INGREDIENTS

2 cups uruchi mai (white rice)
or haiga mai (half polished brown rice)
2 1/3 cups water

-OR-

2 cups genmai
2 1/2 cups water

 

Preparing white and half-polished brown rice

You can use any pot to make rice, but a heavy steel or aluminum pot with a heavy lid works best. Put the dry rice in the pot, and fill it with halfway with water. Wash the rice in several changes of water until the milky white water becomes clear. (However, if you are cooking half polished rice, don't wash it too vigorously, or the vital nutrients will be lost.) Cover with water and bring to a boil. The amount of water should cover the rice to the first line of the tip of your index finger, or a little less than one inch. Cover the pot and lower the heat to a simmer for approximately 20 minutes. Turn the heat off, but keep the lid on to continue steaming until dinner is ready to be served.

A rice cooker makes life considerably easier. When I get home from work, the first thing I do is to wash the rice directly in the pan of the rice cooker, put it in the rice cooker, put the water up to the designated line, and turn it on. It takes about 30 minutes, and is kept hot until the rest of the meal is ready. It couldn't be simpler. Look for cookers with automatic timers and sensors that adjust to different kinds of rice. It is important to always use the measuring cup that comes with the rice cooker. It is not one cup, but is slightly less than 3/4 of a cup. The amounts to the left use a standard cup.

At times, I prefer using a ceramic donabe , especially for takikomi gohan, as it is actually faster and the nabe, being attractive, can be brought to the dining table. The thick ceramic walls retain heat well, and the rice comes out perfectly. Some people say it's even faster than a rice cooker, but I haven't timed it.

Preparing genmai

Cooking genmai is a little tricker. It has to be soaked for a long time, or cooked twice. This is quite easy to do in an electric rice cooker. After the rice is cooked, turn off the machine, unplug it (this resets the sensors) add a half cup of water, fluff the rice with a paddle, and turn it back on.If you like your rice a little hard, do not follow this last step.