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Dr. Gourmet's Food Reviews

Instant Brown Rice

Minute Rice Brown RiceThose of you who follow these review columns know that I am not a fan of convenience foods. I am, however, realistic. Folks buy them and eat them. As part of our busy lives they have a place and we work hard to review them so you know the good and the bad.

That said, I never thought I would be reviewing instant rice. It's just such a horrible product. While wandering through the grocery the other day I came across instant brown rice products. It never really crossed my mind to look for this product before. In the past I would simply go to the rice aisle, choose bags of brown rice and move on. I purchased four boxes of instant rice for testing.

Success Brown RiceThe Minute Rice brand was up first. This was pretty simple. A half cup of rice in a cup of boiling water. Simmer for 5 minutes and let stand for another 5 and that’s it - rice. And pretty good rice at that. Good texture with a nice chewy bite. Not at all grainy or gummy like instant white rice. The flavor was nutty and tasters were shocked. Head to head against brown rice it was not a bad showing.

Interestingly, the house brand (Winn Dixie) was pretty much the exact same thing. I suspect that the folks at Minute Rice make this and if not, the folks who do make the house brand created a perfect replica. The box is (nearly) identical, as are the instructions, and the rice tasted exactly the same.

The Success boil in the bag brown rice was equally good. This was a shocker because their white rice is inedible. The instructions call for boiling water, dropping the bag in and ten minutes later you have rice. In this case almost as good as the Minute Rice. It's a little more gummy but with good flavor.

Uncle Ben's Brown RiceThe last of the four was Uncle Bens. It wasn't quite as good as the others with a texture and flavor that was somewhat processed. The instructions were the same as the Minute rice and the result was that the grains were distinct and not gummy at all. Americans like their rice this way so I understand why they created the product this way. If you are making a transition to brown rice, this is a good place to start. Think of the Uncle Bens as the white-wheat bread of rice. Single, somewhat fluffy grains that aren't too chewy. A bit more like white rice but still with the fiber and nutrients of brown rice.

This was a huge surprise. Instant brown rice! All of them pretty good and all with a lot more fiber than white rice.