Delicious Brazilian Rice Is Good Any Time
A staple of my childhood was rice and beans. I’m sometimes asked about traditional Brazilian foods. While the national dish is feijoada, it’s not something most people eat every single day. Rice and beans, however, make an appearance at almost every lunch and dinner.
Brazilian rice is much different than the rice most Canadians experience in Chinese or Japanese dishes, and I figured today I’d teach you how to make it. But first, a quick tidbit about why I eat a lot of rice even though I grew up eating foods that aren’t necessarily Brazilian.
I grew up eating Italian and Lebanese food, according to my ancestral lines, and yet we still had rice and beans at almost every meal to go along with the kibeh, esfihas, and other deliciousness. The Italian meals didn’t always include rice and beans, as spaghetti and other pasta dishes were often eaten on their own. But even with the international dishes that graced my grandmothers’ dinner tables, we still ate the traditional Brazilian rice and other side dishes. A typical meal would consist of rice, beans, and a meat or fish main dish.
Brazilian rice is delicious on its own, but tastes even better mixed with beans and topped with farofa. If you’ve been making rice with a rice cooker or your rice always turns sticky when you’d prefer it not to, here are my tips for making some delicious Brazilian rice.
First, you don’t need to rinse the grains. I’ve read arguments on both sides, and I choose not to rinse my rice. Yes, the nutrients you lose by rinsing are minimal, but rinsing is unnecessary for getting rid of other unwanted trace elements: the high heat and prolonged cooking time will kill those off anyway. Instead, save yourself some time and be sure to have all your ingredients and items ready.
To make awesome Brazilian rice, you’ll need a pot with a tight fitting lid, a fork, a cup measure, and the ingredients listed below. You’ll also need to remember the ratio 2:1. To make rice, use 2 cups of water for every cup of rice you want to cook. Another way to think of it is to use double the amount of water compared to the amount of rice (in case you don’t want to make a full cup). Without further ado, here’s the recipe.
1 tablespoon cooking oil (I use canola)
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Salt to taste
2 cups white long-grain rice (yes, white rice)*
4 cups water
Over medium heat, sauté the onions and garlic in the oil until fragrant. Add the rice and mix well, sautéing for another 1-2 minutes. Add the salt, and mix. Finally, add the water. Scrape any onion or garlic that may have gotten stuck to the side of the pot. And then (and this is the most important part), leave the rice completely alone until all the water evaporates. When it does, take the rice off the heat, close the pot with the tight-fitting lid, and set a timer for 20 minutes. When the timer goes off, take the lid off the pot and fluff with the fork. There! Perfect “arroz soltinho.”
If you want to eat it true Brazilian style, have it with beans made from scratch and some farofa. Stay tuned for recipes for both of those.
Enjoy the recipe! If you make it, let me know!
*In my whole 15 years of life in Brazil, I never saw any of my family or friends cook brown rice. I choose to use whole grain brown rice at home; however, most of my Brazilian family/friends believe this is no longer Brazilian rice once I changed the colour of the grain. So I’ll leave it up to you on how authentic you want to be. This recipe works just as well with brown rice; however, brown rice takes longer to cook, in my experience. I suggest cooking it over a slightly lower temperature, and leaving it to rest for 30 minutes before removing the lid if you choose to go with the brown variety.