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March 2, 2009 12:57 PM   Subscribe

I'm going to Bob's Red Mill this weekend and need help deciding which 25 lb. bag(s) of rice to buy. Your opinion?

I have a Zojirushi Micom Rice Cooker, so I'm looking for a rice that will consistently turn out well in this appliance. Most importantly though, I'm looking for rice that is versatile (good with lentils and veggies) and is very healthy. I could easily Google "healthiest rice", but I wouldn't necessarily want to buy a 25 lb. bag of it if it's not actually something that goes with a lot of meals and I would enjoy.

I'm considering purchasing 1 or 2 bags, so please don't hesitate to suggest a couple options.

My options are listed here (more than one page of results).
posted by siclik to Food & Drink (19 answers total)
Brown rice is healthier than white rice. As for versatility, I'd go with the long grain or basmati. They'll be fine in your rice cooker.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 1:04 PM on March 2, 2009

Well I'm not familiar with the store at all, but as far as rice goes, basmati rice is my go-to staple. Brown basmati is probably a tiny bit better for you, but I never get the same perfect results as I do with white. A good wild rice blend is also nice for those dishes that benefit from a nicer display. Takes longer to cook though and can be a little tricky in those rice cookers.

PS. You know to wash the rice first, right? Several times. That's really the key to great rice.
posted by elendil71 at 1:09 PM on March 2, 2009

Do you mean just rice? Or any grain you can make in a rice cooker? Because from that list, you should get quinoa. It has a better nutritional profile and if fun and delicious. I make it in a rice cooker by adding the same ratio of water:rice as I would for brown rice.

If straight up rice, get brown basmati. Brown trumps white on nutrition any day (and, if you are a white rice eater by history, it will only take you several times to get used to the difference. if that's the case, ease your way into it by adding lots of butter!!).
posted by mustcatchmooseandsquirrel at 1:17 PM on March 2, 2009

Thanks for your input so far. Sounds like brown basmati would be a safe bet. I have tried quinoa and loved it - we have it at least once a week. It's already a staple in our house, so I guess I'm just looking for a good rice to add as another staple that we won't get sick of (25 lbs is a lot of rice for two people!)

We did recently learn to rinse our rice several times before cooking (thanks to the Zoji manual) and it's made an enormous difference - thanks for suggesting that though - very helpful!
posted by siclik at 1:32 PM on March 2, 2009

Brown basmati is great, and that's what I always get.

Two questions in response to other posts:

1) WHY is washing rice several times the key to great rice? What does it do exactly?

2) Someone mentioned quinoa. What's the ratio of quinoa to water in a steam cooker?

I also have to mention Bob's Red Mill's ground yellow corn, which is the absolutely best for making mamaliga, the Romanian carb staple . . . great with stews. Pick up some of that.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 1:40 PM on March 2, 2009

Washing rice removes some of the starch and makes it less clumpy. Interestingly, I just saw this which suggests that you really one need to wash imported rice.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 1:45 PM on March 2, 2009


IANAE, but I believe it has something to do with washing the starchy exterior off of the rice grain, resulting in fluffier (and less sticky) rice.
posted by siclik at 1:45 PM on March 2, 2009

Careful with large quantities of brown rice. Unless stored properly it can go rancid.

Basmati & jasmine rice are my faves.
posted by torquemaniac at 1:50 PM on March 2, 2009

Dee: There are a lot of different ground corn products on the website. Can you recommend a specific one that would work well for mamaliga?
posted by siclik at 2:22 PM on March 2, 2009

As mentioned above, washing rice removes some of the starch, so you get nice individually cooked grains rather than clumps, unless thats what you want. And yes, imported rice should definately be washed, as it often has dirt and even little worms in it. Dont worry, the worms dont eat much ;-) The finest basmati rice I have ever eaten was imported from Nepal (now sadly missing from my international food mart) and it was full of, shall we say, impurities. Fabulous nonethless.
posted by elendil71 at 2:34 PM on March 2, 2009

Don't be afraid of 25lbs of rice. We bought that much from Costco (jasmine rice,) ate the whole bag over a couple of years, and bought another one.
posted by sugarfish at 5:01 PM on March 2, 2009

They sell a mighty fine marionberry pie that would surely go well with any rice dish I can imagine.
posted by TomSophieIvy at 7:35 PM on March 2, 2009

You do need to wash the rice thoroughly, and I always feel guilty about the wasted water. You don't need to wash brown rice as much, and it's better for you and has a delicious nutty flavour. The brown basmati that you're leaning towards is great.

But with a rice cooker like that, it doesn't really matter what rice you use. We have a similar cooker and usually have three or four types of rice that we use depending on the meal. (Long grain for Indian/Middle Eastern food, short grain for Asian and/or chopsticks.) Why not get a few different types?
posted by robcorr at 12:54 AM on March 3, 2009

Oh, and don't forget that you can use it to bake...
posted by robcorr at 12:57 AM on March 3, 2009

Rob, you don' t need to throw the water away. Put it on the garden - or grow some herbs on the windowsill for that purpose.

(and fancy seeing you here!)
posted by crazybrave at 2:10 AM on March 3, 2009

I prefer short grain brown rice to long grain, personally.

I would also get a bag of wheatberries. They have a nice sweet earthy round flavor and are chewier than most cooked grains. They're easy to cook in a rice cooker (soak for an hour, 2-1 water:berries plus a pinch of salt, use the brown rice cycle; they're nuttier if you toast them in a dry skillet first) and store well in the fridge for a week or so. They're pretty versatile, but my favorite is a wheatberry salad with roasted carrots and beets and raw red onion slivers with a raspberry mustard vinaigrette. I also mix a cup or so (cooked) into the dough for whole wheat bread.

Do get Beth Hensperger's Ultimate Rice Cooker cookbook.
posted by Caviar at 8:26 AM on March 3, 2009

Dee: There are a lot of different ground corn products on the website. Can you recommend a specific one that would work well for mamaliga?

Medium grind cornmeal - I don't think it matters much if it's the organic one or not. The yellower the color, the better . . . "grits"-style cornmeal (and by this I mean white corn) doesn't work as well. If they don't have medium grind, it's better to go a little more coarse than more fine.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 2:41 PM on March 3, 2009

Caviar, do you toast or soak the wheatberries first?
posted by crazybrave at 12:57 AM on March 4, 2009

Toast first, then soak. Discard the soaking water, then add new cooking water. You can soak them in the cooker. The toasting step is optional altogether if you're pressed for time or want a less nutty flavor. I like the toasting - they smell sort of like popcorn.
posted by Caviar at 9:39 AM on March 4, 2009

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