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Rice

Rice

uncooked brown rice

Most glutenous short grain Japanese rice sold in the United States are made in California. Only small amount of premium brand Japanese rice are imported from Japan. Korean and Chinese grocery stores also carry short grain rice, made in California.

To eat rice with Japanese food, buy unscented short grain rice. Chinese and Korean brand rice works, but jasmine rice is scented and doesn’t go well with Japanese food. Also long grain rice is too fluffy to eat with chop sticks.

Rice cooked in a heavy pot, such as a donabe is delicious, and that’s how Japanese people used to prepare rice for thousands of years. But electric rice cookers do wonderful job, and most of the Japanese households have one. They have timers and several modes to cook different types of rice, and the best of all you will not fail.

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Wash rice before cooking to remove arsenic.

The Japanese wash white rice thoroughly, changing water 3~5 times to remove bran residue from the grains, until the rinsing water comes out clean. Surface of the thoroughly washed rice is smooth, shiny and glutenous, and retains the flavor even after it gets cold.

Conventional wisdom in the U.S. told us that rice shouldn’t be wash in order to retain nutritious value. But the recent ConsumerReports research shows that rinsing rice can also remove about 30 percent of harmful inorganic arsenic. It’s better to get vitamins from other food source.

White rice cooks in 40 minutes or so, and brown rice takes about 2 hours. Rice should absorb water 30 minutes or so before cooking, but this process is already built in if you use a good electric rice cooker.

wrapped rice

Rice wrapped and frozen. Microwave a couple of minutes before eating.

I usually eat brown rice, but sometimes I don’t have 2 hours+ cooking time before meal. So every time I cook rice, I make some extra.

Wrap one portion of cooked rice each with plastic wrap and freeze them. When I am in a hurry, the frozen rice comes in handy. First, microwave wrapped rice about 30 seconds to 1 minute, long enough to release the wrap sticking around the rice tightly, then further microwave a couple more minutes directly in a bowl without the plastic wrap. In this way, you can minimize the risk of eating the melted plastic wrap.

It is difficult to find Japanese rice at regular grocery stores or health food stores. They may have “Sushi Rice”, but they are grossly overpriced for frequent consumption. Buy unflavored short grain rice at Japanese grocery stores, Korean or Chinese grocery stores. If you rather want your rice to be delivered, online order is a good idea. Here are some rice that goes well with Japanese food;

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