I always cook brown rice and I never even have any white rice on hand. So I need to adapt many rice recipes because, for some reason I don’t understand, white rice is always the default. In any culture. Brown rice needs more water and time to cook than white rice. Conventional wisdom is that you need a water-to-brown-rice ratio of 2.5 to 1, and twice as long to cook (i.e. 45 minutes). Actually, in my experience it really needs more like 2.7 to 1, and 50 minutes. This is not an issue when it’s just plain rice.
But I wondered about dishes that incorporate other things to be cooked with the rice-- e.g. biryani, jambalaya, khicari, mujaddarah, paella, that sort of thing. Basically, vegetables or lentils (I’m vegetarian so the meat ingredients don’t enter into it for me). These recipes are planned for the cooking time of the other ingredients to match up with the cooking time of the rice, since they all go into the same pot at the same time. The problem is to avoid overcooking the other things in the longer time it takes for the brown rice to be done. But you want to cook them together so that the rice absorbs the flavor.
Yesterday I made vegetarian jambalaya, more or less based on Emeril’s recipe. He replaces the meat and seafood with lots of vegetables. But of course he uses white rice. I didn’t want to overcook the vegetables. So here’s what I did. First of all, I cooked all the brown rice with half as much vegetable stock as usual, and all the liquid was absorbed in half the usual time. So it was halfway cooked. The grains all swelled up, but were still crunchy. Then after sautéing the vegetables, when I tossed in the rice, I added the other half of the stock. The rice finished cooking that way, and the vegetables were done to perfection. Success!