What’s your favorite side dish? Mine is arroz Brasileiro, you know, Brazilian rice! I know I’m biased in this subject, but Brazilian rice is fluffy, and full of garlicky flavor. What’s not to love? It’s seriously the perfect side to just about any dish!
What is Brazilian Rice?
Brazilian rice is rice that’s sautéed in aromatics, so either garlic or onions, or BOTH! Generally, regardless of type, most rice used as a side dish in Brazilian cuisine is prepared this way. Sauté a couple cloves of minced garlic, or your bff Brazilian Sofrito, in a little oil, pearl whatever arroz we decided to go with, season with salt, cover with water, let it cook and then boom – done! Easy huh? I’m telling you, this is one of my favorite rice recipes, and it’s also the simplest.
White Rice in Brazilian Cuisine
White rice, or how we call it, arroz branco, is a big deal in Brazilian cuisine, so much so that Brazil is one of its top consumer in the world. A lot of Brazilian traditional dishes uses white rice as part of the dish itself or as a side dish. White rice shines bright at the side dish table of most Brazilian bbq parties, but the most common, most known, most Brazilian dish there is is arroz e feijão, Brazilian rice and beans.
A common alternative to white rice in Brazil is parboiled rice. I know people who prefer it because they find it easier to cook. I’m personally not really a fan. But if that’s your thing, you can still cook it the Brazilian way.
Make it, and take a picture of your Brazilian rice and share with me on Instagram by tagging me or using #cookingwithaline I love to see what you are making!
Brazilian White Rice Recipe
Here’s how to make Brazilian rice:
First, wash the white rice using a strainer until the water runs clear, then let it draining the water for a about 10 mins.
Meanwhile, heat up the oil, throw the minced garlic in there. Enjoy that garlic smell!
Then, add the rice, season with salt and stir a little bit. This part of the process is called ‘pearling.’ See, how the rice is starting to look a bit “glassy” and shiny, with a little spec of white in the middle? (not in the picture, but I hope yours looks like I just described… I mean, I tried to capture it…)
Add the liquid (*check below for detailed notes!!) and bring to a quick boil
Reduce to a simmer…
Cover and let it cook until all water has been absorbed… No peaking!!!
Ok… now that it looks like the water has been absorbed you can look. But fast because you want to keep the steam in… Hurry!!! Check to see if the water is gone… go, go, go!
K, water gone! Now cover again, turn off the heat and let the pot sit covered for another ~10 mins… Just doin’ it’s thang…
Uncover and give it a few mins to breathe fresh air (now we want the steam to go away… bye steam! You can go now… thanks for the help!)
Fluff with a fork.
Now, take a moment to congratulate yourself… you just made perfect arroz. Congrats!!
Here are the brands I recommend for white rice:
- Tio João – this is a Brazilian rice brand that I simple live by. I don’t personally know a single Brazilian person who doesn’t prefer this brand of white rice over any other. You can find it at any Brazilian market in your area (in LA this is where I go), or at Amazon
- Lundberg – When I don’t have Tio João, this is what I get. You can find this pretty much anywhere, particularly at Whole Foods or at Amazon
Traditional Brazilian Rice
- 1 cup of uncooked rice
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 Tbsp of oil canola, vegetable or olive oil
- Salt to taste ½ tsp to a tsp per cup of rice
- approx 2 cups of cooking liquid *see note below water, or stock
- Wash the rice using a strainer until the water runs clear, then let it drain for a few mins
- In a medium sauce pan, heat up the oil
- Add the garlic and cook until fragrant and light gold
- Add the rice, season with the salt and stir
- Pearl the rice stirring (cook it until the outer part is “translucent”, and the center has a white dot)
- Add the liquid* and bring to a boil
- Reduce to a simmer, cover and let it cook until all water has been absorbed (try not to peak too often – we don’t want to lose steam that’s precious for the next step!)
- Turn off the heat and let the rice pot sit covered for another ~10 mins – steam
- Fluff with a fork, and serve
Not all rice needs to be rinsed before cooking. Rinsing the rice before you cook it, will wash off of the starch that gives it that sticky texture after its cooked. Some rice types have more starch than others, and sometimes, you do want wetter, starchier, creamier rice, like say for a risotto, while at other times you want a firmer, fluffier rice. My general recommendation is, go ahead and rinse medium to long grain white rice as it helps prevent ‘sticking’, and leave all other rice as is.
Now, the rice:liquid ratio and the cooking times are directly related. When we need more liquid for a particular type of rice, we will also need more time to cook it.
First things first, the amount of liquid you use will also have an influence on whether your rice will get sticky or soggy. Most white rice ratio is about 2:1, meaning for each 1 cup of dry rice, you need about 2 cups of cooking liquid (water or stock). However, depending on the brand (and type) of rice you are working with, (or again whether you are using long grain or short grain), this 2:1 ratio can yield different results. I recommend taking a quick look at the package instructions to see their recommended liquid amounts and cooking times for the type of rice you are about to cook. Then, tweak it from there. When all the water has been absorbed, do a taste test to make sure the rice is cooked. If if is great! If the rice is firm but it still has a little bite, or is feeling a little bit underdone, also great, actually.
Turn off the heat and let the rice sit covered - the steam and residual heat should help the rice cook through without overcooking it. If the rice is still too underdone, add about a couple of tablespoons of water, cover and repeat the process. Take good notes on your own discoveries (especially how much water you ended up using for the type of rice you're cooking). This is important because even the pot you choose to cook your rice, how well it is covered while you are cooking and how well you manage the heat, matters for the final result. When you are finished testing, maintain that same environment to reproduce the same results (proper ratio, attention to temp, similar pot, same brand of rice). Any questions, let me know! Bom Apetite!