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Old 11-02-2006, 11:55 AM   #1
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Help w/ brown rice pilaf

All the brown rice pilaf recipes I see are oven baked. Why can't it be done on the stove top like white rice? I tried and mostly failed again last night. It seems like the hot oil makes the bran so tough that the water can't be absorbed. Is there a way to overcome this?

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Old 11-02-2006, 11:59 AM   #2
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I only use brown rice these days, and I always make my pilaus on top the stove! I start with my mirepoix / "holy trinity" and then add the rice and liquid and cover tightly... the big difference between white and brown rice is the time they take. Brown rice will take 45 minutes to cook, whereas the white only takes 20.

You shouldn't have any problems... When I'm using nuts in my pilau, tho, since the brown rice takes so much longer to cook, I saute the nuts separately and stir them in when the cooking is completed.
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Old 11-02-2006, 12:11 PM   #3
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ChefJune, I simmer covered for 45 minutes then let sit covered off heat another 10. The grains are crunchy as though not quite cooked through.
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Old 11-02-2006, 12:59 PM   #4
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It may be that you are using "old" rice. Just because you purchase what you think is a fresh package at the store does not mean that package has not been sitting in a warehouse for an indeterminate amount of time.

I had the best -- read cinsistent -- luck with rice when I was buying from a coop store a "health-food" store, where the rice was kept in bulk bins and the turnover was very high. You might have better luck at Whole Foods, or a similar type of store.
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Old 11-02-2006, 04:33 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice ChefJune. There isn't a store conveniently nearby that sells brown rice in bulk. I do store it in the freezer to slow spoilage and have not noticed any evidence of rancidity. Do you think that progressively increasing the simmer time and/or liquid for small batches of the same rice would eventually lead to success?
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Old 11-02-2006, 04:56 PM   #6
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Brown rice does have more of a bite to it than white rice. It has a very distinct texture. Is that why you think it is not fully cooked? I just made some last night - sauteed some chopped red onion and cubed carrots - once cooked a little I added the rice and sauteed it too. I added some water and chicken base and cooked for 45 minutes, let set 10. It still has some crunch to it but that's what it feels like when it is done. I just think you are expecting it to be soft like white rice.
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Old 11-02-2006, 05:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitchenelf
Brown rice does have more of a bite to it than white rice. It has a very distinct texture. Is that why you think it is not fully cooked?
I don't think so. If you cook white rice on an electric stove with the power too low, or dry pasta two minutes shy of al dente, that's what I'm talking about.

My boiled brown rice has more texture than white and, if I do say so myself, comes out pretty close to perfect.
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Old 11-02-2006, 05:58 PM   #8
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OK, it was just a question. Can you post your recipe?
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Old 11-02-2006, 08:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitchenelf
OK, it was just a question. Can you post your recipe?
Welllll, here is the best I can remember:

1 cup long grain brown rice
1 finely diced jalapeno pepper
1 Tb. home ground chille powder
1/3 cup small finely onion
2 canned whole roma tomatoes, seeded, diced, and drained.
1/2 cup tomato juice plus enough chicken stock to equal 2 cups when including the diced tomatoes, thinking the liquid from the vegetables will add to the liquid.
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tsp kosher salt
2 Tb achiote oil

Sweat the salted onion in the achiote oil on medium high for a couple minutes.
Add the jalapeno and continue another minute or so.
Add the garlic and rice and continue continue cooking stirring continuously for about three minutes.
Add the heated liquid, and when it returns to a boil, cover and turn down to simmer for 45 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to sit, covered, for an additional 10 minutes.
Gently turn with a meat carving fork.

This is my "recipe" as best I can recall it. I have tried to make different kinds of brown rice pilafs more or less this way and always seem to get the undercooked result I described earlier.

Any advice and experience will be appreciated.
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Old 11-02-2006, 08:15 PM   #10
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I was always told to add tomatoes to rice after the rice was cooked, and have never done it otherwise; it always works fine. Maybe the acidity in the tomatoes inhibits the absorption of fluids into the rice grains? Perhaps someone else knows why.
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