Fluffy and not-too-sour, a blank canvas for your favorite seasonings and dishes, here's how to easily soak brown rice overnight for best nutrition… and cook it perfectly the next day!
Do you struggle to cook perfect brown rice?
I feel your pain! I also have the solution for you.
Actually, I have two solutions, because I’ve also struggled with how to cook brown rice on the stove.
You see, I grew up learning to cook on a gas stove. I cooked lots of rice over the years.
Even switching to soaked brown rice was not a problem! That is, until we moved into our current home several years ago.
It has an electric stove. I quickly learned to cook everything I normally cook on it with no problems.
But when it came to cooking rice on the stove (short grain, long grain… the variety didn't matter) it always ended up either burnt, mushy, or stuck to the bottom. I just could not get the burner setting right!
A friend of mine shared her technique for cooking rice with me and I’ve never had another problem.
Let’s look at some brown rice benefits and how to properly prepare it for optimum nutrition… then I'll share how to cook perfect brown rice every time!
Benefits Of Brown Rice In Recipes
Brown rice is a whole grain with the bran and germ layers, whereas white rice has been milled to remove those layers.
It has a lower glycemic index than white rice, which means it has a gentler impact on your blood sugar. That means brown rice is a better choice for diabetics, too.
Sprouted brown rice has been shown to enhance the mood of breastfeeding mothers and may help reduce stress (source).
Brown rice is a good source of dietary fiber which helps keep our digestive system running smoothly.
It’s also a natural source of melatonin, which helps us sleep better and also raises levels of the body’s master antioxidant, glutathione (source).
How To Soak Brown Rice For Recipes
The process of soaking rice helps make it easier for our body to utilize the nutrients it contains. That’s because all grains contain phytic acid, an anti-nutrient.
Neutralizing the phytic acid by soaking the brown rice in an acidic medium means the rice’s nutrients are better absorbed.
Most of the phytic acid is actually present in the bran of the rice, which means that it's important to soak brown rice in particular. For white rice, the bran (and the phytic acid) has been removed.
Let’s face it — brown rice takes a while to cook anyway. Why go to all that trouble and then not get the nutrients you need?
And, did you know that improperly prepared grains can wreck your HPA axis?
Soaking is very simple. Just combine rice and water with something acidic — raw apple cider vinegar, whey, yogurt, kefir, or lemon juice.
Use a non-reactive container, such as a Mason jar for small batches or a large glass bowl for bigger ones.
For every cup of brown rice you’re soaking, add 2 cups of warm water and 2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar or another acidic medium. Be sure to use filtered water, too.
Cover and leave on the counter for at least 8 hours. Starting this first thing in the morning or before you go to bed at night makes it easy to get your rice cooked on time.
Is Soaked Brown Rice Sour Tasting?
Yes, it can be. If you’re new to this traditional method of grain preparation it can sometimes be too sour.
Reduce this by rinsing and draining the rice well, after soaking yet before cooking.
However, you’ll need to replace the liquid you strain off in order to cook soaked brown rice on the stove so be sure to measure what you strain off!
Simply strain the soaked brown rice over a bowl then measure how much liquid is in the bowl. Note the amount then use the same amount of fresh water, or bone broth, for cooking.
As you continue exploring soured and fermented foods you’ll notice your tolerance for the sour flavor increasing. Don’t be afraid to try soaking and cooking in the same liquid from time to time to see if your tastes have changed.
How To Make Perfect Brown Rice… That's Also Soaked!
After soaking your brown rice, either add the rice and soaking liquid to a medium saucepan (or larger if needed), or strain and rinse. Remember to replace the same amount of water strained with fresh water or broth.
Next, bring the rice and cooking liquid to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat and cover, then simmer for 40 to 45 minutes or until all the cooking liquid is absorbed.
Turn the heat off and let it sit for 5 more minutes. Finally, fluff with a fork.
Now, I did mention a second method for cooking brown rice…
In fact, even though I’ve now figured out where to set the burner on my electric stove to prevent burning and sticking, I still prefer this method!
Are you ready? It's my favorite baked brown rice recipe!
Is It Possible To Cook Rice In The Oven?
This is the method I mentioned that my friend shared with me. It’s so easy!
Additionally, it frees up the burners on the stove for cooking other things.
Here’s how to cook brown rice in the oven:
- Soak as described above, and rinse if desired, making sure to replace soaking liquid.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add rice and cooking liquid to a saucepan with a tight-fitting, oven-proof lid.
- Bring to a boil on the stove top then cover with the lid.
- Put the pan into the oven and bake the rice for 25 minutes.
- After 25 minutes, turn off the oven and leave for 5 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and fluff with a fork.
Perfectly cooked rice every time! No sticking or burning, either!
Soaked Brown Rice Recipe
Fluffy and not-too-sour, a blank canvas for your favorite seasonings and dishes, here's how to easily soak brown rice overnight for best nutrition... and cook it perfectly the next day!
Combine rice, water, and raw apple cider vinegar in a non-reactive container such as a Mason jar or large glass bowl.
Cover and leave on the counter for at least 8 hours.
If desired, drain the rice through a fine mesh colander, being sure to catch and measure the soaking liquid.
Note the amount of soaking liquid.
Rinse the rice well.
Replace soaking liquid with the same amount of fresh water or broth.
Move rice and cooking liquid of choice (soaking water, fresh water, or broth) to a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid.
Bring the rice and water to a boil (uncovered), then reduce heat to a simmer (covered).
Cook for 40 to 45 minutes, or until all the cooking liquid has been absorbed.
Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
Fluff with a fork.
Serve and enjoy! Or allow to cool, and package for freezing.
To make baked rice in the oven...
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Follow the same procedure as for stove top cooking above, then after bringing to a boil, cover saucepan and put in the oven.
Bake for 25 minutes, then turn oven off and let set in the oven for 5 more minutes.
Fluff with a fork and serve, or allow to cool then package for freezing.
What are some good recipes for rice? Trim Healthy Mamas, we've got recipes for you, too!
Once you’ve properly soaked and cooked your rice, use it anywhere you’d use white rice. Here are a few ideas and recipes to try.
If the recipe is THM-friendly, it will be noted as such.
- Simple, Elegant Rice Pilaf — THM:E friendly if you reduce fat to 1 tablespoon and use bone broth with the fat skimmed off
- Smoked Salmon and Rice Salad
- Cold Brown Rice Salad with Garden Veggies — THM:E friendly
- Springtime Salmon, Peas, and Rice Salad
- Fasooli (White Beans and Rice) — THM:E friendly if you keep oil to 1 tablespoon
- Creamy Beef and Beans with Rice
- Cold Grain Salads
- Loubieh — Arabic Green Bean Stew
- Top with Homemade Kimchi — THM friendly, just be sure to include a lean protein
- Add grassfed butter and mineral salt for a simple side dish — THMs, keep the butter to 1 teaspoon or less per serving of rice
- Season with your favorite herbs and spices
- Include in any broth-based soup — THMs, use bone broth with the fat skimmed off
Trim Healthy Mama followers, always remember that soaked, cooked brown rice is an E fuel. Keep your added fat very low (5 grams or 1 teaspoon) and be sure to center your meal with extra lean protein such as baked chicken breast without the skin. Include lots of non-starchy veggies, too!
If you’re pregnant or nursing, feeding growing children or hard-working men without weight issues, Crossovers and S Helpers are fine. That’s where you have more added fat in your meal than allowed for a regular E meal.
How Easy Is That?
Now you see how easy it is to cook brown rice on the stove top (or make baked brown rice)!
Cooked brown rice freezes easily too. Put a cup of cooked rice in a freezer bag or container and pop in the freezer for later.
Batch cooking and freezing brown rice is a great way to always be prepared to throw together a healthy meal in a hurry.
Did you know soaking the rice could be so easy? Which brown rice recipe (stove-top or baked) will you try?
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