Why is my brown rice such a disaster?

I just bought a new bag of Sukoyaka Genmai brown rice from our local Asian market. I’ve bought the same 15# bag before and not had a problem. I’ve cooked two batches and had the same disasterous results: the bottom half of the pot is a pile of mush and the top half is still crunchy. The only thing different is that this bag has a sticker that says “new crop” on it. I followed the directions: 2 cups rice, add 2.75c water, let soak (once I followed the recommended 30 mins, once I tried a several hours soak), bring to a boil and simmer on low for 25 mins. It always takes longer- for brown rice I plan for 40 mins. But even at 45 mins I had grains on top that were barely cooked. Same pot, same process. What gives? What do I adjust? How do you get your brown rice to turn out well?

That is bad. Any reason to think the problem is the rice cooker?

I’m using a 2.5 quart calphalon clad saucepan. I’ve been cooking rice in it for almost 10 years (10th wedding anniversary coming up!) with occasional not-great batches or needing to adjust water amounts with a new type of rice, but nothing like this.

Oh, it is not a rice cooker, so we cannot even blame an appliance. Yeah, the way you describe it sounds unusual.

Dry on the top and mushy on the bottom would suggest that water evaporated too quickly in the beginning, so the rice on top didn’t get enough water, and yet, later the water evaporate way too slow at the end, causing the rice on the bottom became mushy. However, this is just a guess.

I prefer the pasta method for making brown rice: bring a copious amount of water (salt or not, your choice) to a boil, add rice, stir, cook at a gentle boil for 30 minutes. Dump through a strainer, then empty the strainer right back into the hot pot, (optionally, add oil or butter, and stir) cover, and let it sit, off heat, for 10 minutes. Then fluff it up. This method assures evenly-cooked, separate grains.

I will give it a try. By the way, this is $30 of rice from Reliable Market so I have to find a way to make it usable!

Does anyone know if there’s anything different about new crop rice? Will it age and cook better in a few months?

For some reason we’ve never had a problem with brown rice whether white or brown. We usually buy organic brown rice from CA from our local Adisn market brown basmati or jasmine from TJ’s.

" The older the rice, the drier it is, and the more water you’ll need for it to come out tender. As a general rule, new-crop rice uses a one-to-one ratio, but older rice needs 1 cup rice to 1¼ cups water."

“New crop rice is usually labeled as such on the bag. Regardless, always pay attention to the rice-to-water ratio the first time you make rice from a new bag, even if it is your favorite brand that you’ve been buying for decades. If the rice is too dry, add more water, a few tablespoons at a time, and continue cooking. If it’s too soggy, decrease the water gradually the next few times you cook. You may have to make a few mediocre pots before you get perfect rice, but it will be worth it! Look for Thai or North American jasmine rice—they are of the highest quality.”

http://theasiangrandmotherscookbook.com/2014/02/06/how-to-cook-rice-3-ways/

…one of two camps . . .

and there is a third camp. I ‘discovered’ the Alton Brown method and have used it for years and years and years with white, brown, wild, and everything in between.

BUT YES! one size / ratio DOES NOT DOES NOT fit all.

I weigh the rice and I weigh the water. do cups if you want; in such cases, failures should be expected due to inaccurate quantities / measuring - your call.

basically you bring water (+salt/fat) to a boil, toss in the rice, let it come back to a boil, immediately cover, put in 350’F oven for X minutes, remove from oven, allow to stand covered for Y minutes.

each rice type and brand can be / will be different. it’s important to keep notes of quantities and times so you can replicate “perfect” results.

Did you cook more quantity of rice than before?

Did you cook with or without a lid?

And there is a fourth camp: I use my vegetable steamer, which came with instructions for cooking brown rice. Turns out great every time.

New crop rice tends to cook up differently than old crop rice. It’s stickier/mushier. Try using less water, and after you turn the heat off,let it sit covered for 10-15 minutes before opening the lid.

I prefer buying old crop jasmine rice and aged basmati rice for this very reason.

Uncle. I called “uncle” today on this particular bag and returned it to the store. They were very understanding and exchanged it for a different, non-new-crop bag of medium grain CA brown rice.

I tried almost all of the above suggestions and really appreciate them. I had high hopes for the pasta method, but it literally left me with a pot of mushy oatmeal-like substance. Less water and letting sit for 15 mins with the lid on still resulted in crunchy grains on top with a layer of mush at the bottom.

I just do stovetop rice but it is not an exact science. When I prepare brown Basmati for with good portion for one person I do just about 1/3 cup rice and just under 3/4 cup water.

Add some butter or Ghee and 30 minutes done, Some batches turn out a little better than others, but for the most part it’s pretty consistent and easy. Rice does keep for awhile but can get a little dry. Fatter short grain rice may take a little longer to cook.

me too! a 20-year old Black and Decker Handy Steamer. makes the best rice.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold