Friday, October 14, 2011

My Perfect Brown Rice

This is my perfect brown rice.  I have been trying to cook this kind of brown rice since I discovered it in a vegan Vietnamese restaurant and finally I got the recipe.  This is a perfect brown rice to eat with Asian dishes (Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Cambodian) if you want to avoid eating white rice.  For an Indian, American, or Middle Eastern dish, I still prefer the long grain brown basmati or regular long or short grain brown rice.

I discovered what I called 'my perfect brown rice'  when we started dining at Thuyen Vien, a vegan Vietnamese restaurant in Anaheim, CA.  It's a great restaurant and  it received a high rating at Yelp from vegetarians, vegans, and non-vegetarians customers.  The owners of the restaurant, a husband and wife, Si and Loan(Laura) are great cooks.  I fell in love with their brown rice which looks like the picture above.  He doesn't share restaurant's secret though.  Si just said it is made of 3 kind of rice.  Hmmm....what kind and what is the ratio of the 3?   I have to break the secret (which is challenging in itself) and try and try  a  recipe I created my own.  I  kept combining 3 different kinds of  rice and finally I can resemble what they have.  I think I got it pretty close.  :-)

This rice is sticky, soft, and aromatic.  Asians like to eat rice with those characteristics.  That is why most of them opt to have white jasmine rice or sweet sticky rice in restaurants.  They like to mold their rice in a bowl and invert it onto a plate like the picture above.  You'll notice some Asian restaurants do it that way, or some put the rice in a big rice container, and some serve it in small rice bowls.  Hence, most of the time the rice is sticky and aromatic.  Since I try not to eat white rice anymore, it is not possible to replace the sticky and aromatic of white Jasmine rice with regular long grain brown rice.  It is not the same.  When eating Asian dishes, I want to have the same characteristics of eating my dish with the white and aromatic Jasmine rice.

The 3 kinds of rice I use are long grain brown Jasmine rice, sweet brown rice (not short grain brown rice), and red Bhutanese rice or Wehani Rice or Thai Red Rice.    The sweet brown rice adds the stickiness.  The brown Jasmine rice adds the aromatic characteristic.  The red rice adds the nice color to it.  All 3 have awesome nutritional values.  It is much better for your health to eat brown rice than any white rice.  Wehani rice usually costs much more.  I prefer the Thai red rice that I purchased in an Asian market for about $6 per 5 lbs. bag.
I also purchased an expensive rice cooker to cook them with.   This is my favorite kitchen appliance that I left out on the kitchen counter instead of storing it in the cupboard.  I use it ALL the time since I cook rice every week and sometimes 2 to 3 times a week.  What's great about this rice cooker is that it has 2 timers.  With the timer, I can measure the rice and water in the morning and set the timer so when I get home from work the brown rice is ready to eat.  Cooking brown rice takes about 45 minutes.   This appliance saves me a lot of time.

Of course, you don't have to buy an expensive rice cooker and can manually cook rice with a pot on stove-top.  Especially, if you don't cook rice all the time.  However, I will recommend that the rice is soaked for about 6-8 hours if you want it soft and sticky.  I measure and put the water in the morning so the rice was soaked in water for about 6 hours before the machine started cooking.

My Perfect Brown rice

1/3 cup Long Grain Brown rice
1/3 cup Sweet Brown Rice (not short grain brown rice)
1/3 cup Wehani, Bhutanese, or Thai Red Rice
2 cups of water

Combine rice in a pot and add water.  Let it soak for about 6-8 hours.
Turn on heat until water is boiling, turn it down to simmer, and set timer for 45 minutes.
If you have a rice cooker,  measure 1/3 of each type of rice with your rice cooker measuring cup, add enough water until it reach the 'Brown Rice'  level.  If you have a timer, set the timer.  If you don't, I suggest soaking the rice for 6-8 hours.  Then, click the Start button (it is that easy!).

I use this rice in a dish I prepared recently.  The rice is in the bottom of the bowl, topped with Korean Pepper Paste sauce (gochujang sauce), pan fried tofu, fresh spinach, shredded carrots, chopped and fresh snap peas, sliced green onions, more sauce, and roasted sesame seeds.  This is called Couch (pronounced Kooch) Bowl from Native Bowl.
I recently visited Portland, OR and had a chance to try Couch Bowl at Native Bowl.  I like it so much that when I got home I want to replicate the dish and share it with DH.  You can find the recipe of this Couch Bowl hereJulie Hasson is the chef of Native Bowl and was featured in Veg Edge in Cooking Channel by which she presented this delicious bowl. 

Enjoy My Perfect Brown rice with any Asian dish, Chinese food left over, Thai curry, or Vietnamese stir fry!  When you in Anaheim, CA, please visit Thuyen Vien and let me know if my rice is pretty close to what they have.  Also, try that Couch Bowl at Native Bowl, either visit them in Portland, OR or make it for yourself at home.


Vic Robinson said...

Ive never used a rice cooker but that rice looks fantastic!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

This looks fantastic, Debbie-- I have to try it!

spiceislandvegan said...

Thanks Bryanna! I went to Thuyen Vien last night and their rice is less red. So maybe, they put in less of the red rice. Out of the 3 different kind of rice, the red one is the most expensive. So I can understand why they put in less of the red.