Basic Pressure Cooker Brown Rice

October 15, 2013
by Jack McNulty
Basic Pressure Cooker Brown Rice

I really like the wholesome, slightly nutty flavor of brown rice…when cooked properly that is!

I’ve always cooked brown rice according to the basic pilaf method. I’ve experimented with cooking the rice on the stove over moderate heat until the rice absorbed all of the water. I’ve tried cooking the rice in the oven, covered with foil. I’ve even tried cooking the rice in a rice cooker. All of these methods mostly ended in disappointment because the rice became clumpy, was under cooked or scorched a bit on the bottom of the pan. But, recently I’ve experimented with my pressure cooker and every time I make the rice it turns out perfectly cooked, steamed to perfection with every grain absorbing just the amount of moisture needed.

I’ve also paid closer attention to purchasing high quality brown rice and storing the rice correctly to avoid any hint of rancidity.

Whole grains, of course, offer a higher level of taste satisfaction and nourishment unequaled by most other foods. However, with the oil-rich germ still intact, whole grains can quickly become rancid when stored at room temperature. This is why it is very important to purchase whole grains (including rice) with dates and in a vacuum-sealed container. I even store my grains in the freezer or refrigerator to insure optimum storage and to preserve all of those nutrients I have spent my money on.

Using the pressure cooker to prepare whole grain rice is simple. I usually begin by rinsing the rice very well under cold water. If the grain seems quite dirty, I repeat the process once or twice until the water remains almost clear. I always allow the grains a bit of time (5 minutes or so) to drain before proceeding with the cooking. But, be careful with this as you don’t want the rice to sit too long or the cooking time will be altered.

My basic method for making pressure cooker brown rice is always what I begin with, but almost never what I end up with.

I sometimes add the following to the pot before I add the rice: 1-2 cloves of garlic (left whole or sliced), some dried oregano, a dash of paprika or cayenne pepper, a large piece of cinnamon, some crushed cardamom pods, 2-3 tablespoons of mild curry powder or a handful of dried fruits.

Or, I stir in the following after the cooking: sautéed mushrooms, roasted pumpkin, roasted artichoke hearts, chopped walnuts or hazelnuts, fresh herbs (favorite is simply parsley) or roasted root vegetables of any kind.

Adjusting the water level is also something I like to experiment with. Adding just a bit more water and leaving the rice to sit in the extra water after releasing the pressure creates a risotto-like creaminess. Reducing the water a bit will result in a drier rice, which I like to enjoy sometimes in the morning.

Reheat leftover portions in a small amount of water in a non-stick pan over moderate heat, or simply reheat portions in the microwave.

basic pressure cooker brown rice

makes about 6-8 servings

1 onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 Tbl. olive oil (optional)
360 gr. short grain brown rice
½ tsp. sea salt
5 dl. water

I begin by sweating the chopped onion and bay leaves in olive oil, although you can easily leave out the oil and use water if you are trying to make a fat-free version (no need to dirty another pot or pan for this procedure…just use the base of your pressure cooker).I am attempting to get the onion to soften nicely with just a hint of browning to create some natural sweetness. One the onion is prepared, add the brown rice and salt, then stir everything together very well before adding all of the water.  Close the lid of your pressure cooker and place the pot over high heat until the pressure gauge reaches the first bar. Reduce the heat immediately to maintain this pressure level (my stove top is induction and reacts quickly – I set the initial temperature to the highest setting which is number 9, then reduce my setting to number 4 to maintain the correct temperature), and set your timer for 22 minutes. I allow for a natural release of pressure off the heat, which usually takes about 15 minutes. Once the pressure is released, open the lid and fluff the rice with a fork.