You can learn how to cook Japanese rice to tempt your family and friends with delicious dishes. The Japanese have a special way of cooking rice using an absorption method.
You can learn the secrets and art of cooking Japanese rice. Since rice is a Japanese staple, the majority of Japanese households have an electric rice cooker to ensure consistent results.
Most Japanese people have a specific grain of rice they prefer. The idea is to cook the best possible rice. Using high-quality rice is important for achieving sensational results.
How to Cook Rice in a Rice Cooker
The most important step in cooking Japanese rice is polishing. Without polishing, you will end up with a sticky and distasteful mess. To begin, you will need:
- A rice cooker
- Short grain white rice
- Measuring cup
Polishing Your Rice Grains
Measure the rice you need for your meal, then pour it into your rice cooker’s metal bowl. Next, pour enough water over your rice until it is completely covered. Your rice should be approximately one inch below the water’s surface.
For Japanese rice, you need to use cold water. Your water will turn a milky white. Due to the starch, the water washes off the grains. Grab a handful of rice with your hands, then work it forcibly through your fingers.
Rub the grains together to remove the remaining starch from the grains. Rinse off your rice, then repeat the procedure. Once you have polished your rice vigorously for about 30 seconds, pour out the water. Use fresh cold water to refill your bowl.
Polish your rice four to five more times. Make certain you continue changing your water between each polishing. When your water is clear, pour it out. Congratulations, you have just successfully polished your rice in true Japanese style.
Measuring Your Water
Your rice cooker should have graduation lines showing the amount of water you need. To make one cup of rice, fill your rice cooker to the first line. The second line makes two cups, and the third three.
Close the lid of your rice cooker, then step away for between 20 and 60 minutes. Do not push the start button. At this point in time, you need to be patient and wait. According to the Japanese, this step is important.
While your rice is sitting in the water, it will soften. Although you can proceed in 20 minutes, waiting for the full hour is recommended for the tenderest rice.
How Long to Cook Rice in Rice Cooker?
Once you have completed your waiting period, push the start button on your rice cooker. No two rice cookers are exactly the same, but you should be able to cook one cup of perfect rice in about 25 minutes.
Your cooker may notify you when your rice is done. This is usually done by emitting a beeping sound.
Japanese and American Measurements
American and Japanese cups are not the same size. Japanese cups are approximately 200ml, while American cups are roughly 240ml. Do not use a Japanese rice cooker with an American cup or vice versa.
If your cup and rice cooker do not match, your internal graduations will not be correct. If you purchased your measuring cups or rice cooker in another country, this information is critical.
Light and Fluffy Rice
Your rice will be light and fluffy. Japanese rice is also slightly sticky so you can eat it with chopsticks. Many Japanese dishes are prepared using unsalted, plain rice including fish, Japanese curry, pork cutlets, or Tonkatsu.
If you want to add a little spice to your rice, you have several options including:
- Pour a package of beef curry mix on your rice before serving.
- Add a couple of tablespoons of chopped tomatoes to your water prior to cooking.
- Add a little garam masala, turmeric, or cumin to your water prior to cooking.
What Kind of Rice for Sushi?
Not every type of rice is the same. You need to use the best Japanese rice to make sushi. If you do not use the right type of rice your results will be disappointing. You can purchase sushi rice from your local grocery store.
Sushi rice is usually made from California medium-grain rice or white, short-grain Japanese rice. The bag will say sushi rice. If sushi rice is not available, you can use Calrose rice instead.
Ingredients for Sushi Rice
Sushi rice is not hard to make. All you need are five ingredients, five minutes for prep, and 30 minutes for resting. You will need:
- Three cups of sushi rice
- One-quarter cup of Japanese rice vinegar
- Three cups water
- One teaspoon salt
- Two tablespoons sugar
Making Sushi Rice
Put enough rice for three servings into a medium bowl for mixing, then use cold water for covering your rice. Use your hands to gently swirl the rice. Pour out the water, repeat two to three times, then rinse a couple of times once your water is clear.
Place your rice into a strainer or colander to drain for about an hour. Drain your rice, then put it into your rice cooker. Add three cups of water, put on the cover, then push the start button.
What Happens If a Rice Cooker is Not Available?
You can still make sushi rice without a rice cooker. Heat your water and rice over medium-high heat in a heavy saucepan.
Bring your rice to a boil, turn the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Let your rice rest for 15 minutes after turning off the heat,
Japanese Rice Vinegar
No matter how you are preparing your rice, you need to use Japanese rice vinegar. You can purchase a quality product at a Japanese market and some local grocery stores. Once your rice has finished cooking, spread it gently onto a cookie sheet.
Spread your rice vinegar evenly over your rice. Use a wooden spatula or rice paddle to turn over your rice occasionally. This will ensure your rice is cooling evenly. If you are impatient, every time you turn over your rice, fan it.
Once your rice has reached room temperature, you can make sushi rolls. If you are running short on time, put your rice into a mixing bowl. Use a damp kitchen towel to cover the bowl.
This will ensure your rice remains at the right temperature until you are ready to begin. The Japanese rice vinegar gives your rice a slightly sweet, delicious, and rich taste.
If Japanese rice vinegar is not available, you can use apple cider vinegar as a substitute.
Making The Decision
Learning how to cook Japanese rice opens up new possibilities for delicious meals. Japanese cooking is also healthier, with less fat and carbohydrates than traditional American fare.
You can find numerous types of rice at a Japanese market. Try using several different types to determine which one you like the most. You will discover certain types of rice work better with specific dishes such as sushi than others.
Have fun sharing new tastes and dishes with your family and friends for special occasions and everyday meals.