best natural foods

How to cook brown rice?

The first answer to this question: How to cook brown rice? is... Never in a microwave! It is not healthy and it will not taste good anyway.

I once met a lady who said she had been on a macrobiotic diet for over 10 years. But something about her was not right. Her "energy" struck me as being chaotic. And then I found out why... she had been eating microwaved brown rice for over 10 years.

If you bother to eat brown rice instead of regular white rice, I presume you must care about your health. Then microwave cooking is out.

A regular electric rice cooker won't do also, because cooking with electricity is also not healthy. Neither is the alumimium pot that most rice cookers come with.

Instead, learn how to cook brown rice properly over a fire. A charcoal or firewood fire would be great but a gas fire is more practical. If you want to eat healthy foods, better you enjoy it than force it down your throat just because it is "good for health".

Pardon the digression but this reminds me of another person who was eating brown rice... he had attended a cooking class conducted by my friend Genevieve and when he tasted the brown rice at the class, he exclaimed: "You mean brown rice tastes like this?"

He was an organic farmer and he believed brown rice was healthy. But he had not learned how to cook brown rice properly - in a way that was delicious. We were not sure what he did wrong, but he had been forcing himself to eat badly cooked brown rice for years!

Remember, brown rice - and other natural foods - is supposed to taste good. Sure, you may not be used to the rougher texture at first, But after a week or two, you should be used to it and start enjoying it. If not, it probably means you had not learned how to cook brown rice the correct way.

Ajdust to your taste

So before I go into details about how to cook brown rice, please remember that what I can give are only guidelines. You should always adjust the brown rice to your taste, and not follow instructions too closely. If you find it too hard, add more water. If the rice burns - which may not be a bad thing if it only burns slightly - reduce your fire. And so on.

Nothing is fixed. The rice you buy is not the same as the rice I buy; your cooking pot is not the same as my cooking pot; my idea of "small fire" is not the same as your idea of "small fire"... and so on. So while I try my best to give as detailed instructions as possible on how to cook brown rice, ultimately you need to adjust it your way to suit your personal preferences.

One more thing... please aquaint yourself with the different types of rice before learning how to cook brown rice, especially the differences between long, medium and short grain and the diffeence between regular rice and glutinous or sticky rice. If you use the wrong type of rice, there is no way you can cook it correctly.

Pressure cooked brown rice

In macrobiotics, the recommended way of cooking brown rice is to use a pressure cooker. This makes the rice more yang / contracting. It gives the rice a stregthening quality, making it particularly helpful for people who are weak from illness.

It is, of course, not absolutely necessary to use a pressure cooker. But... the first time I ate pressure cooked brown rice, I felt it tasted very much better than boiled brown rice. So here's how to cook brown rice with a pressure cooker, over a gas fire:


  1. Wash the rice. Rinse a few times until the water is clean and clear. With unpolished brown rice, one rinse is usually enough.

  2. If desired, you may presoak the rice for a few hours before cooking. This will make the rice softer and more easily digestible. Some people say this is absolutely necessary but I feel it is optional. If you are using kombu seaweed, soak it together with the rice. The kombu also makes the rice more easily digestible. BUT... do not add salt to the soaking water.
  3. Place the rice and water in a pressure cooker and bring to the boil, uncovered, over a medium fire.

  4. Important: If using kombu, add it with the rice at the start of cooking. If using sea salt, add it only AFTER the rice has come to a boil.
  5. Once the rice has boiled, cover with the pressure cooker lid and continue with the medium fire until the pressure rises to the higest level - two marks on most brands of pressure cookers.

  6. Once the pressure is up, reduce the fire to low. If necessary, use a flame deflector - a metal disc with holes - to lower the heat further. Pressure cook for 40 to 45 minutes, taking your timing from this stage.

  7. Turn off the heat and allow the rice to "rest" for 10 minutes before opening the lid. The idea is not just to wait for the pressure to come down, but also to allow the rice to settle. So do not use short-cuts - like putting the pressure cooker under a slow running tap - to open the lid sooner.
  8. Fluff the rice and serve.

How to cook brown rice - boiling method

If you do not have a pressure cooker, use a claypot or a heavy metal pot with a thick base and a heavy lid - the type of pot that retains heat well. Good cooking pots include enamel coated cast iron (such as Le Creuset) or high quality 18/10 stainless steel.

Do not use teflon-coated or aluminium pots as these will leech toxic substances into your food. Glass or corning ware is neutral and non-toxic but not suitable for cooking rice as such pots, because they conduct heat well, tend to make your rice burn.

To cook brown rice by boiling, the first four steps above are the same. Once the rice has come to a boil, cover, turn the fire up high and cook for about one minute. Then reduce the fire and continue cooking over low heat for about 45 to 50 minutes.

And once again, after you have turned off the fire, allow the rice to "rest" for 10 minutes before you fluff and serve.

How to cook brown rice and other whole grains

Follow the same steps above, but use different grains such as:

The proportion does not really matter, depending on what you fancy. Note, however, that whole wheat and whole oats tend to be hard and chewy. For these grains, I don't recommend adding more than 10 or 20 percent. But that small amount will add interesting textures and flavours.

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Kindly leave a comment in the box below.


(5 articles)
Cooking oils
(23 articles)
Diet plans (13 articles)
Fiber (3 articles)
Fish (3 articles)
Grains (17 articles)
Pasta (10 articles)
Pasta recipes
(>40 recipes)
Salt (11 articles)
(11 articles)
Soy products
(14 articles)
Vegetables (1 article)
Water (6 articles)
More sections to come
Natural Cancer Cures
Flu treatments
Stop Trans fats

Benefits of whole grains
'Foods of the gods'
Macrobiotic view of grains
Benefits of barley
Barley water
Chinese barley / hato mugi / Job's tears
Pearl barley
What is millet?
Millet recipes
Benefits of oats
Nutritional value of oats
Steel cut oats
Steel cut oats cooking
Benefits of brown rice
How to cook brown rice
What is sticky rice?
Types of rice