I recently spoke to a group of vegans, vegetarians and those who want to eat more vegetarian food at Osmosis Day Spa and Sanctuary. I had a great time and got such wonderful questions. One of them was, “Why should I cook my rice (or maybe anything else) in a pressure cooker when I already know how to cook it on the stove top and time isn’t an issue?”
That question made me think, which I have become accustomed to doing well on my feet. Here’s what my answer was and perhaps it will provide yet another reason to purchase a pressure cooker, if you’ve been on the fence about doing so.
Time is not the only consideration, or reason to use the pressure cooker – it is just one reason. Equally as important for me, being the “green” eco-friendly woman that I am, is the energy savings resulting from using a pressure cooker versus cooking on the stove top. Brown rice takes just 22 minutes at pressure. Depending upon how much rice you are cooking at once, and let’s figure that it’s 2 cups so that you’ll have some leftover, it will take about 5 minutes to get the cooker to pressure at high heat and then 22 minutes at lower heat. And about 10 minutes with no heat at all while the pressure drops.If you figure that no matter how you cook your rice you need to boil it first, we can subtract out the initial 5 minutes which might actually take longer on the stove top since you need more liquid than in the pressure cooker. When cooking the rice you have a 50% energy savings.
Different types of brown rice require different cooking times. For instance Lotus Foods brown jasmine rice takes 35 minutes on the stove top so requires only 18 minutes at high in the pressure cooker. I recently taught Lotus Foods co-owner Caryl Levine how to cook that rice in her unused pressure cooker. We used 2 cups of the rice, 1/2 cup red (whole, not split) lentils, a few cloves of garlic and a generous tablespoon of ginger and it made an incredible pot of rice and lentils, which makes cooking rice in the pressure cooker even better than stove top cooking since it’s easy to mix them up.
I use my “magic” formula of adding less liquid for each cup of rice and then add an equal amount of liquid as the lentils so that they’ll rehydrate well. Caryl was impressed, and was thrilled that the dish turned out
so well. What an aromatic and tasty rice that is.
Pressure Cooker Brown Rice and Lentils Recipe
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1 teaspoon olive or other oil (optional)
1 tablespoon finely minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups Lotus Foods jasmine rice
1/2 cup whole red, French green or black beluga lentils
2 3/4 cups liquid (broth or water)
salt or tamari, to taste
Heat the pressure cooker over medium heat. Add the oil, if using, and when it’s hot, add the ginger. Saute for 1 minute and then add the garlic and stir. Add the rice and stir once. Add the lentils and liquid. Lock the lid on the pressure cooker and bring to high pressure over high heat for 18 minutes. Lower the heat just enough to maintain high pressure. When the time is up, remove the cooker from the heat and let the pressure come down. Remove the lid, carefully tilting it away from you. Taste and add salt or tamari, if desired.
Moreover, if you add any seasonings, herbs or spices, your rice tastes better than it does on the stove top because the pressure in the cooker infuses flavor into your food.
So to answer this question about cooking rice in the pressure cooker, why wouldn’t I do it?
For that I have no answer, while on my feet or not.
I’d love to hear what you think about pressure cooked brown rice. Or cooking brown rice at all.