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How To Cook Brown Rice – Vegetable Fried Rice and Kimchi Fried Rice Recipes

by Jeanette on November 2, 2010 · 11 Comments
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Kimchi Fried Rice
Kimchi Fried Rice served with bean sprout salad

What you will learn:

  • How to Cook Brown Rice on the Stovetop
  • How to Make Chinese Vegetable Fried Rice
  • How to Make Kimchi Fried Rice

One of the easiest whole grains to introduce into daily meals is brown rice. Brown rice comes in three basic varieties – long grain (such as jasmine and basmati), medium grain, and short grain.

Long grain rice is just that, longer and thinner than the other two rices. Medium grain rice is shorter and plumper, like an arborio rice.  Short grain rice is even more round, and is soft and sticky when cooked.  For everyday cooking, I use either long grain or medium grain brown rice.

Clockwise from left: Jasmine, Basmati and Medium Grain Brown Rice

Some people are intimidated by cooking rice.  Don’t be. Cooking rice is actually really simple once you figure out the correct rice to water ratio and cooking time.  Too little water or not enough cooking time will result in hard rice, and too much water will result in wet rice.  I find that soaking brown rice for at least an hour before cooking helps reduce cooking time and ensures a softer cooked rice.  If you have a rice cooker, cooking rice is mindless, just push a button and wait (you can buy a rice cooker with a brown rice setting). Cooking rice on the stovetop is actually very simple too.

Whether you’re cooking rice in a rice cooker or in a pot on the stove, it’s important to rinse the rice thoroughly before cooking to remove some of the starches. According to Andrea Nguyen, cookbook author and teacher, rinsing rice prior to cooking yields a cleaner tasting rice without clumps. I usually rinse my rice 4-5 times, by filling the pot of rice with water, stirring it around with my hands, draining the water off, and repeating this process.

I try to make extra brown rice at the beginning of the week so I can easily heat some up during the rest of the week. Another delicious way to enjoy brown rice is to make fried rice.  The nice part about using brown rice for fried rice is that the sauces used add color to the rice, so most people won’t even know they’re eating brown rice (my kids didn’t!).

Two fun ways to spice up boring plain rice are Vegetable Fried Rice and Kimchi Fried Rice. Vegetable Fried Rice and Kimchi Fried Rice (“Bokumbap”) are a great way to use up any extra vegetables or kimchi in your refrigerator.  Both recipes include cabbage, an anti-cancer cruciferous vegetable (
kimchi is a Korean fermented cabbage).

How To Cook Brown Rice

Soaking the rice for an hour before cooking ensures a softer rice and shorter cooking time.  Plan on making more so you can make some fried rice or freeze extras.

Cooked Medium Grain Brown Rice

2 cups brown rice
3 1/2  cups water

Soak rice in water to cover for at least 1 hour. Rinse rice with water 4-5 times; drain off water. Place rice and 3 1/2 cups water in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and partially cover.

Partially covering the saucepan keeps the rice from boiling over

Cook 35 minutes, until water is absorbed and rice is soft.  Turn off heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 7 cups cooked rice.


Vegetable Fried Rice

Feel free to substitute any  vegetables you happen to have.  For meat eaters, you can add diced, cooked chicken.

Vegetable Fried Rice
Vegetable Fried Rice
4 cups cooked brown rice
Stir Fry Sauce:
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
1 tablespoon vegetarian oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
¼ teaspoon ground pepper

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or other flavorless oil, divided
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons ginger, finely minced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 carrot, diced into small pieces
1 ½ cups cabbage, diced into small pieces
1 cup frozen peas

Loosen rice by running your fingers through it.

Use your fingers to break up any clumps
Mix together Stir Fry Sauce ingredients.  Set aside.

Mix Stir Fry sauce together before cooking


Heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat in a large skillet.  Add beaten eggs and stir, cooking until done.

Stir fry eggs until just done

Use spatula to break egg into pieces. Remove and set aside.

Use spatula to break egg into bite-size pieces
Add remaining tablespoon of oil to skillet.  Add ginger, garlic and scallions.  Stir until fragrant, about 15 seconds.  Add carrots, cabbage and 1 tablespoon of water.  Toss well, cover and cook another 2-3 minutes.  Carrots should be cooked but slightly firm.  Uncover, and add brown rice and stir fry sauce; toss until mixed thoroughly with vegetables.  Cook until rice is heated through, about 2-3 minutes.

Stir fry vegetables and rice until hot

Add frozen peas and toss until peas are just done, about 2 minutes.

Note:To make vegetarian fried rice, omit the eggs.

Kimchi Fried Rice

Kimchi is fermented cabbage (like sauerkraut)

1 1/2 tablespoon grapeseed or other flavorless oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups cooked brown rice, grains separated using your fingers
1 cup kimchi, drained and chopped
1 tablespoon Korean red pepper paste (gochujang)
2 scallions, minced
2 teaspoons sesame oil
toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Heat oil in a large skillet.  Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 15 seconds.  Add rice, kimchi and red pepper paste.  Toss well, cooking until rice is warmed through.  Add scallions and toss again. Drizzle sesame oil on top. Serve, sprinkled with sesame seeds.

More Brown Rice Recipes:

gluten free girl and the chef’s Brown Rice with Coconut Milk
Dani Spies’ Quick Veggie Brown Rice
Home Cooking Rocks’ Sambal Fried Rice (substitute brown rice)
Bethenny Frankel’s Healthy Brown Rice Breakfast

Anticancer Ingredients: Brown Rice, Cabbage, Carrots, Garlic, Scallions
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  1. I just stumbled on this very interesting/inspiring post. You got me salivating.

  2. I make rice on the stovetop and you are absolutely right about how easy the process is once you get the water and cook times down depending on the amount rice being cooked. Both variations of the fried rice look delicious!

  3. Thank you for feedback Chioma, you have some interesting information your blog as well.

  4. Thanks Pretend Chef, I actually use a rice cooker so it took a couple of tries to get the water and timing combination down. The good news is that I had lots of brown rice to play with for these fried rice recipes.

  5. I never soak rice before cooking, and my rice always is crunchy cause cook times are longer then I budget for. I am going to try soaking and make your veggie fried rice. Looks delish!
    – Angie

  6. Hi Angie, soaking definitely helps. I tried it without soaking and found the rice too hard. If you don't pre-soak, you probably need to use more water and cook for a longer period of time.

  7. Looking good thanks for share.

  8. Thanks, I will have to try one of the Indian recipes using brown basmati rice

  9. Very instructive, and that kimchi fried rice looks and sounds fantastic!

  10. Thanks Winnie, I'm glad you found this helpful. Hope you have a chance to try the kimchi fried rice.

  11. I had an old $10 rice cooker which I gave away when I moved. After moving, I had to start cooking my rice on the stove top and I HATED it. I could never get the timing or temperature or water ratio correct! So I finally splurge on a Zojirushi rice cooker and have never looked back. I love my rice cooker!!

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