cookers.
Again, this is the cup that came with your rice cooker, NOT a standard US cup size, which is about 30% bigger.
Note: A rice cooker that has a “brown rice” setting, such as a Zojirushi or Aroma Cooker should make cooking brown rice even easier. Better yet, a rice cooker with logic that can automatically adjust the water levels to appropriately compensate for the type of grain being cooked is even better.
Step 4: Add salt
Bonus tip, adding a bit of salt or additional seasoning can give your rice a hint of flavor and additional taste. A ¼ teaspoon of salt for every 1 cup of brown rice should be enough.
Step 5: Cook
Work on other parts of your meal. Go for a walk, watch TV and let the rice cooker do its thing.
Step 6: Wait 15 minutes
Once done cooking, keep the lid on and let your rest site for about 15 minutes in order to fully absorb the moisture evenly throughout the pot
Step 7: Fluff your rice
Using the spatula that came with your rice cooker, fluff your rice in order to help separate the grains even more. A good rice cooker will probably have already done this, but it doesn’t hurt to manually stir your rice as well.
Step 8: Seasoning (Optional)
This step is optional as palettes and taste preferences differ. I like to add a bit of butter and/or a squeeze of lemon juice to spice things up a bit.
Step 9: Enjoy
You’re done. Scoop up the rice with your spatula and enjoy great tasting brown rice as a complement to your meal.
Best Japanese rice cookers for brown rice
Zojirushi NS-TSC Rice Cooker
The Zojirushi NS-TSC 10 5.5 (uncooked) Cup Rice Cooker has long been a fan favorite and Amazon’s choice because it has consistently been turning out great tasting rice of all grains for over a decade.
It has all the features one could ever need, from extended keep warm settings, delay timers, and most importantly, cooking logic to ensure that your food comes out perfectly each and every single time.
Tiger JBV-A10U-W 5.5-Cup Micom Rice Cooker
This is another excellent Japanese rice cooker with a one touch setting for cooking brown rice. Moreover, you can use the provided upper tray to steam vegetables and protein as well for a complete meal.
You can read more about this Tiger rice cooker here.
Aroma ARC-914SBD 8 Cup Digital Rice Cooker
A popular (10K+ reviews on Amazon) and economical choice is the Aroma ARC-914SBD Rice cooker.
Now, you really can’t beat this price and it does a good job of making most types of rice. That said, cooking brown rice isn’t easy and only the best rice cookers do a good job making restaurant quality brown rice so you may want to invest in a higher end model if you’re particular about brown rice.
You can read more about this Aroma Rice Cooker here.
Why is Brown Rice Special?
If you’re serious about getting healthy, you may have heard of the Big Shift to whole grains such as quinoa and brown rice.
While quinoa has yet to be accepted by the majority as a daily replacement for bread and other carbohydrate staples, brown rice has been around for decades and is actually a favorite choice both in homes and restaurants.
Brown rice is a step above white rice because it contains much higher amounts of vegetable protein, dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals.
In short, you’re not just getting carbohydrates for energy when you eat brown rice. You’re getting plenty of fiber for a healthier colon, trace elements for normal functioning of your organs and of course, protein for cutting fat and building lean muscle mass.
It’s no small wonder that fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders are opting for brown rice when they need to load carbohydrates for prolonged and intense workouts.
Brown rice offers plenty of energy for high intensity movements and a much higher level of essential nutrients for better physical performance.