Brown Rice – Health, Polishing, and Cooking

Last Updated on October 27, 2020 by marvin v

Is this pink rice or brown rice? I thought it was brown. Although I’m not sure about the specific variety.

Search results show images of Madagascar Pink Rice, which are different from the rice I have. Madagascar, meaning, it also originates and is grown in the same country.

No need to delve deeper. I will forget about the pink rice for now and focus on the brown rice in hand.

How to Cook Rice, Brown Rice to Be Precise

Let’s get cooking.

1. The ratio of water to rice

The recommended ratio is 1 measure of rice to 1 measure of water. If you’re cooking 1 cup of rice, then add 1 cup of water.

The water to rice ratio is a bit tricky. Because you need to wash the rice first before cooking.  If you follow the 1:1 ratio by volume, then you’re adding more water than rice.

In addition, the 1:1 ratio is not true to all rice varieties. Some need more water and some need less. If you’re running a restaurant, you have to assess each variety thoroughly.

If you’re getting the job done, there’s no problem with you’re ratio. Adjust otherwise. Add more water if the cooked rice is watery, add less if too dry. 

However, measuring by cup is slow.  Our ancestors invented a faster method. After washing the rice, measure its height. Then double the height by adding water. 

Estimate the rice and water level by fingers. Who needs a trusty measuring instrument? Modern rice cookers have measurement markings as reference.

2. Washing the rice before cooking

Rinse the rice several times to:

  1. Remove dirt.
  2. Get rid of powdery particles that results in clumpy rice. Repeat several times until the water is clear.

Don’t wash if the rice is fortified with nutrients.

According to World Health Organization, WHO, rice is fortified by adding nutrient powders that adhere to rice grain. Or, by spraying a nutrient mix that forms a protective coating.

Washing fortified rice means throwing away the added nutrients.

3. Cooking over firewood

I like cooking rice over firewood. It’s a bit tricky to modulate but gives the best result. The wood seems to impart a nice flavor. 

However, firewood is now scarce, and so I need to resort to alternatives. The LPG and electric powered stove.

The wood flame is:

  1. Hard to control.
  2. You have to watch over it. 
  3. Strong flame for a vigorous boil.
  4. Then slowly lessen the strength to avoid burnt rice. 
  5. Lowering the flame too early results in watery rice.

4. Cooking over LPG

LPG makes cooking food a lot easier. No smoke to worry about. But, when I first transitioned from wood to LPG cooking, I felt a big difference. I felt the unpleasant taste of gas.

5. Cooking on electric stove and induction cooker

It’s the same as cooking with LPG. Yet, you have more control over the heat.

Cooking on an electric stove is more economical. You’re directly placing the cauldron over the heating coil. Direct heat, less waste of energy.

The induction cooker saves even more energy. It has no heating coil. Rather, it uses the cooking vessel as the heating element.

6. Cooking rice in an electric rice cooker

You know this already.

The electric rice cooker heats the pot and monitors the water loss. Then, the thermostat trips off the heat when the pot weight becomes stable.

Follow these steps to cook rice in an electric rice cooker:

  1. Wash the rice thoroughly
  2. Put inside the cooking pot
  3. Add water. More or less 1:1 rice to water ratio
  4. Plug the cord
  5. Push down the lever
  6. Go to the sofa to watch a movie

Upon cooking, the lever will automatically switch to keep warm position. No worries!

However, if you leave it for too long, you’ll end up with a tough and hard to eat rice.  The keep warm function is enough to drive away moisture, thus making the rice dry and tough.

Cooking The Brown Rice

1. I used the electric rice cooking for the brown rice

For the first cooking trial of brown rice, I used a 1:1 rice to water ratio. The result was too hard and dry.

No hard feelings. An err along the way is fine.

For the second trial. I changed the ratio to 3:4 rice to water. I got it! Not too wet and not too dry. The softness was just right. I used the ratio until the rice was gone for good.

2. The brown rice flavor

To tell you frankly. I perceived no special trait. It was ordinary.

The expected health benefits make all the brown rice command high price.

Why eat white rice instead of brown?

White rice is readily available. As for the brown rice. I have to scout for it every time. And, most of the time, brown is more expensive.

Why do Producers Polish Rice?

1. To make it last longer

White rice packed in porous sacks can withstand longer storage and long-haul transport.

Microbes and oxygen act on fats and proteins resulting in early spoilage. Therefore, cutting the shelf life short.

Polishing removes the fats and proteins, thus taking away the adversity.

2. Aesthetic

Milled rice is fine, but it’s dull and has impurities. On the other hand, polished rice looks clean and more enticing.

Maybe it’s the culture that’s driving us to instinctively crave for white rice. Our brains are conditioned to it.

Polishing for the sake(rice wine) and tapuy is on a different angle. According to mtcsake.com, the outer layer of rice grain contains fats and proteins, which interfere with sake production, so it has to undergo polishing.

The Healthier Brown Rice

With fats, proteins, and other nutrients intact, brown rice totally wins over.

Brown rice is healthier. Thus, I think you know what I mean. Everything that is backed by a health claim, whether anecdotal or scientific, gets much attention. Therefore, forces the consumer to pay a higher cost.

1. Vacuum packing extends brown rice shelf life

The vacuum takes away oxygen, preventing both rancidity and microbes growth. And so, prolongs shelf life.

Merchants, especially health stores, are selling vacuum-packed brown price. The costs of packing machines and thick PE bags are small prices to pay for the money they’re going to make.

2. Consider eating brown rice

Thanks to the sponsor of this brown rice! It made me rethink my rice buying routine. Though the cost is a bit intimidating, I should consider getting more of the healthier stuff.

3. Is brown rice really healthier?

All unpolished rice is healthy rice. The surface contains most of the nutrients which are removed during polishing.

4. Is brown rice organic?

Maybe. If the farmer grew it organically, then it’s organic. Not otherwise. Farmers can grow brown rice with application of commercial fertilizers and pesticides.

If the rice is certified organic, then it’s perhaps organic.

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