Rice

How to cook perfect Japanese rice using a rice cooker

I know that most western people think plain white rice is boring, but we Japanese absolutely love it. Whether you want to serve with a main course, make sushi rolls or a Japanese style lunch box, cooking perfect white rice is crucial. If you cook rice quite regularly, investing in a rice cooker is a good idea, as it guarantees to cook perfect rice every time. After pressing a switch, you can forget about it until it’s done, plus you don’t have to spend a fortune on it – a simple rice cooker is inexpensive and works just fine.

Ingredients for 6 small portions

270g Sushi rice

300ml water

Method

  1. Wash the rice in a bowl. You can use the inner bowl of a rice cooker; just add water in a bowl and give a few stirs with your hand.
  2. Pour out the milky water; gently tilt the bowl and slowly pour the water out. You can use a sieve to drain the water instead.
  3. Repeat the washing and draining 5 times, then transfer to a sieve to drain.
  4. Add the washed rice and water in the inner bowl of a rice cooker. Give it a stir and start cooking.
  5. After the cooking process has finished, allow cooked rice to steam for 10-15minutes, and then serve immediately.
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Onigiri; Japanese rice balls with tuna, chive and ginger

Onigiri, also known as a rice ball, is made of rice often wrapped in a nori seaweed sheet. Because of its portability, onigiri is a popular choice for lunch or a snack, just like a sandwich.

Although you can buy them in shops throughout Japan, onigiri is associated with the nostalgic conception of handmade with love, therefore it’s still regarded as the soul food of Japan.

Use sushi rice or Japanese rice, as they are sticky and stay moist even when cooled down, so the onigiri keeps its shape and remains tasty.

Ingredients for 6 Onigiri (approx. 100g each)

270g Sushi rice

½ tsp salt

300ml water

95g tin of tuna in oil (after squeeze out excess oil from the tuna)

30g chives (finely chopped)

10g ginger (grated)

6 sheets of nori seaweed (cut large sheet to the size that can just wrap the rice ball)

Method

1. Wash the rice in a bowl. You can use the inner bowl of a rice cooker.

*Just add water in a bowl and give a few stirs with your hand.

2. Pour out the milky water.

*Gently tilt the bowl and slowly pour the water out. You can use a sieve to drain the water instead.

3. Repeat the washing and draining 5 times, then transfer to a sieve to drain.

4. Add the washed rice, water and salt in the inner bowl of a rice cooker. Give it a stir and start cooking.

5. After the cooking process has finished, allow cooked rice to steam for 10-15minutes. Add the tuna, ginger and chive, and then mix well. Let the rice cool slightly.

6. Divide the rice, each portion weighing 100g. Form them into a ball shape using both your palms, pressing gently and lightly.

*For a triangular shape, use your palms as a mould by bending your finger from your knuckles on your right hand, and straighten your left hand. Rotate the rice a few times while pressing.

7. Wrap the rice ball with a sheet of nori seaweed.