How to cook Asian short grain rice



Asian short grain rice has more amylopectin in the grains and releases lots of starch during cooking. After cooked, even though it doesn't have gluten, it is sticky and creamy.

Here is description how to cook both white and brown short grain Asian rice. Of course, eating brown rice is much better because it retains the husk and bran, which are primary deposit of vitamins, minerals, and fibers in a seed. Also brown rice can get rid of heavy metal such as mercury which is present in pesticides. So even though you don't eat organic brown rice, plain brown rice is superior then white rice.

This pages is instruction for how to cook rice in Oriental way in a regular pot. If you don't want to bother with sitting around to cook rice, you should buy a good rice cooker. I recommend Aroma or Zojirush Rice Cooker.

So if you are cooking rice in these rice cookers or pressure cookers, the instruction is not same. Usually rice cookers and pressure cookers have instruction that comes with the device which tells the user how to cook different foods. Brown rice takes longer to cook, but nutritional benefit is far better then white rice.

In Orient, rice is cooked in an equal volume of water or more, depends on how much you want to make the rice grain soft or firm. This method of cooking rice uses up all the water during the cooking process, so by the time the rice is cooked, all the water has been absorbed or boiled away.

Usually, for 1 cup of rice, 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 cups of water is good for white rice. Keep in mind that more water gives you softer, stickier rice and less water results in firmer rice. In cooking brown rice, water should be 1-3/4 to 2 cups of water per 1 cup of brown rice. This water ratio also changes depends on if the rice is soaked or not and how long it has been soaking. For the soaked white rice, usually equal amount of rice and water is sufficient. The cooking pot should be not too thin at the bottom so that rice will not be burned too much at the bottom.

The rice should be washed before cooking. In the case of brown rice, if it is pre-washed, there is no need to wash before cooking. In the case of white rice, it should be washed 2-3 times, or more especially some white rice has talcum powder on it (for preservative purpose). If you are making sushi rice with white rice, the rice should be washed until the water become clear to get all the starch off. So that the rice would not be too sticky to handle.

Rice is usually cooked in low medium heat; when it boils, it is switched to low heat until all the water is simmered away. Never open the pot lid because steam within the pot is essential in cooking good rice. So it is better to have tight fitting lid and it is better to have glass top to see through the cooking process. Also glass adds pressure during cooking due to the weight. If you have pressure cooker, it is even better – but you cannot see the rice inside.

To prevent water from boiling out of cover, you should use big pot so that combination of water and rice comes to only about half of the pot. Or if it boils too much you turn down the heat or turn it off until all the bubble subsides, and then turn on again.






How to cook Brown Rice


For brown rice you may or may not need to wash it. A lot of brown rice sold in US is pre-washed, so I don't wash brown rice when I cook it. I find that washing doesn't make much of difference.

For brown rice, because it is still "live" seed, it is good idea to soak a few hours because that process activates benefitial enzymes and also gets rid of phytates which are present in most seeds, which prevents digestion. For white rice, it doesn't make any difference because it is already a dead seed. Put brown rice and water in a pot and cover with a lid. Use the ratio of 1.5 cups water to 1 cup rice.

Set the heat to low medium heat when rice boils, set heat to low. Cook it until all the water is gone. Turn off heat and let it sit 10-15 min. Do not open the cover up until this point.

Cook further until you can see rice grain is slightly opened up in the middle wedge. If you want to make it more soft, cook a little further. Be careful when you remove the lid, since a lot of steam may escape. Loose the rice with damped spatula to fluff up.

After eating, put the leftover rice in a plastic container in the refrigerator. This can keep it well for several days. Half crushed sesame seeds add a lot of flavor to the rice, and it goes great with various Asian side dishes.

Brown rice is great food for endurance activities. In America, rice is not a main staple diet. However, in Orient, people who switched from white rice to brown rice say that while white rice fills stomach, it makes people hungry faster then brown rice compared in equal weight of rice. This is due to brown rice's low GI index, much higher vitamins and minerals present within it.




How to cook White Rice

Rinse rice twice and (maybe) soak rice. There are two reasons for rinsing: some mills outside the U.S. use talcum powder as a milling aid, so it's an important step, since ingested talcum powder is carcinogenic.

Put the rice 1 cup and water 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 cups in the pot. Set the heat to low medium heat when rice starts to boil, set heat to low. Cook it until all the water is gone. Turn off heat and let it sit 10-15 min. Remove the cover. Do not open the cover up until this point. Loose the rice with damped spatula to fluff up. Be careful when you remove the lid, since a lot of steam may escape when you do.




When cooking Sushi / Maki Rice

To make Sushi rice or to make less sticky rice, wash the rice until the water is clear. This is in order to wash off starch on the rice surface to makes it less sticky – which is essential, otherwise rice sticks up all over on your hands.

Also when you make sushi, you will mix the sushi rice with vinegar and etc., so be extra careful to not to put too much water. Be careful not to overcook, so that the rice grain particles would not be easily crushed, but also be careful to not to undercook. Yes, cooking sushi rice is an art.

Whether you use brown or white rice, just follow the above instruction. After rice is done, loose rice with spatula to fluff up. At this point, add vinegar, salt, sugar, mirin, etc. I recommend you use raw turbinado sugar / raw cane sugar to avoid harmful effect of white sugar. Also use sea salt, instead of refined salt, for enhanced flavor. Do not put salt and sugar directly into the rice. Melt salt/sugar into vinegar/ mirin mixture then mix into rice. Usually, add salt a pinch, sugar for 1 Tb, and vinegar for 2-3 Tb. Mirin can be skipped.

Aside from careful modulation of water amount and simmer time, the trick to not to make sushi rice mushy is after mixing seasoning mixture is to roughly spread the mixture into plate to let it cool. This way, the excess moisture evaporates, and rice retain appropriate moisture. It also makes rice cool enough to handle with hand and would not make laver layers wrinkle due to moisture and heat. When making a rice lump, be sure to oil your hand with sesame oil or water to not to let the rice stick on your hands.






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