Friday, December 7, 2012

K's Kitchen - cooking rice in an earthenware pot

Japanese people have a reputation for being very picky about rice. I did not understand this before, but after coming back to Japan, I really think Japanese rice is delicious.

Because Japanese rice is so delicious, it is important to cook it properly. Most people believe that cooking rice in an earthenware pot is the most delicious way, but it is also considered time consuming. If I use a rice cooker, I could just throw in some washed rice and press a button, which is very convenient. Most Japanese rice cookers are created in order to mimic the effects of using an earthenware pot.

However, my rice cooker is in my luggage which has been sent to Indonesia. I could get a cheap rice cooker, but they do not cook delicious rice.  I tried my hand at cooking rice in an earthenware pot, and it was super easy!


Adapted from this recipe on cookpad.com

Note:
- these instructions are for cooking rice in an earthenware pot.  Please use a different method if you are using a metal or other pot.
- there are a million methods on how to cook rice in an earthenware pot. I just picked the easiest one.


Ingredients:
- 2 "go" of rice ("Go" is a Japanese measuring unit, often translated to "cups" for sake, rice, and other traditional foods. One go is 180ml)
- 400ml water. If you are using old rice, increase this amount slightly.

Instructions:
1. Wash rice. Japanese people are even picky about how to wash rice!
This Youtube video is pretty easy to understand. The key is that you need to be quick!

2. Drain rice, then put it in the pot with 400ml water.
3. Let the rice soak for 30 min to 1 hour. This depends on your climate.  The colder it is, the longer your rice should soak.
4. Cover and heat the pot on high until bubbles form at the edge of the lid
5. Immediately reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer for 8 min. Do not open the lid even if the pot boils over!
6. After 8 minutes, turn off the heat, and wait 15 min. Do not open the pot.
7. Once the 15 minutes is over, use a paddle to mix the cooked rice lightly, incorporating air.

The most important parts are to not open the lid no matter what happens, and to wait 15 min at the end. Because the pot is earthenware, it will continue to stay warm even after the heat is turned off. This very low warming is important to make light, fluffy rice, which is cooked through.

This is really delicious rice!

xoxo, K

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