Quick note: I have no clue if this post applies to brown rice. Life’s too short to waste time on things that don’t lead to pleasure, which for me has included brown rice.
Why should you wash your rice? The reasons revolve around what washing your rice does: it removes the powdered starches that are a natural by product of the harvesting and packaging of commercially grown rice.
I’m not a nutritionalist-type person, so I can’t speak to the nutrition effects of removing the starch. The culinary effect is that your rice doesn’t stick to itself so much.
Some of the ways you can wash your rice are: fine mesh strainers & washing in the pan.
With the fine mesh strainer, place your rice in the strainer and run under cool water until the water runs clear. Turn the strainer over, over the pot you’ll be cooking your rice in, and using some of the water you’ll cook with, rinse the grains that stick to the strainer into the pot. If you are going to bring your water to a boil before adding your rice, reserve about 1/2 cup of water for this and let the water boil for a minute or so before adding the rice.
Washing in the pan is not going to remove as much starch, and means that you will not be waiting to add your rice until the water boils. Making sure your hands are clean, place your rice in the pan, add cold water to a little over 1/2″ above your rice, and use your hands to swish and swirl the grains around. The first wash is going to very milky white. Use your hands to catch the rice and pour out the water. Repeat until you’re happy with the result. Draining the water off this way means that the rice will still be fairly wet when you add in water, so expect that for each cup of rice you wash in the pan, you won’t be able to drain off between 1/16 and 1/8 cup of water.