Authentic Brazilian rice requires you to brown the grains of rice at some point during the cooking process. The most traditional Brazilian rice is flavored with onions and garlic, but common variations of the recipe may include other ingredients like coconut milk and brown sugar or broccoli.
Traditional Brazilian Rice
Makes 4 servings
1 cup (250 ml) uncooked long-grain white rice
1 small onion, minced or chopped
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 Tbsp (22.5 ml) vegetable oil
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
2 cups (500 ml) hot water
Brazilian Coconut Rice
Makes 4 servings
1 cup (250 ml) uncooked short or long grain white rice
1 Tbsp (15 ml) butter
2 cups (500 ml) coconut milk
1 Tbsp (15 ml) brown sugar
1/4 tsp (1.25 ml) salt
Brazilian Broccoli Rice
Makes 4 servings
3 cups (750 ml) cooked long grain white rice
1 Tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, minced
1 medium bunch broccoli, chopped
1/4 tsp (1.25 ml) salt
Before You Begin: Wash the Uncooked Rice
Place the rice in a fine mesh colander. Pour the rice into a colander with fine mesh holes. Gently shift the colander so that the rice is evenly spread throughout.
The holes of the colander must be very small. For this reason, a mesh colander is better than a plastic one, since mesh colanders are often available with very fine holes.
It is not recommended that you use cheesecloth since the grains of rice will likely stick to the cloth.
Note that this part of the process only applies to versions of the recipe that use uncooked rice. If you are using rice that has already been cooked, the cooked rice does not need to be washed.
Rinse the rice thoroughly. Rinse the rice under running tap water. Continue rinsing until the water dripping out from the bottom of the colander runs clear.
You must wait until the water runs clear. Only then can you be certain that the rice is thoroughly cleaned.
Shift the rice gently in its colander or use your hands to gently stir it as it rinses. Doing so will help clean the rice quicker and more thoroughly.
Let the rice dry. Set the colander of rice aside and let the excess water drip out naturally. Wait until the rice air dries before you use it for the dish.
Do not attempt to dry the rice with paper towels or cloth towels.
The rice must be thoroughly dry before you add it to the pan in any of these recipes.
Method One: Traditional Brazilian Rice
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Pour the oil into a large saucepan and set it on your stove over medium heat.
Let the oil heat up for 30 to 60 seconds before continuing to the next step. It should look glossy and should easily glide around the bottom of the pan when the pan is tilted. Do not let the oil begin to smoke, however.
Add the onion. Stir the onion into the hot oil and cook it alone, stirring frequently, for about 1 minute.
The onion should start to become fragrant and take on a translucent appearance, but it should not yet begin to brown.
Add the garlic. Stir the garlic into the onion and cook both, stirring frequently, until the garlic turns golden brown.
This should only take 2 or 3 minutes. The mixture should be fragrant and lightly toasted, but not quite browned.
Cook the onions and garlic carefully. If they start to burn, this burnt flavor will also taint the rice and make the dish less appetizing.
Stir in the rice and salt. Add the rice and the salt to the saucepan. Stir well to distribute the onion and garlic evenly.
Basmati and jasmine rice are recommended, but any long-grain white rice should be fine.
Let the rice brown. Stir the contents of the pan until the rice starts to take on a lightly toasted appearance.
As you toast the rice, you will need to stir it frequently to ensure that none of the grains stick to the bottom of the pan.
Pour in the hot water. Add the hot water to the saucepan. Stir well, making sure that all of the rice is submerged.
For best results, use boiling water prepared in a saucepan, tea kettle, or microwave. Hot tap water will also work, but make sure that it is as hot as possible before adding it to the pan.
After adding it to the pan, let the water reach a boil before continuing to the next step.
Simmer until done. Cover the saucepan with its lid and reduce the heat to low. Let the mixture simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until all of the water has been absorbed.
If the water evaporates before the rice is tender, you can add more water to the pan and continue cooking it. Only add 1/4 cup (60 ml) of additional water at a time, though, to prevent the mixture from getting too soupy.
Serve hot. The Brazilian rice is now finished and ready to enjoy.
Method Two: Brazilian Coconut Rice
Melt the butter. Add the butter to a large skillet. Set it on the stove over medium heat and let the butter melt completely.
To minimize the number of dishes you need to dirty, use a large skillet with deep sides and a lid or a large, wide saucepan with a lid. If you start the process with this sort of pan, you should not need to switch to a different pan later on.
The butter should be allowed to melt but should not start to smoke or burn.
Toast the rice. Add the rice to the melted butter. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
Frequent, nearly continuous stirring is the only way to prevent the uncooked grains of rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan during this step.
When finished, the grains should have spots that look lightly toasted. Do not allow the grains to burn or brown too deeply.
Any type of white rice should work for this recipe. Brown rice could also be used, but white rice is the most traditional.
Add the remaining ingredients. Pour the coconut milk, brown sugar, and salt into the pan. Stir well to combine.
Make sure that the rice is completely submerged beneath the coconut milk
Allow the liquid to reach a full boil inside the pan before continuing to the next step.
If your skillet is too shallow, transfer the toasted rice to a deep saucepan and add the other ingredients to that.
Cover and let simmer until done. Turn the heat down to low and place the lid on the pan. Allow the rice to simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the liquid has been completely absorbed.
The rice should also be fairly tender when done. If it is not tender after the liquid has been absorbed, add another 1/4 cup (60 ml) of coconut milk or water to help the rice cook.
You may wish to stir the rice every few minutes during this process to prevent the grains from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Serve hot. At this point, the Brazilian coconut rice should be fully cooked and ready to enjoy.
Method Three: Brazilian Broccoli Rice
Heat the oil. Pour the oil into a large saucepan and heat it on the stove over a medium setting.
Wait 30 seconds, or until the oil becomes glossy and thin enough to coat the bottom of the pan.
Saute the onion and garlic. Add the onion and garlic to the hot oil. Cook the two ingredients for about 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently. The garlic and onion should be fragrant and soft, but they should not begin to brown.
Keep a close eye on the two ingredients as you cook them. If they burn, the burnt flavor will likely get into the flavor of the rice and may ruin it.
Add the broccoli. Place the chopped broccoli in the pan with the onion and garlic. Stir the ingredients together until evenly distributed. Only use the crowns or heads of the broccoli. Do not use stems for this recipe.
For best results, make sure that the broccoli is chopped into very fine pieces. Doing so will help keep the final cook time lower.
Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Cover the pan and let the vegetables “sweat” for about 3 minutes.
In essence, you are allowing the vegetables to steam cook in their own moisture during this step. This will only be effective if all of the vegetables have been previously chopped or minced into very fine pieces, though.
The broccoli must be tender when this step is finished. If the broccoli does not feel tender after 3 minutes, cover the pan again and let it cook longer.
Add the rice. Pour the hot, cooked rice into the pan with the vegetables and stir well to combine. Cook the rice for a minute or two, allowing it to deepen in color.
Unlike other Brazilian rice recipes, note that the rice in this recipe must be previously cooked before you add it to the pan.
Any long grain white rice is suitable for this recipe.
For best results, use freshly cooked rice that is still fairly hot.
Season with salt. Sprinkle the contents of the pan with salt. Mix the salt in, then let the contents of the pan warm thoroughly.
Serve hot. Once everything is steaming hot, the rice should be ready to serve and should be enjoyed immediately for the best flavor.
Things You’ll Need
Fine mesh colander
Large saucepan with lid
Heat-resistant mixing spoon or spatula
Sources and Citations
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