Now that brown rice is becoming more mainstream, I hear fewer complaints from people about brown rice tasting different than white rice. These complaints are often replaced by comments like, "I would eat brown rice, but it takes so long to cook!" Having been in a time crunch myself for more years than I can count at this point, I came up with a solution that allows me to have great-tasting instant brown rice for most meals. For other meals, I have a fun project for kids (or the kid-at-heart).
|Affectionately called "rice castles" or "rice cubes" - ready to go into the freezer|
1) First, choose a night when you'll be in the house for 45 minutes or so whether or not you plan to eat brown rice that night.
2) Rinse several cups of rice (enough for multiple meals) in a mesh strainer or swish in a bowl full of water. Repeat until water is clear and drain well.
3) For each cup of brown rice you measured out and rinsed, add 1.75 cups water to a pot along with the rice.* Add a pinch or two of salt (optional).
4) Bring to a boil, stir well, immediately turn to lowest possible heat and cover. Set a timer for 35-40 minutes.
5) When timer goes off, remove pan from heat but DON'T UNCOVER. Allow to sit at least 10 minutes before eating. Rice continues to cook after removing it from heat.
6) After resting, rice can be eaten. Allow leftover rice (or all of the rice if not eating that day) to cool to a temperature you're comfortable handling it at.
7) Take a measuring cup the size of your usual serving of rice for 1 person (anywhere from 1/2-1 cup) and pack rice into in, then overturn measuring cup and tap the edge on a sheet pan to get your very own rice "sandcastle" to pop out. Repeat with remaining rice until you run out.
8) Place the sheet pan with all of your rice "castles" on it into the freezer and allow to freeze overnight. The following day, overturn sheet pan onto kitchen counter and rice "castles" will come off. Put them into ziplock bags and store in the freezer for later use. I can fit about 8 into a gallon ziplock bag.
9) For instant rice on another day, take one rice "castle" or "rice cube," as I'm fond of calling them, out of the ziplock bag. Put it into a bowl, sprinkle a few drops of tap water over it, cover with a plate and heat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. The rice is ready and tastes freshly cooked. This is MUCH better than that terrible instant rice you buy at the store either in the pantry or freezer sections. (That stuff tastes truly awful to me!)
*NOTE: the amount of water listed here is less than it says on the bag/box of rice you purchased because most of us actually don't end up draining the rice very well and a lot of water clings to in. In my experience making hundreds of batches of rice this way, the amount listed here will be more accurate if you rinse rice before cooking. Rinsing rice before cooking helps produce cooked rice that doesn't turn into a mushy, sticky, pasty mess.