Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Make Japanese rice at home

Japanese rice is essential to Japanese cooking. It's used in dishes or served as a side, or at the end of a meal.

Most households in Japan use rice cookers because they're convenient and easy to use. For those who don't own a rice cooker, you can use a pot and still yield good results. It may not be as easy as a rice cooker but it's possible to create good, fluffy Japanese rice with just a pot, water and a basic stove top.

Some extra work is required and the cooking process is slightly different:

This will make about 3 cups of Japanese rice.

Rinse 1 1/2 cups of rice, swish it around with your fingers in circular motion until the water becomes really cloudy, changing the water until it runs almost clear. This removes the starch of the grains which, if left unrinsed, could end up sticky and slimy.

Drain with a strainer and leave it for about 15 minutes (in the strainer) to absorb some water.

In a medium size pot or pan (about 2.5 qt/ 2/4 liter) add the rice and 1 1/2 cups of water, and leave another 15 minutes. Tightly cover the pot or pan and bring to a boil (do not lift the lid!)

Cook on high for about 7 minutes. It's important to leave it alone, do not stir! The rice will bubble and steam, that's the way you want it. Lower the heat and cook for another 8-10 minutes. This slowly cooks the center of the rice. Crank up the heat again for about 10 seconds to evaporate what water is left.

Turn off the heat and let sit for about 10 minutes to finish the cooking process.

With a wooden or plastic spatula, fold the rice in big chunks from the bottom (do not stir or knead).

Japanese rice can be frozen in individual sized Tupperware and reheated to eat with pickles or spicy tuna, etc.. You can even make onigiri (rice balls) and freeze them for later. It's a great time saving, pre-made food to have around!

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