Cooking rice the japanese way

Cooking rice the Japanese way

In Japanese cuisine, rice (gohan) is ubiquitous, considered healthy and appears in a variety of forms. It is not surprising that Japan has perfected various ways of preparing it. Find out how to easily whip up the best bowl of rice for any occasion.

In this article you will find valuable details on the following methods to cook the perfect rice:

How to find the perfect rice

Cooking Japanese rice bowls

Japanese round-grain rice, japonica, comes in two varieties: Uruchimai, the grainy one, and Mochigome, the sticky one. Which variation you take depends on what you want to do with it: Sushi, onigiri (rice balls with nori seaweed leaf and delicious filling), chahan (fried rice) or still a simple bowl for the main course? Koshihikari and Sasanishiki are first choice varieties that any connoisseur will recommend to you. This rice is suitable for all dishes, while mochigome can be used to create delicious desserts such as the famous rice cakes and the festive red osekihan with azuki beans.

Whichever variety you choose: Make sure you keep the rice airtight after you buy it and store it in a dark, cool, dry place. So the package keeps for a very long time and the rice remains edible. In terms of taste, the Japonica remains rather in the background: its mild flavor is characteristic of Japanese dishes. Fragrant long-grain varieties, such as jasmine or basmati rice are something exotic in Japanese cuisine: they have a stronger flavor of their own, do not stick to traditional dishes, and are also harder to handle with chopsticks. Also Parboiled rice, a kind of polished rice, does not belong to Japanese cuisine, as it tends to become grainy. Nevertheless, you can cook almost any variety similar to Japanese rice and with the same utensils.

Rice bowl, soup bowl Koten haiiro

Light and fluffy: specialties of Japanese rice cuisine

Today, almost everyone in Japan has a rice cooker, as it can create a quick, healthy and uncomplicated meal. In fact, for Japan, white rice, which balances and enhances the flavor of any dish, is part of everyday life and since this is often hectic, every minute counts. But in good restaurants there is traditionally nothing but handmade cast iron rice pots, which enrich the rice dish with devotion and aroma. In addition, rice prepared on the stove has a special feature: Okoge, as the crispy browned rice is called, which can stick to the bottom of the pot. Although this is usually discarded in our country, it is popular, especially among young Japanese, for its special aroma. As long as it is not burnt, it is no less healthy than white rice. There are even restaurants where you can eat it: There, okoge is steamed again in the iron pot before serving, so it can be easily separated from the bottom of the pot with chopsticks and enjoyed. Try it for yourself!

From Okoge one also likes to make Onigiri and it is served in green tea dipped what the Specialty Ochazuke yields. To do this, you can simply mix a cup of cooked rice with a cup of Japanese green tea, and eat it with ingredients like crushed nori seaweed, grilled salmon, toasted sesame seeds, pickled umeboshi plums and wasabi.

Japanese rice speciality - rice balls

The recipe for the best rice

Before you cook it, be sure to wash the rice first. Here’s how to get rid of excess starch, which gives rice a bitter taste, and avoid a lumpy result. To do this, pour the desired amount of rice into a bowl. You can take half a cup (120g) per serving. To wash, use plenty of cold water, which you pour into a bowl to the rice so that it is completely covered. Swirl the rice carefully and repeat the whole thing about four times with fresh water. This should end up less cloudy, but it won’t be completely clear: starch will continue to ooze out, but you’ve now removed any other unwelcome residue.

After that, it is best to let the rice soak for another half hour. This gives you a more uniform, soft and fluffy result and also saves on cooking time. If you are short of time, this step can be skipped once. But for glutinous rice (mochigome), at least two hours of soaking time is a must. Ideally, leave this type of rice to swell overnight- the longer, the faster the cooking. Let the rice drain well in a colander for at least 5 minutes at the end to maintain the proper rice-to-water ratio when cooking and to give the rice back its stability.

There are three proven methods, How to make loose, soft rice that sticks well- whether with or without a rice stove:

Japanese Cookbook Washoku

Method 1: Steaming the Japanese way

We recommend this method of preparation, which is traditionally Japanese and yet light and fast. First, put the rice in a suitable rice pot, preferably cast-iron. For one cup of Japanese rice, whether uruchimai or mochigome (250g), about 1.2 cups of cold water (300ml) is enough in this process. Salt does not belong in: The rice serves as a balance to other, spicier ingredients and should not interfere with their taste. However, if you want to make rice for sushi, you can also cook a konbu leaf (seaweed used for broth) along with the rice for a richer flavor.

Rice pot Go, Iwachu, cast iron

Long-grain varieties such as basmati rice, on the other hand, need more water: You should, according to the desired firmness, start with the double the amount of water Cook to one part rice, that is, with 1.5 to 2 parts water. If brown rice is involved, the amount increases even to 3 cups of water. Depending on taste, you can also add a pinch of salt, half a teaspoon of oil or butter here. A teaspoon of lemon juice in the cooking water also helps protect the rice grains from sticking and discoloration. Some cooks swear by lightly frying their rice with a little oil before cooking until the grains pop and become translucent. Ingredients such as onions, vegetables and spices give the rice additional special flavor. Especially with Risotto this method is popular, in Japan such a way of preparation, at least for a traditional recipe, would be unthinkable.

Cooking You now cook the rice together with the water once over medium heat and closed lid At. Once the water boils, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting and let the rice simmer until it has completely absorbed the water (10-15 minutes). With basmati rice, for example, it takes more like 20 minutes. ÖIf possible, do not open the lid and do not stir the rice to prevent the steam from escaping and affecting the consistency. A heavy and snug-fitting lid additionally helps to keep the evaporating water in the pot. If you have thoroughly rinsed the starch out of the rice beforehand and at low heat boil, boil and do not foam the water over. Once the rice is cooked, turn off the heat and the rice should be left on it covered for at least 10 more minutes. This step is the steaming that gives the rice its special consistency. It also prevents the still warm rice grains from breaking when touched. Use a rice spatula or wooden spoon to loosen the rice before serving.

Method 2: Preparation in boiling water

If you’re short on time or experience cooking rice, you can turn to these simple method fall back. To do this, boil a large amount of water in the pot and then add the desired portion of rice. Again, use the lowest heat, but leave the lid off and let the rice simmer until it is the right consistency. Since water will remain, drain the rice well in a colander and let it stand covered for another 5 minutes so that it can still absorb the remaining liquid.

The disadvantages of this method are the need to use more water than necessary and therefore the loss of important nutrients such as various minerals that the rice contains. Also be careful not to overcook- that can easily happen here! Any type of rice is suitable for this and you can more easily control the desired degree of rice firmness. The method is not recommended for all-around satisfaction, but it can make a quick and satisfying meal for anyone.

Method 3: Cook in rice stove

The rice stove is mainly adapted to Japanese round grain rice, but it is also well suited for all types of rice. The rice to water ratio here is 200g of water per rice stove cup (about 180g of rice). Additionally, markings on the inside can help you pour in the right amount of water, but note the variable ratio depending on the variety. Be careful not to fill the inner bowl more than the designated marker. Then, at first, you don’t need to do more than close the lid, press the start button, and wait for the rice stove to signal that the rice is done. ÜIt should be left in the rice stove for 25 minutes. Until you turn it off, the stove additionally keeps the rice warm.

Cooking rice remains an art

Cooking rice

Which Method You also choose: The first time rarely succeeds perfect portion of rice. Since every pot, oven and rice variety is different, the cooking process must also be adjusted accordingly and every minute spent cooking is precious. If you accidentally add too much water and the rice becomes too soggy, you can carefully pour off the excess water. Then put the rice pot back on the stove over low heat without the lid and let the rice simmer, stirring occasionally, until the remaining moisture has evaporated and it has the right consistency.

Watery rice can also be dried and loosened in the refrigerator. Such a cooled rice is especially good for frying: For example as Japanese Chahan in a pan with various ingredients such as spring onions, nori, shiitake mushrooms, tofu, fried beef and egg. In Japan, no food is wasted:Leftover, cooled rice keeps well in the freezer.

As simple as cooking rice seems- it takes attention to detail for the dish to come out of the pot fluffy, soft, slightly sticky and delicious. Rely on your taste and flair, and you’ll soon be conjuring up a wonderful bowl of rice to accompany any meal.

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