Perfect Japanese rice in a rice-cooker

Picture of Perfect Japanese rice in a rice-cooker
Rice is the second most cultivated plant on earth, after corn, and is by FAR the dominant source of carbohydrates in Asia, where I currently live.  But growing up in America, I learned how to make rice in a pot, on the stove.  Throw in some butter, a pinch a salt and pepper, and you've got yourself a delicious side dish to those meat n' potatoes. Or so I thought.

Well, not so in Japan!  My coworkers were amazed (appalled really) that I didn't know how to use a rice cooker.  And it took 5 months of terrible, gooey rice before a nice old lady finally showed me the secret of making rice the Japanese way.  It turns out that like me, many Westerners have no idea how to make rice properly in a rice cooker.  (Conversely however, most Japanese have no idea how to make rice on the stove-top, so at least I have that :-)  Several well done Instructables already exist on how to make pizza and bread and hamburgers in a rice cooker, and even alcohol, but none (that I could find) on how to make plain 'ol rice.  This instructable hopes to remedy that. 

This is delicious, fluffy white rice that the Japanese use as a base for almost every meal.  (Though it is not sushi rice, which uses other ingredients.)

So without further ado, let's get started.

Great post and instructions. For those of you asking, here's a quality resource for finding more information and reviews on cookers: http://www.nmhmf.org/

VeronicaP42 months ago
Norasuke8 months ago

Thanks for this. I eat tons of Japanese rice at home, but I'm usually too lazy/hungry to do it "right". But on my last trip there, my best friend gave me a few batches of her family's homegrown rice, and I intend to show it the respect it deserves.

ktawara9 months ago

A lot of the instructions on how to make japanese rice tells us to soak the rice in water for 30 minutes before cooking. I'm wondering why you've neglected that step from the instruction.

She didn't neglect it.... she wrote: Now we are ready for water... For one cup of rice, fill to the "1" line.....Then just close the lid, and walk away for 20 minutes to an hour.

spark master9 months ago

I love the differences in perception of
flavor from Asians to Westerners on rice. To me, for the most part, they
all taste the same. I do not use chop sticks so sticky is not
an issue. I have tasted many rices from Asia and the US and Italy , and
while some are indeed more "stickie", when I does it with butter or
cover in sauce I do not taste teenie diff betwixt them. Brown rice and
wild rice do taste differently. I like brown rice I hate wild rice.
Jasmine rice...... ehh, it has an aroma I do not taste. I believe it
goes away with cooking, kinda like the cool colored cauliflowers that
turn white if boiled.

And yes I have eaten it plain, it is quite
boring worse then (dare I say it), Wonderbread! Yes Yes Yes rice is the
Wonderbread of Asia, eaten alone. A plain baked or boiled spud salted is
nice alone.

But in fairness to all the rice lovers out there. If
it were my only carb I would be as picky and sensitive to its infinite
variety as they are. I will wash my rise now and see what a difference
it makes, when next I use rice.

My biggest chuckle over rice was
an artticle I read many years ago about rice cookers. A Japanese gent
said how he is new rice cooker ($900) was a piece of junk and he was
waiting for a new version due out for $1400, he went on to say the older
unit did not make rice fit for a dog.....I make gourmet food on/in a
$700 oven/range. I could make the same stuff in a $200 unit. The
difference is size and oven precision.

Thank you for this ible as I will now wash my rice. (you should for other reasons as well).

have an Asian market near me that has dozens of rices to choose from,
and a Korean market that has even more! Sprouted rice is nice and in
theory is better for you.

happy cooking

evilspice9 months ago

Jessica: for Jasmin or Basmati rice (which are longer grained and less starchy) you do the same, just have to polish it less. the result will be less sticky.

Brown rice is a whole different matter, don't rely on this method.

does this also apply for brown or jasmine rice?

Being married to a Thai for 14 years and having lived in Thailand for 8, I'll offer this on the subject of Jasmine rice... Jasmine rice is from Thailand. It is not intended to be prepared as a 'sticky' type of rice, but should be 'loose' when fully cooked. The preferred Jasmine rice is 'old' as in having been stored for more than a full season and dried (not 'green'). The importance it this is that when cooked it doesn't cook up 'wet' and 'sticky'. As a rule of thumb, two cups uncooked Jasmine rice with 3 cups plus about 3/4 cup water. Wash the rice several times, until the wash water is clear. If you're using a rice cooker, press the cook button. If you're cooking over flame, bring the water to a slow boil then reduce to a slow simmer and cook for 20 minutes [do not open the lid during the 20 minutes!]. Adjust the amount of water by tablespoons, more if it cooked too dry or less if it cooked too moist, for the next time your prepare the Jasmine rice. Note that most Asian countries other than Thailand expect their rice to be more or less sticky [unless it is for frying].

Mrballeng1 year ago

Thank you!!!!

taria4 years ago
I use Jasmin rice and it turns out okay. Is this other rice better?
ATTILAtheHUNgry (author)  taria4 years ago
I wouldn't say 'better', I'd say different. Jasmin rice is really good in lots of dishes, and usually (I think) it is less sticky. This rice is particularly good for chopsticks, because it is stickier. Both are delicious.
oh okay, where can it be found? I might try it was well, since I do like rice. :) BTW where did you find the light-saber chopsticks, those are too cool.
Daniel Zf taria2 years ago
Probly really late to answer, but a lot of markets in the US handle this, the most common is calrose rice, there are other ones, but this is the cheaper and most common one.
ATTILAtheHUNgry (author)  taria4 years ago
I buy mine in Japan, But I have no idea if it is available everywhere.

The chopsticks come from ThinkGeek.com I believe. They rock.
Made rice last night using the method described in this instructable and it was WAY good!! Kudos definitely. I just used normal long grain rice as it was all I had on hand and I had to rinse it 8 or 9 times before it finally wasn't very cloudy then soaked for a half hour or so.

It turned out really nice, excellent taste and texture. Plus it didn't have that weird rice sludge that always builds up on the top of my rice cooker when I cook rice. I'm a huge fan so I'll be using this method from now on. Thanks :-)
So happy to hear it. :)
sinofvalex4 years ago
nom nom.. im try make this
try making Iran rice(Persian)
its nice and has a flavour instead of english rice that is kinda tasteless to me
buirv4 years ago
Not a bad instructable, However, rice is not just rice. What is they typical type of rice that the Japanese use? Or a specific brand name. They don't use Jasmine rice either and I can't stand the stinky smell of Jasmine rice. So What do the real Japanese connoisseurs use?
As a Japanese, we use Japonica rices.
I hope grocery stores nearby your home sell those from Japan :)
I wonder if some Korean stores might sell it, I'll have to check it out, we have like 4 here where I live.
ATTILAtheHUNgry (author)  buirv4 years ago
Good question, and I've added the answer to the 'ible above.

I personally buy Koshihikari rice, which as it turns out is what most people in Japan eat. I have no clue if this variety is available in every country, but it is far and away the most popular type in Japan.
westfw4 years ago
We once had a "rice tasting" at a party. Picked up about 7 kinds of rice (in much smaller bags than yours!) at a couple of the local markets, prepared each as per the package directions, and served them all up. Japanese "sushi" rice, Basmati, brown Basmati, black japonica, red rice, jasmine rice, and US-style "converted" rice. It was really interesting, and I recommend such an experiment if you have a community that will provide a variety of products.

The amount of water needed seems to vary a great deal depending on type of rice. The "correct" amount of water used for a US converted rice will turn Japanese rice into mush, for example.
Thank you so much for this! Here I have been suffering from gooey-rice syndrome for years and have been using solely brown, red, and wild rice to avoid my nasty white rice goo. I'm making white rice again tonight because of your polishing tip.
ATTILAtheHUNgry (author)  emilygraceking4 years ago
Ha, no problem. :-) White rice is good stuff.

But as a native Minnesotan, I gotta give props to wild rice too, that stuff is taaaaaa-sty.