If you read around enough on the internet you will find that there is heated debate over nearly every substance that human beings have ever eaten on a regular basis. There are, for example, those who believe white rice is practically poisonous, and that people should only eat brown rice. Then there are those who are concerned that high levels of phytic acid in brown rice prevent nutrient absorption, meaning that brown rice should only be consumed if it is soaked or sprouted to reduce the acid levels. And, of course, there are those who advocate giving up grains and forgoing rice altogether. I am not a food scientist (and am, in fact, rather suspicious of science-based eating plans) and I wouldn’t dream of telling anyone else what type of rice they should eat. If, however, you want to eat brown rice but find that it takes a long time or cooks unevenly (some parts mushy, some parts still crunchy), I will recommend the following method for reducing the cooking time by a few minutes and getting more consistent results.
1. Measure out the amount of rice you want to cook into a bowl or pot. Cover the rice with several inches of water. Set aside somewhere out of the way while you go about your day. It can sit there for all day or overnight (not more than 24 hours), but since this is just a method for improving cooking time, not a means of soaking or sprouting, I often start soaking it an hour or so before I am ready to make dinner. Even a half-hour soak seems to help a little.
2. When you are ready to cook the rice, pour off the water, then fill the pot or bowl again, swish the rice around in the water, and pour the water out. Repeat 2-3 times, until the water is fairly clear. (You could also do the rinsing at the beginning of step 1, before you soak the rice. I have cooked rice plenty of times without rinsing it at all. The worst that has happened is the rice isn’t as fluffy and there are a few stray hulls in it.)
3. Measure out the right amount of water for the rice you are cooking. Brown rice usually takes 2 cups of water for every cup of rice. With this method, however, you can use a little less – more like 1 3/4 cups water per cup of rice, or even 1 1/2 cups if the rice has been soaking a long time. Add salt, if desired.
4. Most instructions will tell you to bring the rice and water to a boil, then turn it down to a simmer and cover. I usually just cover it and set it on medium heat from the get go. It takes longer to come to a boil, and I don’t have to worry that I’ll forget to turn it down and end up with a mess on my stovetop and crunchy, burned rice. Cook until all of the water is absorbed. When there is no more water on the bottom of the pot (you can tell this by tilting the pot, or by sticking a spoon down to the bottom, just try not to disturb any more of the rice than you have to), remove from heat and let sit for about 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.