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Apparently the ratio of water to rice for brown rice is 1.5:1. I simmered my rice for about half an hour with the lid on the pan and the rice was still hard and the water nearly all gone. What am I doing wrong?

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7 Answers 7

up vote 9 down vote accepted

I usually pop my rice into a pan, shake the pan to even the rice out across the bottom of the pan.

I then add cold water to cover roughly half way up my thumb where my thumb is touching the surface of the rice.

Place onto the hob and quickly bring to the boil and then immediately turn down to the lowest setting on the smallest ring and cover with a lid.

Leave the rice to cook for around 30-35 minutes. Don't be worried if it looks like it's going to dry out, the steam in the pan under the lid will keep things moist. Don't be tempted to remove the lid to check on things, you'll lose all the moisture/steam and it'll dry out/stick.

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+1 agree about not removing the lid to check –  Kiesa Jul 12 '10 at 20:16
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The recipe on my bag of brown rice says:

  • 1:2 ratio of rice and water
  • No salt in the water
  • Cook for 35 minutes
  • Rest for 5 minutes
  • Remove any surplus water

They always come out good and soft :-)

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+1 on the 1:2 ratio. I add the rice after the water is already boiling and then turn it down to simmer. Also, I'm at around 5,000 ft so my brown rice takes a good 45 min. –  Kiesa Jul 12 '10 at 20:14
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I don't worry about the ratio at all when I cook brown rice. I find the following pretty bullet proof:

  • Fill with enough water that it won't all evaporate / absorb and bring to a boil.
  • Add brown rice and simmer 30 minutes.
  • Drain the rice and
  • Put it back on in a steamer basket to steam for 10 minutes.

Great quality and a very consistent result.

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Before I got my fuzzy-logic rice cooker, I would use 2.5 cups water per cup of long grain brown rice. Take it to boiling, and then 45 min. covered, with the heat about as low as it'll go on a gas stove. If you see much boiling, you've got the heat too high. After 45 min., turn off the heat, fluff, and let it sit 15 minutes before serving.

If the water is evaporating on you, you have the heat up too high, or a poorly fitting lid.

Rice cooker does the job perfectly, every time.

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+1 for rice cooker. –  Rebekah May 6 '11 at 15:15
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You're not doing anything wrong. Brown Rice can be weird like that. Just pop some more water in, and keep cooking it.

  • If there is no water - add some more water.
  • If the rice still tastes undercooked, cook it some more.

Brown rice can be a bit chewier than white rice, so it may be worth finding someone who cooks with brown rice to tell you when it's done.

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My grandmother always let her rice sit in water a couple of hours before she even cooks it. Since it is already measured out all she has to do is turn it on. We usually used the electric cooker for convenience but the stove works just the same. Most Koreans and Japanese let their rice soak in water even overnight. The rice comes out perfect, not soft not hard just the right amount of bite.

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A new article from America's Test Kitchen suggests that the best way to cook brown rice is by the immersion (or pasta) method, cooking the rice in rapidly boiling water.

They suggest the advantages are:

  • The hotter water cooks the rice faster, reducing cooking time to approximately 25 minutes (not counting the time to bring the pot of water to a boil)
  • The rice is all immersed, and so evenly absorbs water, preventing hard or under hydrated patches
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