Sunday, June 24, 2012
Brown Rice, Congee and Steamed
It works! Pictured above is a small bowl of brown rice xi fan (congee). There's also a little black rice mixed in, making it purple. The black strips are wakame seaweed I threw in at the end to give it some extra flavor.
I'd been wondering how brown rice xi fan would turn out since I've been consuming more brown rice lately. And it works out very well. It's still porridgey, but the grains maintain their structural integrity much more than does white rice, though the still release some of their starch, which thickens the stew. It's kind of like how steel-cut oatmeal grains keep their bite somewhat after cooking compared to rolled- and quick-oats, which soften and break down more.
I used a batch of cooked brown rice, though, so I can't speak to how much water you need to add for uncooked brown rice (more than with white rice). But I just added twice the volume of water to the brown rice and heated it to simmer, stirring occasionally until the soup thickened. Of course, cooking time was much quicker with cooked rice than it would have been otherwise (I don't think it was more than 30 minutes to an hour for me).
Also, I was motivated to go ahead and try making the brown rice congee due to the poor quality of the steamed brown rice. You see, I tried using the "brown rice" setting on my rice cooker to see how it turned out. Brown rice needs soaking time before you cook it, and it turns out the Zoujirushi rice cooker my roommate has actually has about an hour built in soaking time, as well as a longer cooking time once it starts heating the pot. The results, though are rather mushy and unappealing.
Speaking of steaming brown rice, though, in other brown rice news, I nailed down procedures for getting results I do like with a rice cooker. Again, don't use the brown rice setting on your rice cooker (or maybe yours is better, or you like mushy rice). I like a bit of bite to my white rice and definitely more bite to my brown rice. The hull is there, so it's of course going to have more bite to it when cooked right.
About 2 hours soaking time is needed for brown rice (Update: 1 hour seems to work fine), but after the soaking time, it only needs to be cooked with the white rice setting on your rice cooker (maybe "quick cooking" works, too). The volume of water is also the same as for white rice, and I just add the right amount in and leave it to soak so I don't have to drain and add water back in.
What you get at the end is brown rice al dente. It's excellent. Try adding it to your salads, too, instead of quinoa or what have you. Though, I enjoy steamed white rice in my salads, even. Hell, I guess it's kind of like bibimbap, now that I think about it. Actually, my adding a fried egg to my salads is also bibimbap-ish. And when I do both white rice and a fried egg, it's even more like bibimbap. Alright, better shut me up before I wander even further afield.
Just one more thing! In the background of this image is an onsen tamago, or "hot spring egg", an excellent Japanese preparation which I'll have to do a post on in the future, as well.