Not long ago, Katie (Thyme for Cooking) was extolling the virtues of brown rice. Alanna (Kitchen Parade) claims that her oven baked brown rice is so good she makes it every week. Kalyn (Kalyn’s Kitchen) uses brown rice all the time, saying she loves its “nutty flavor”. And recently, SAVEUR magazine devoted several pages to the wonders of brown rice.
In the 70s and early 80s, we ALWAYS ate brown rice because it was good for us. Secretly, I always felt like I was chewing on crushed cardboard. It didn’t taste quite as bad as cardboard, more like nothing at all, but the texture was definitely just that: crushed cardboard.
And then I met the wonderful man I married, who released me from my brown rice prison and decreed that we would always eat white rice – basmati or Thai or Arborio. Perfect rice every time. Delicious rice. No cardboard.
So…. Apparently, brown rice isn’t like cardboard anymore? Really? Clearly, we would have to try it again.
I broached the subject, saying that maybe it would be good. And T jumped on it. “Yes!! Let’s try it! I’m sure I can make it so we like it! Let me look at that SAVEUR article….”
(click on image to see larger view and more photos)
And so, we jumped on our bicycles and headed to the store to buy some long grain brown Jasmine rice. T made the rice, basically following his usual “perfect rice every time” method*, to go with grilled chicken and green beans.
The rice smelled fabulous. I really really really want to say that I loved it.
Not that it was bad. It was really not bad at all. In fact the texture was fabulous. But it was virtually tastefree. Just like tastefree crushed cardboard.
The rest of the dinner was stellar. We garnished the rice with a coriander sprig (from the garden!!) and served it with grilled chicken (Teriaki sauce) and steamed green beans drizzled with a little butter and chopped summer savoury. (Green beans with summer savoury are, to steal a line from “What’s Up Tiger Lily”, so good they’ll make you plotz.)
Convinced that brown rice couldn’t possibly be so dull, we tried it again another night. T made “Spanish rice” with the brown rice (sorry, no photos). And again: perfect texture but tastefree. Let me reiterate, it was not bad. The tomatoes, olives and ham helped a lot but, but, but… we just couldn’t believe that it could be so dull!
Maybe it was the kind of rice we got? Does it really make a difference if one pays designer prices for the rice? Maybe if we cooked the rice in chicken stock, the way that Katie does….
In the meantime, we’re going back to our favourites: Basmati and Jasmine. White rice is good for us too, isn’t it?
* T’s method for “perfect rice every time” is to gently rinse the rice in water, put it in a pot and fresh clean cold water with salt. He brings the rice and water to a boil then turns the heat OFF, covers the pot and leaves it to sit on a rack on the stove for 30 to 40 minutes. The water is absorbed by the rice. All it needs is a bit of fluffing up and it’s perfect!
1 part Thai (Jasmine) rice to 1½ parts water
1 part Basmati rice to 2 parts water
Cooking Brown Rice
T used a similar method to the above with the long grain brown Jasmine rice we bought. But he added 2 parts of water to the rice. Which didn’t absorb all the water after it sat for 40 minutes. He drained it. The rice was still quite firm – not mushy, by any means. Chewy, in fact. And, as mentioned earlier, tastefree.