Did you know that there are over 40,000 types of rice? (Google told me that). I can’t even imagine trying to uncover the differences between all of those. Instead, today we are focusing on two of the most common: white rice and brown rice. When you’re just learning basic cooking skills, these are the main players.
The basic difference between these two is that the brown rice has the whole grain, whereas the white rice has had the bran and the germ taken out for a lighter, fluffier version. (If you’re interested in more about rice, check out this Guide to Rice or The 13 Types of Rice You Should Know. Because who doesn’t like a little light reading about rice?)
Rice is a great base for a ton of flavors, and it’s super cheap. But how do you cook it?
Brown rice is simple to cook on the stove top. Measure your rice into a large pot – brown rice will about triple in size by the time you’re done, so 1 cup of dry rice will give you about 3 cups of cooked rice. Fill the pot with water, until it is at least 2-3 inches above the rice. You’ll want plenty of liquid for the rice to absorb. You can also use broth for a richer taste.
Heat to boiling, then lower to medium heat and simmer for about 35 minutes, until the rice is soft. Drain off any excess water. While you’re cooking, if you see a layer of foam rise to the top, go ahead and skim that off with a wooden spoon. That foam is just impurities (aka dirt and junk) that is cooking out of your rice.
White rice is cooked similarly, except that there are usually directions about how much water to use per cup. Where the brown rice is a little sturdier because it is the whole grain, the white rice is lighter, and extra water ends up making a mushy, soggy mess instead of a light and fluffy dish. Follow the directions on this one. At our house, we mostly eat brown rice to get the nutrients from eating the full grain.
I always cook my rice on the stove top. But if you have an instant pot, you can cook your rice in half the time in there. Or if you’re old school like me and only have a crockpot, you can still make your rice hands off in just a few hours. Or you could always just grab one of these if you eat rice fairly often.
Now that you know how to cook up a bunch of rice, what are you going to eat with it? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Garlic Butter Rice
- Chicken Fried Rice or Broccoli Fried Rice
- 7 Layer Casserole
- Served with this Crockpot Beef & Broccoli from Table for Two
- Tomato and Red Pepper Mexi Rice from A Bountiful Kitchen
- Autumn Rice Pilaf from Don’t Waste the Crumbs
- Cheesy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole from Picky Palate (you can use all brown rice for this recipe and it still turns out great)
- Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake from Tasty Kitchen
- Black Bean Fajita Casserole from Urban Chicken Lady
- Steak Fajita Soup from Kitchen Stewardship
- Stuffed Pepper Soup from Cooking Classy
Stay tuned for Thursday, when we talk about rice’s favorite frugal counterpart: beans!
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