I don’t think this is an incredibly profound suggestion, but you may nonethless find this useful: try mixing 50/50 brown jasmine rice and white jasmine rice. You get the fluffy texture of white rice and the nutty flavour of brown rice. I don’t know enough about the health benefits to promise you anything; all I can say is that it tastes good.
My parents have been mixing their rice this way for years, turning out platefuls of comfortingly mushy brown rice. But sometimes when making it for myself I want something that is fluffier and for both the brown and white rice to be perfectly cooked, beautiful, whole grains, something that my parents say is valued in Thai cooking. I wondered why all the tutorials for cooking brown rice I found showed the same type of squashy-looking grains that I grew up with. Kasma Loha-unchit’s very useful article on how to cook brown jasmine rice supplied very straightforward information: you need to soak brown rice beforehand, rather than using more water and more time during the actual cooking.
Kasma steams her rice; I use an electric rice cooker. I don’t doubt that steaming yields better rice but for me there is not that much of a trade-off in quality for the convenience of a rice cooker. This is not mere fecklessness on my part, a corruption of traditional cookery techniques that I perform, in error and ignorance, from my Camden flat: it truly is just a different choice. Pretty much all the Thai families I know use electric rice cookers, including my grand-aunts who live in a tiny country village in Korat. If you eat rice quite regularly and have the counter space I would recommend getting one.
BROWN AND WHITE JASMINE RICE IN A RICE COOKER
For 2 servings to accompany at least 1 main dish. Just scale up or down as you need. Note that I use only rice cooker cups here (180ml total capacity; just over 3/4 US cup)
Serve hot right away or cool and store in the fridge; reheated it won’t be as good (though passable), and is best used to make fried rice.
Be sure to leave enough time for overnight soaking and note that these are just guidelines for what works in my kitchen – you’ll have to experiment with what works for you. Rice can be a bit temperamental.
120ml brown jasmine rice (khao glong, ข้าวกล้อง)
120ml white jasmine rice
280ml cold water
The night before you want to eat, place just the brown jasmine rice in the rice cooker bowl and cover with a good inch or two of lukewarm tap water. Leave to soak for at least 8 hours, or up to 22 hours.
When you’re ready to cook, drain the water from the brown rice, leaving the grains in the bowl. Add the white jasmine rice, then wash all the rice using cold water, actively rubbing the grains with your fingers. Pour away the opaque water and repeat until the water is as clear as possible – I usually do about 3 – 6 rounds of washing. Add about 280ml fresh cold tap water, covering the rice by nearly an inch. Set in your rice cooker and leave to cook (about 15 – 20 minutes). Keep warm or serve immediately.