Rice is Japan’s and other−especially Asian country’s staple food that has a wide variety of products. One type of rice is called brown rice (玄米, genmai), which is whole-grain rice which only the husk (the inedible outermost layer of grain) is removed.
Lately, brown rice often associated with healthy eating because of its nutrition. Health-conscious people beginning to take an attention and change their rice intake to brown rice. However, it may be challenging to immediately swap white rice to brown rice in our meal routine. Especially when we already get used to eating white rice.
In this article, let's embrace the brown rice's health benefits and learn how to deliciously cook brown rice (complete with delicious recipes to try). It would be nice if this article could help you learn more about brown rice!
About Brown Rice
Japan is a country when people eat at least one bowl of rice per day on average. About 9 million of rice a year consumed in Japan. Mostly consumed rice is the white rice, but recently people starts to take an intention to brown rice.
Brown rice (玄米, genmai) is a whole-grain rice which only the husk (the inedible outermost layer of grain) is removed. With the husk removed, brown rice’s grain is colored yellowish-brown, with the chewier and nuttier taste of grain.
Unlike white rice, brown rice has the bran and cereal germ intact, so they have different nutritional content. This two unremoved layer in brown rice is the source of brown rice’s nutrition. As a result, brown rice packed with more vitamins, mineral, and dietary fiber. Learn more in brown rice’s nutrition facts!
Because brown rice is rich in fiber, it is relatively takes more time to cook than white rice. But please rest assured! You can read the detailed instruction about “How to Cook Brown Rice” with 2 types of methods later in this article.
Both uncooked and cooked brown rice can easily be stored.
In case of uncooked brown rice, store it in a cool place up to 6 months. It is also recommended to store it in refrigerator in summer because it could last up to 10 months.
In case of cooked brown rice, please cool down the temperature first before storing it. Cover the brown rice in airtight container and store it in refrigerator for 4 days. You can also store it in freezer for up to 5 months.
How to Tell If Brown Rice has Gone Bad?
Some signs to tell that your rice has gone bad is its form, smell and texture. Please discard it if there’s an unpleasant smell coming from both uncooked and cooked brown rice.
Mold, insects, and discolorations are the signs when the uncooked brown rice has gone bad.
Spoiled cooked brown rice also has a super hard and dry texture. Lastly, avoid storing the cooked brown rice at room temperature for too long. The room temperature may lead to bacterial growth that could become food poison.
Difference Between Brown Rice and White Rice
Rice is a versatile grain that is delicious to use for many types of dishes: fried rice, risotto, rice porridge, or incorporate a bowl of rice with curry, soup, stir-fries, and many more!
Brown rice and white rice came from the same rice plant. What makes it different is the process to make it. Let’s compare these two types of rice and discover which one is healthier!
Brown rice is called the half-milled rice because it still has the bran and germ part. These two parts are the source of brown rice’s abundant vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. The bran part of brown rice also filled with antioxidants.
Every 100 grams of brown rice contains 1.6 grams of fiber, while white rice only has 0.4 grams of fiber. The fiber contents are making brown rice relatively takes more time to cook.
This rice still has the carbohydrate that we need, but have a comparatively low glycemic index level. Brown rice offers some health benefits for those who want to maintain a healthy well-balanced diet and to prevent some chronic diseases.
White rice is a milled and polished rice, resulting a full bright white color. Compared to brown rice, white rice need less time to cook and has a natural mellow texture.
It is full of carbohydrate, but unfortunately high on glycemic index. Thus, consuming white rice is not advisable for those with a higher risk of diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases.
Through the milling process, the rice’s husk, bran, and germ are removed and left only with the carb-rich endosperm part. The process of milling that converts brown rice into white rice strips away most of its nutritional value.
Which one is healthier?
White rice is not completely unhealthy, it just loses a few essential nutrients than brown rice. But because it is high on the glycemic index, eating too many white rice may increase the blood sugar level, which is not recommended for those with diabetes.
It's important to learn that any types of rice contains phytic acid that could reduce minerals absorption during a meal. However, phytic acid also have several positive health effects, such as protection against kidney stones and cancer, as it has antioxidant properties. Eating foods with phytic content such as rice should not become a problem for those who have a well-balanced diet.
If you are consuming rice, you may want to replace it with brown rice. Brown rice is considered to be more nutritious to maintain healthy eating and lifestyle with the possible nutrients contained. Nevertheless, it is advised to eat brown rice moderately, not every day.
Nutrition Facts Comparison for Brown Rice and White Rice
Let's take a look at the nutrition facts for both brown rice and white rice.
By comparing both, it's easier to determine which type of rice is healthier for us.
Nutrition Facts Comparison Table
Cooked Brown Rice
Cooked White Rice
|Vitamin B-1 (Thiamine)
|Vitamin B-3 (Niacin)
|Vitamin B-9 (Folate)
As shown above, both have similar amount of calories and carbs.
However, brown rice offers more nutritious ingredients such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B to keep you healthier. Brown rice also has 3 times more dietary fiber than white rice.
Brown Rice’s Health Effects
Health Benefits 1 Helps to Keep You Fuller for Healthy Weight
Brown rice is a whole-grain that has 3 times more dietary fiber than white rice. Of course, brown rice has more fiber compared to white pasta and white bread.
In general, high-fiber food offers so many health benefits. High dietary fiber in brown rice will control the energy intake in your body by keeping you fuller over a longer time. This way, you'll be able to consume fewer food calories overall.
Choosing to eat high-fiber food, thus, could reduce the risk of obesity and maintain your healthy weight.
Health Benefits 2 Prevent the Risk of Heart Disease and Cardiovascular Disease
Studies have shown that high-fiber foods like brown rice may aid heart health, such as reducing blood pressure and inflammation.
The magnesium in brown rice also helps to maintain the heart health by keeping the heartbeat steady, and has anti-inflammatory benefit. Magnesium also supports body immune system to keep you healthy.
The subaleurone layer in half-milled rice or brown rice offers protection against high blood pressure and atherosclerosis (source). Through this research, we discovered that fewer people died because of cardiovascular disease in Japan, where people eat at least one bowl of rice per day. So it’s better to consume half-milled rice or brown rice as the part of diet.
Health Benefits 3 Prevent the Risk of Several Types of Cancer
Beside heart disease and cardiovascular disease, consuming brown rice could offer protection against some cancers that is colon cancer and breast cancer.
Brown rice is rich in fiber and antioxidant content. The fiber content can bind itself to cancer-causing toxics, which eliminates them from the body.
The bran in brown rice contains essential phenols such as tricin, ferulic acid, and caffeic acid. These phenols may disturb the proliferation of colon and breast cancer cells (source). The study concludes that the consumption of brown rice may be beneficial to cancer prevention.
Health Benefits 4 Better Carb Intake for Those with Diabetes
It is said that people with diabetes need to reduce their carbohydrate intake.
Replacing carb intake with brown rice could reduce the impact of the post-meal blood sugar level. That is because brown rice has a lower glycemic index than white rice, making it has less impact on blood sugar.
In addition, consuming brown rice instead of white rice could reduce the chances of developing two types of diabetes in the first place (source). Let’s try swapping our white rice intake to brown rice for better health!
Does Brown Rice Contains Anti-Nutrient Contents?
Brown rice shows many health benefits for our body, but some contents of brown rice referred to as anti-nutrient or toxic.
The presence of the natural plant hormone in brown rice called Abscisic Acid makes it harder for the body to digest. Brown rice also contains the anti-nutrient called phytic acid that naturally attached to the minerals. The phytic acid prevents the absorption of minerals by binding to them before your body can absorb them.
Luckily, soaking, sprouting (germinating), and fermenting your rice could reduce phytic acid and abscisic acid content in brown rice. The germinated brown rice is called Sprouted Brown Rice, while the fermented brown rice is called Enzyme Brown Rice.
Arsenic in Rice: How to Reduce it?
What is an arsenic? And why we need to know about arsenic before consuming a bowl of rice?
Arsenic is a metal element that is naturally present in soil, water, and air and it is absorbed by food crops as they grow. Rice seems to absorb it the most compared to other eaten foods. The number of arsenic is possibly increasing in some cultivation areas due to pollution. Arsenic also can appear because of human activity, such as mining and using pesticides when planting.
There are two types of arsenic: organic and inorganic arsenic. These classifications is based on their carbon chemistry and not affected by the method of farming. The inorganic arsenic is the most toxic form and associated with adverse health effect.
In short, arsenic is toxic. High level of long-term consumption of inorganic arsenic may be linked to chronic disease and causing damage to multiple organ systems such as the stomach, kidney, liver, and heart. Yes, it is very concerning.
According to a study, brown rice contains more arsenic than white rice (source). That is because the arsenic is contained in the bran part of the grain. That said, it should not be a problem if you eat rice in moderation. (Again, please remember that brown rice has more nutrients than white rice).
The arsenic content in rice can vary according to the type of rice, its cultivation area, how it has been processed and how it has been cooked.
How to Reduce Arsenic in Rice?
If you eat rice as part of your daily meal, you may want to know how to reduce the arsenic content in rice. Consider to try these methods to reduce the arsenic concentration in rice:
1. Wash and rinse the rice thoroughly with fresh water. Make sure it is clear enough before you cook it.
2. Soak the rice overnight. This method will open up the grain and allows the arsenic to escape. Additionally, soaking the brown rice for more than 6 hours may reduce the phytic acid and abscisic acid content.
3. Use the high volume of water:rice (6:1) in cooking to remove up to 45% inorganic arsenic. This ratio is perfect if you want to cook brown rice that is high in fiber.
How to Cook Brown Rice
Brown rice is indeed popular, especially among health-conscious people. One of the reasons why people still can’t eat brown rice is maybe because of its firm and rough texture. Maybe the cooked brown rice has a hard texture and difficult to chew.
Please rest assured! There are few cooking methods you can try to make your cooked brown rice has a tender, fluffy and chewy texture.
1. Cook The Brown Rice with Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker
2. Cook The Brown Rice with Donabe
These methods are for unseasoned cooked brown rice. By eating the unseasoned rice, you can enjoy the natural texture of brown rice and try to mix it with lots of dishes.
USEFUL TIPS TO KNOW before cooking brown rice:
● If using the older brown rice, add more water to cook it. Older crops tend to hard to absorb moisture.
● It’s optional, but try soaking the brown rice with clean water for 6 hours in summer and 8 hours in winter before cooking to make the it easier to absorb moisture. Soaking the rice is helpful to reduce phytic acid and abscisic acid content in brown rice, too.
● To make the seasoned cooked brown rice, you can substitute the water with broth or dashi.
● The rice will evenly be cooked when you see a crab hole-like spreading around the rice.
1. Cook Brown Rice with Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker
You’ll love this method because it only takes around 40 minutes to cook brown rice. Instant Pot is an all-in-one cooker device with many purposes. You can replace the instant pot with pressure cooker.
- ・Washed Brown Rice
- 2 cups (450 g)
- 2 ½ cups
- Rinse and carefully drain your brown rice to remove excess dirt.
- Add rinsed brown rice to instant pot. Pour the water into the instant pot in precise number. Stir to mix.
- Close the pot’s lid select 20 minutes on high pressure (pressure cooker mode).
- After the cooking time finished, let the cooker release the pressure naturally. Once over, carefully open the lid, stir evenly, and transfer the cooked rice to bowl.
2. Cook Brown Rice with Donabe
In Japan, Donabe
(earthenware pot) is often used to cook rice since ancient times. This method using Donabe will make your cooked brown rice have the chewy texture!
- ・Washed brown rice
- look at steps below
- Rinse and carefully drain your brown rice to remove excess dirt.
- Put the rinsed brown rice to the donabe and add water with 1.2-1.5 times the number of brown rice.
- Close the donabe’s lid and cook for 17-20 minutes in high heat (if the water spills, reduce the heat and add more cooking time).
- When the water gradually decrease, add the second wave of water. This time, please add water with 1.0-1.2 times the number of brown rice. Stir well with the rice.
- After it boils, reduce the heat into low heat and cook for 15-20 minutes.
- Turn of the heat and let it steam inside the donabe for 10 more minutes.
- Carefully open the donabe’s lid, stir the rice evenly, and immediately serve the rice.
Delicious Recipes Featuring Brown Rice
In this article, we would like to introduce three delicious recipes using brown rice. These recipes are widely known and loved in Japan, but it’s also delicious to try wherever you are.
These recipes have both Japanese-style cuisine and Western-style cuisine. Please try it by all means!
1. Brown Rice Onigiri
Onigiri or Japanese rice ball is an easy and common rice recipe in Japan. Try using brown rice to shape your onigiri to make it more nutritious. Let’s cook the brown rice first before making onigiri.
- ・Cooked brown rice
- 300 grams
- ・Rice vinegar or sushi rice seasoning
- 2 tablespoons
- ・Beef meat, thinly sliced
- 150 grams
- ・Green onion, sliced
- 2 pieces
- ・Ginger, thinly sliced
- 30 grams
- 100 cc
- ・Soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons
- 2 tablespoons
- 1 tablespoon
- 1 tablespoon
Steps (for beef and green onion filling):
- Heat water in a pot in medium heat. Add ginger, soy sauce, sugar, sake, and mirin. Bring it to boil.
- After it boils, add the beef and stir sufficiently. Cover the pot and continue cooking for 20 minutes or until the liquid is almost all gone.
- Sprinkle the meat with sliced green onion and let it cool.
Steps (for making onigiri):
- While cooking the meat, prepare the cooked brown rice by mix the rice with rice vinegar.
- To make onigiri, wet your hands with water and salt. Scoop a palmful amount of rice in one hand. Then make a dent in the center.
- Add the beef and green onion filling in the center as much as you want.
- Press and form into a triangle shape, or all ball shape.
2. Meat and Mushroom Brown Rice Risotto
Small-grain rice is the perfect rice type to cook risotto. By cooking it using brown rice, it would be more nutritious, and you don’t have to worry about brown rice’s firm texture. Adding shimeji mushroom is also a perfect match to brown rice because it has a nutty flavor once it’s cooked.
- ・Olive oil
- 4 tablespoons
- ・Onion, diced
- 50 grams
- ・Garlic, minced
- 1.5 cloves
- ・Small-grain brown rice
- 300 grams
- ・Chicken or vegetable broth, warmed
- 4 cups
- ・White wine
- 1 cup
- ・Sweet potato, cut
- 1 piece
- ・Beef meat, sliced
- 100 grams
- ・Shimeji mushroom, sliced
- 50 grams
- ・Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 cup
- ・Salt, pepper
- to taste
- ・Raw spinach
- optional (for dressing)
- ・Lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon (for dressing)
- Heat olive oil in medium/large pan in medium heat. Add onion and sauté for several minutes until soft (not brown).
- Add brown rice and minced garlic, sprinkle some salt and stir for several minutes until the rice coated with oil.
- Add white wine and stir until it is absorbed completely (around 1 minute).
- Pour 1/2 chicken or vegetable broth and stir evenly. Repeat this step 4 times until all broth is absorbed completely to the rice. This may take 30-40 minutes.
- Add cut sweet potato into the pot with rice and let it cook together with the rice.
- At the last 20 minutes of the rice cooking, prepare the meat and mushroom. Warm up 2 tablespoons of olive oil in another pan. Add the sliced meat and shimeji mushroom with a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir it occasionally until dark brown and soft.
- Back to the rice. After nicely absorbed, reduce the heat and stir the rice with adding parmesan cheese and lemon zest. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve the hot, creamy risotto in a plate. Put the meat and mushroom above the risotto and garnish it with parmesan cheese.
3. Brown Rice Amazake
Brown rice amazake is an amazake (sweet sake) made from combining brown rice and koji (Aspergillus Oryzae) by fermenting it. Amazake is a low-calorie drink that contains an antioxidant ingredients. This drink is popular among women because of its health and beauty effect.
Amazake is delicious to use as sweeteners substitute on smoothies. You can drink it regularly for healthy diet, too.
Check our recipe to make Brown Rice Amazake in this article!
Useful Brown Rice Q&A
- Brown rice vs white rice: which one is healthier?
- In overall aspects, brown rice is considered healthier than white rice.
Brown rice has the bran and germ part of the grain, which is the source of its nutrition. Meanwhile, white rice is milled and polished without the bran and germ part.
- How many calories are in a cup of brown rice?
- Every 1 cup of short-grain cooked brown rice has 199 calories, with 46 grams carbs, 1 gram fat, and 3 grams protein.
- How many cups of brown rice I can eat every day?
- Brown rice certainly has potential nutrients for our health. But let's consume brown rice moderately, not every day. Please vary your carb intake with brown rice in your well-balanced diet.
- How to cook brown rice?
- We recommend two methods to cook brown rice. First is Cook Brown Rice with Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker, this method offers less time and more easy to handle. Second method is to Cook Brown Rice with Donabe. This method is a well-known method in Japan when you could enjoy the tender brown rice’s taste together with donabe (earthen pot)
- How long to cook brown rice?
- Depends on the amount of rice and the appliances to cook brown rice, it may take up to 1 hour or more to completely cook brown rice.
- I always ended up cooking brown rice with a hard texture. Are there any tips to make it chewier and tenderer?
- ● If you are using the older brown rice, add more water to cook it.
- ● Try soaking the brown rice with clean water for 6 hours in summer and 8 hours in winter before cooking to make it easier to absorb moisture, reduce the arsenic, phytic acid, and abscisic acid content.
- ● Try cook your brown rice using Donabe. This method includes adding water twice, so it could make the rice more tender. Click here to learn about Cook Brown Rice with Donabe.
- How long does brown rice last?
- It depends whether the brown rice is uncooked or cooked. Please follow the brown rice’s storage method below to make your rice last longer.
● Uncooked Brown Rice
6 months……………………………store in cool place
10 months…………………………store in refrigerator
● Cooked Brown Rice (cover in airtight container)
4 days………………………..store in refrigerator
5 months……………………store in freezer
- How do you know when brown rice has gone bad?
- Please pay attention to its form, smell and texture. If you notice unpleasant smell from either uncooked or cooked brown rice, please discard it immediately. Spoiled cooked brown rice will have hard and dry texture. Mold, insects, and discolorations are the signs when the uncooked brown rice has gone bad.
Recommended Products for Brown Rice
Brown rice contains more nutrition than white because only the outermost part is removed. In addition, eating pesticide-free brown rice can improve your health even further because they are cultivated with care.
Please try to put the warmth of pesticide-free brown rice in your dining table by all means!
- Pesticide-Free "Sasanishiki" Brown Rice 1 Kg
- The Sasanishiki Brown Rice is a small-grained characterized with moderate stickiness and mild texture. The brown rice was cultivated in Akita Prefecture’s Yuri Honjo City without any pesticides, chemical fertilizers, fungicides, and post-harvest pesticides (organic cultivation) which is safe to be consumed by children and pregnant woman.
- Rice Variety: Sasanishiki
Place of Origin: Akita Prefecture, Japan
- Click here for product's page
- Ogata Health Farm's "Hinohikari" Organic Brown Rice 900g
- The organic small-grain brown rice cultivated in organic cultivation in the land of Kamimashiki District in Kumamoto Prefecture. This rice is the perfect match for people with atopy or rice allergy. Every grain contains high energy and nutrition.
- Rice Variety: Hinohikari
Place of Origin: Kumamoto Prefecture
- Click here for product's page