Published January 1, 1994.
It takes a rice steamer, or a combination of boiling and steaming, to make brown rice with the best flavor and texture.
Brown rice is valued for its nutrients as well as for its satisfying texture and nutty flavor. But the traditional cooking method--in a covered pot on the stove--is unreliable and frequently results in gummy rice and burnt pots.
Many cooks avoid brown rice because it takes so long to prepare--45 minutes versus about 20 for white rice--so we decided to see if we could find a more reliable method for cooking brown rice that also reduced the cooking time.
Looking to cut cooking time and still end up with a superior rice, we tried boiling, steaming, microwaving, baking, the traditional stovetop method, and a rice cooker. The rice cooker delivered excellent results. But not everyone wants another appliance in the kitchen. We had found that steaming yielded good results but was problematic because the rice took a long time to cook and there was the danger of the pot running dry. We decided to do most of the cooking in boiling water but to finish the rice in the steamer. Boiling the rice until it is almost tender (about 30 minutes), draining it, then steaming it until done (another 5 to 10 minutes) is by far the best stovetop method for brown rice. Steaming dries out the boiled rice and gets rid of its watery taste. While the boiling/steaming method was runner-up to the rice cooker, it placed far ahead of the traditional covered cooking method.list of recipes