How to make Japanese Rice – a guide by Just One Cookbook

So you are facing a problem: you either bought or someone gave you Japanese rice and now you need to cook it. How is it different from other types of rice? Do you need more or less water? How thirsty is it? Do you need to wash it? In short – what are all the things I need to know about making Japanese rice? What if I don’t have a rice cooker?

If you were in this situation like I was when I moved to Japan, there are guardian angels who are there to help. Just One Cookbook’s Nami is a great example. This Japanese chef in the US has tonnes of Japanese recipes on her website. More importantly for us right now, she also has a guide on How To Cook Japanese Rice in a Pot on the Stove. It even has a video:

How to Cook Rice (Recipe) 美味しいご飯の作り方(レシピ)
Watch this video on YouTube.

Very convenient! I followed the instructions and the outcome was perfect Japanese rice. It was very easy! I think anyone could have done it. In short, here is what you need to do:

First, wash the rice. Nami first talks about the Golden Ratio for rice to water a couple of times before the instructions but don’t get stuck on this first. You need to wash the rice. Add just enough water to cover the rice, move it around a bit and discard the water quickly. Don’t let it sit or the rice will start absorbing water. Repeat this process a couple of times until the water is no longer cloudy. When the water is clear, you can move to the next phase: soaking.

Now we can use the golden rule, which is 10% to 25% more water than rice. If you are measuring by volume, fill your measuring cup to the desired amount. Put that in a pot with a tight lid and add 110% to 125% water (by volume). Now wait for 30 minutes. Nami explains that this is to rehydrate the rice before we cook it as it has been thoroughly dried for packaging.

Once it has sat for about 30 minutes, turn on the stove and bring the water to a boil. If your lid is tight, you may here it start to rattle a bit, which is how you know it is definitely boiling. Turn the heat down to very low and put a timer on for 12 minutes. If you used the Golden Ratio, 12 minutes should be the perfect amount of time. Go do something fun for 12 minutes (or prepare another dish maybe?).

After the 12-minute timer goes off, turn off the heat and set another timer for 10 minutes. During this time, do not remove the lid. The rice is being steamed and if you open the lid, the steam will escape. It is the steaming process that makes Japanese rice sticky and as Japanese rice should be.

Once this timer has finished, fluff the rice with a rice paddle. If you don’t have one, a wooden spoon will also do (although the rice will also stick to it). This is how mine looked in the end (after fluffing):

Now it is ready to be used in a variety of Japanese dishes. Here are some of my recent examples:

All i can say is おいしい (oishii, delicious)!


Want more food? Check out my interactive Travelling the World map for food from around the world! You can also find more food that I have made following Just One Cookbook and Nami here.

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