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Cooking Brown Basmati Rice

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
The white version is easy, simmer gently for 20 minutes covered, turn heat off and allow to stand for 10 minutes.
I know brown rice takes longer. So how do I cook the brown basmati?

Thanks in advance!
food, travel, pysanky, pups......what a life!
food, travel, pysanky, pups......what a life!

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post #2 of 21
Doesn't it give you a clue on the package? I get my brown rice in bulk from Wholefoods or the health food store. It has basic cooking instructions on the bin lid. Can't remember what it says about Basmati though. Sorry.

post #3 of 21
First saute in a very little amount of oil, stirring until the rice turns fragrant (I actually let it pop a bit). For each cup of rice add 1 1/2 cups water. Cover. Bring to boil. Turn off heat. Let sit 5 minutes. Return to boil. Lower heat. Simmer, covered, 25 minutes. Do not lift the lid to peek!!!
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #4 of 21

Brown Rice

I've been playing around with brown rice, recently, ever since I read that soaking materially shortened the cooking time. I was curious to see if the soaking reduced cooking time 1 to 1 or better. (So far it hasn't.)

To start with, I found that basic brown rice in a pot - or more recently my rice cooker, which has convinced me never to go back to a pot - takes (a) more water and (b) significantly more time than white rice. The instructions I follow for cooking rice say to put cold water over the rice, cover the pot, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and let it cook without opening the cover until done. (Or put in rice cooker and turn it on.) All the water is supposed to be absorbed when the rice is done.

For brown rice, 2 cups of water per cup of rice, or a little more, works using this method. In terms of cooking time, 50-60 minutes. You can't completely follow the "no peeking" instruction with that long cooking time, since you need to check to see if more water is needed.

For the soaking experiments, I've been covering the rice and letting it soak, then draining and adding the measured amount of water, then cooking as indicated above. Soaking in warm water does better than soaking in cold water.

In my first experiment at soaking times, I was going to let the rice soak for an hour, but got onto something else, forgot the rice, and left it all afternoon - say 4 hours. It cooked in about 20 minutes, which is not much different from white rice.

So far, I've found that 30 minutes of soaking in cold water didn't do much to shorten the cooking time. The same amount of soaking in warm water normally knocks about 10 minutes off the 50 to 60 that unsoaked rice took. Sometimes it does a little better.

40 minutes of warm-water soaking knocks 15 minutes, maybe 20 on a good day off the 50-60. I haven't yet gotten up to an hour, but that was what I was going to try next.

My conclusion so far is that as an overall time-saver, soaking isn't living up to its advertising. However, in terms of shortening the cooking time and making it more predictable, like if you wanted to do brown rice, white rice, and wild rice in the same pot, it does help.
post #5 of 21
Brown rice is brown because it still has the hull on it. That hull requires longer cooking to become soft. Soaking won't help -- this is not the same as a dried bean with a permeable outer layer -- because the hull prevents any moisture from getting into the kernel.

The brown basmati I currently have (from Costco) says to rinse first to remove any surface starch, then put into a pot with water (2 1/2 cups water to 1 cup rice) and some oil, let it sit for 15 minutes, then bring to a boil covered, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 35 minutes.

I rinse, but not to remove starch (there won't be any), just to remove any possible surface dirt. I skip the 15-minute soak (for the reason above) and simmer the rice for 45 minutes. Works just fine. In fact, a little less water works okay, too.

And if I may put in another plug: see Lorna Sass's Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way for a good discussion of brown rices in all their glory. :D
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
post #6 of 21
Like some of the guest in the room I saute my rice in a tbl.of unsalted butter not oil.I put enough water in the pot to the depth of the first knuckle on my finger touching the top of the rice.follow cookiing time on the package.I also like to put sauted onion to the rice.Several brown rices have different cooking times usually 40 to 60 min. Good Luck...cookie
post #7 of 21
My Zojirushi Neuro-Fuzzy 10-cup rice cooker cooks every type of rice I've put into it perfectly, from white to white basmati to brown to brown basmati.

In fact, I can even chop veggies (carrots, leeks, scallions, red onion, celery, etc.) and put that in with the rice and it all comes out perfect.

post #8 of 21
I've always wondered how rice cookers can do that. Are you able to shed some light on that, Doc?

Do you get 10 cups of finished rice from the cooker?

Shel - who loves brown rice
post #9 of 21
Cookie Jim, I had learned that up-to-the-knuckle trick from one of the Moosewood books, years ago. But consider: How much water that takes will depend on the size of the pot.

Realizing that, I made it that way, then measured the water. It worked out at 1 1/2 cups per cup of rice, and that's how I've done it ever since.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #10 of 21
well, the rice cooker insert has permanent markings on it based on water levels. Each scale is designated (white, brown, mixed, etc.) and has markings on how much water to add to, depending on how may cups of rice you put in.

It will cook as little as 1 cup of rice, and will make up to 10 cups of rice. THe menu selector also has several selections available. For white rice, for instance, you can select firmer or softer for the end product after cooking.

What little I know about "fuzzy logic", it is built into many things from rice cookers to washing machines to driers now. I think it means it has sensors to sort make sure you get what you selected regardless of other factors.

All I know is, that we are really glad we bought it, and it is a joy to use and to eat the end product that it cooks for us.

post #11 of 21

From The We've Come A Long Way Baby Department:

Back in the mid-1960s I was living in Boston. On the local public television station there was this flowsy housewife type teaching us all about French cooking.

Later, Julia Child became a big star. But back then she was fun.

At any rate, on one episode she taught us the correct way to make rice. You start with a stock pot full of water. Bring it to a full boil. Then gently rain the rice down into the water, a small handful at a time, never letting it stop rolling. Once all the rice is mixed in, let it boil for, as I recall, an additional ten minutes.

And yeah, that was just as fussy, and took even longer, then it sounds.

And now we have rice machines where we fill to the marked line, toss in the rice, and push a button.

Ahhh, progress. :)
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #12 of 21
LOL: This is the same Julia Child that almost flunked out of Le Cordon Bleu in Paris?

post #13 of 21

I like the double boiler method ... impossible to burn the rice.


So: for non-basmati brown rice ...

soak in the appropriate amount of water:

short grain rice 1:1.1

med grain 1:1.5 (?)

long grain 1:2.25

for what ever amount of time you have  < 3 hr.


When water is boiling turn down to low flame and cook for 50 min.  It can't burn, etc. so timing is not critical.

Remove, let settle 5-10 min and enjoy.


For basmati I use the direction in my Asian Cookbook. ....

For one cup rice:  put rice in heavy pot with 1 T butter or ghee.

Heat on low while stirring occasionally to coat rice ... mean while back at the ranch .... heat 500 mL of water in the microwave or whatever to almost  boiling.

Pour over rice, cover, turn rice to low flame (as low as you can get it). At 40 min or so remove from burner, let settle... fluff and serve.

Polished rice cooks in 20 min or so but the brown rice really needs the extra time.

BTW  - I use salted butter .... As I understand it in Indian cooking it is a faux pas to omit salt.





post #14 of 21

I cook brown basmati rice a lot. I soak it for 30 mins and then rinse it and rinse it. Over and over,till the water runs clear.Then i bring it to the boil in lots of cold, salted water.


Cook till almost done. Then pour into a collander,  Immediatly stand the collander back into the pan and quickly cover with a lid small enough to touch the rice.


That's it.Let it sit for 10mins and it's ready to serve

"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
post #15 of 21

The whole thing with rice is that it doesn't need to cook for very long, but it takes a long time to take up water.

Basically, you only have to cook white rice for about 10 minutes, brown for about 15-20 minutes.

After that, you need to keep it warm so it can absorb the water.

This can be done on a very low flame or in a sleeping bag (which we used to do in our camping days in the past, rice stays hot for hours) or tea cozy or by covering the pot with some towels or whatever.

With this way of cooking you have to use the right amount of water.


I bring the rice to a boil (uncovered), then stir once, close the lid and turn the fire way low and continue as above (with the short cooking time). Then I let is stand for 15 minutes or so before opening the pot and fluffing the rice with a fork.


An alternative is to cook rice in a lot of water till it is soft, then throw in a colander or steamer or so and steam for some minutes.

I find this a more fool proof method, but still prefer the first one.

I use about 1.5 cup of water for 1 cup of rice for white long grain rice and a bit more for brown. I never use salt in my rice.  

Life is too short to drink bad wine


Life is too short to drink bad wine

post #16 of 21

Well, just to muddy the water a bit-----

Some years ago - maybe 40 or so--- got the following method of cooking white rice from a Chinese cookbook:

Rinse rice well. Amount doesn't matter, but you'll get about 3:1 cooked vs raw rice.

Put enough water in the pot to cover the rice about 1" deep (the 1st knuckle is basically the same measurement.)

Put the pot on to boil over high heat, keeping an eye on it.

When the water level boils down to the level of the rice, turn the heat down as low as possible, put a cover on it and don't peek! Approximately 20 minutes later, remove the lid and fluff with a fork or chop sticks.

My wife and I actually cook rice on the stove, rather than in the rice cooker - doesn't make enough for our family.

Brown rice is a new experience for me.



post #17 of 21

My brown basmati turned out pretty delicious by following your directions exactly. However, I did brown the bottom of the pan a little and as a result, just a small amount of rice was a little charred. Perhaps my simmer heat was a little too high? I'm impressed by how this cuts down the cooking time, still. Do you have tricks for white rice and sushi rice as well? I'd like to quit using my rice cooker. 

post #18 of 21

Well, when we turn the heat down, it's ALL the way down - anymore and it goes out. So I'd guess if you turned it down to "simmer," it was probably too high, which might explain the overcooked rice on the bottom of the pot. Around WWII, the Chinese used to do that deliberately, then peel the crispy rice out of the bottom of the pot and serve it in soup. This was among the Nationalists, which might explain why they called the resulting dish "Bombing Moscow."

post #19 of 21

Hi, I'm an at home cook and would like to share my method for cooking basmati rice, white or brown that works perfectly every time.  I cook it like pasta.  I put about 4 times as much water as rice, just let it boil uncovered on the stove, usually about 10 minutes of boiling for white rice, and maybe 15-20 minutes for brown rice.  When the grains look big and fluffy and are moving slowly I taste it to see if it's done.  It should be slightly al dente.  Then drain out the water in a strainer/colander, put it back in the pot and cover it.  This will allow it to soak in any remaining water and keep it warm at the same time.


post #20 of 21

You added "some oil" to lower the surface tension of the boiling liquid which would otherwise effervesce and spill out and make a mess.  I suggest you experiment with 1 cup brown basmati rice and 1 cup cowpea or black eye beans - starting with 3 - 4 cups of water - see how many cups of water will cook the combination.  You can tell I have not tried it.  Why am I asking you to?  I think you'll love the combination.  Africans and Caribbeans love the combination.  Please let me know.  Thanks.

post #21 of 21

I'd like to post yet one more method, which I've recently discovered and really like:


Use a pressure cooker. The advantages are:


1. It cooks very fast (10-12 minutes actual cooking time, then about 10 minutes to cool off while the pressure decreases). Less cooking time means less energy wasted.

2. No problem with burning or sticking.


The method is simple. My Presto cooker comes with a metal rack to keep the cooking bowl from touching the bottom of the pot. You put that rack in, put 2 cups of water into the cooker.


Then put the Rice with 1 1/2 cups Water (per cup of rice) into a bowl (ovenproof glass or stainless steel). Cover it with a heat-proof lid or Foil and place into the Pressure Cooker.


Put the lid on the Pressure Cooker, and bring the heat up until the regulator starts rocking (it makes a hissing sound as a bit of steam escapes).


From that point, time for 10-12 minutes. When the time is done, take the whole pot off the heat and let it cool until the pressure release valve drops (takes about 10 minutes).


Take off the lid, remove the bowl and fluff the rice.


I'm also finding this cooker to be extremely useful, fast, and foolproof for cooking beans, and also vegetables like squash, potatoes, and corn on the cob.

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