The average American eats out four to five times a week. This can be unhealthy and expensive. Many do not cook at home because they view cooking as hard, intimidating, and daunting. However, with the right tools cooking can be made simply and healthy. A very easy base for meals are brown rice. In this article, SHI Executive Chef & author of Taste with Integrity blog, Susan Waxman, will teach you why you should eat brown rice, the best pot for cooking brown rice, how to cook brown rice, and several variations on brown rice recipes.
Brown Rice Versus White Rice
You should choose brown rice when cooking a healthy meal because it contains five times more fiber, two times more iron, and higher vitamins and minerals than white rice. We also prefer medium grain brown rice because medium grain brown rice will cook to be more moist and tender.
Cooking Brown Rice in a Japanese Donabe
Now that we have chosen our rice, we should discuss the best pot for cooking brown rice. We recommend cooking brown rice in a Japanese donabe. A donabe is a clay pot used for centuries in Japan. The difference with clay pots to metal pots are they are porous meaning it will take time to heat them up but will retain the heat once it warms up. When it warms up, it will distribute the heat evenly and gently. This means it is a great pot for beginner cooks because it is hard to burn or overcook the brown rice.
White rice, cracked grains and Grain vegetable stews such as Barley stew or Farro stews also turn out wonderful in a Donabe.
Other reasons to choose a donabe clay pot:
- Brown rice comes out fluffy and more flavorful compared to being cooked in a pressure cooker or boiled in a metal pot.
- Brown rice cooked in a donabe has an even and soft consistency. Brown Rice cooked in pressure cooker will have a chewy consistency and rice boiled in a metal pot is often mushy.
- It is relaxing to cook with Japanese donabe
- You can cook all ingredients in one pan. The donabe allows you to steam, braise, and stew.
- Only need to add a little oil to cook food in a donabe.
- Donabe retains nutrients and vitamins often lost in other cooking methods.
Brown Rice Recipe
Serving Size: 1 Cup
2 cup of brown rice (2:1 water to rice ratio)
4 cups of water
Sea Salt or seaweed
Add the 2 cups of brown rice and 4 cups of water to donabe and allow to soak. We recommend soaking brown rice for 21 hours in water before cooking to release nutrients. You should keep the water the rice soaked in for cooking.
- After it has been soaked, add sea salt or seaweed. If using sea salt we recommend the brand SiSalt and just a pinch. If using seaweed add a postage stamp size.
- Put the lid on the donabe clay pot and set on gas stove to medium heat. (Donabe pots need to be cooked on a gas stove or an open flame.) Also check the bottom of the donabe to make sure it is dry before heating it up. If it is wet it will crack when placed on a hot stove.
- Wait until brown rice comes to a boil. When it does you will see steam coming through the hole in the lid.
- After it comes to a boil, turn down the heat to low. Let the brown rice simmer for 40-45 minutes.
- Then you can put the brown rice in a bowl and it is ready to eat. (When cleaning up, make sure the donabe is completely cooled before washing.)
Variations: Adding Other Grains to Brown Rice
If you want to include other grains, add them before cooking the brown rice. Partially refined or cracked grains such as Pearled barley, farro, bulgar and quinoa do not need to be soaked, just add them to the soaked rice with additional water.
Whole grains and other grains such as Hato Mugi barley, sweet rice, and Rye can be soaked together with the brown rice. Dried chestnuts are delicious when cooked with rice and also are better when soaked. When soaking together, simply add ¼ cup of the other grain and then ½ cup of water to the soaked rice and then use the same cooking instructions.
The grains we most commonly enjoy with brown rice are rye, pearled barley, bulgur rice, quinoa, and farro.
At Strengthening and Health Institute, we enjoy teaching healthy cooking. Cooking at home allows you control over ingredients including the amount of butter, oil, and salt. If you have found this recipe helpful then you should also check out our offered program, Macro on the Go. It is an online course prepared with tips directly from Susan & Denny Waxman with five cooking classes, two menu planning sessions, and kitchen setup tips. This is a program that you can do at home to help start your journey to a healthier and happier life.