• Home
  • HOW TO
  • Tips and Techniques for the Best Japanese Rice Preparation


Jan 25, 2023

HOW TOTips and Techniques for the Best Japanese Rice Preparation

Have you ever ended up with overcooked, gooey rice? Learn more about rice cooking and use these tips for flavorful, fluffy rice every time you make it.

Jan 25, 2023

Japanese rice cooking techniques set the bar high 

Japanese rice cooking methods are a unique, precise means of preparing rice that’s gaining popularity in international cuisine. This method ensures perfectly cooked and fluffy results every time, all while allowing rice to maintain its natural sweetness and aroma, adding an extra oomph to your dish…but how do we get these results?

The Japanese rice cooking method is a relatively simple process, but it requires patience and attention to detail – making it a perfect choice for true culinary enthusiasts.

  • Wash your rice gently and change the water about 4 to 5 times to remove starch.
  • Soak rice in clean water for 15 to 60 minutes. This allows each grain to plump up for water absorption.
  • Use a 2:1 ratio of water to rice. Some firmer rice types may require more water
  • Shari-kiri! Once cooked, “cut” through your rice with a thin-tipped spatula at an angle. Then gently turn the rice to remove excess water and fluff the rice up.

Does cooking rice on the stove make it better?

The question of whether to cook rice on the stove or using a rice cooker is a matter of preference. While it is certainly possible to create perfectly cooked rice on the stovetop, rice cookers offer a level of convenience and precision that can be beneficial in a busy kitchen.

Advanced rice cookers from brands like Zojirushi offer a range of functions for cooking various types of rice, ensuring the perfect texture and consistency every time. Additionally, rice cookers prevent risk of burning or overcooking, freeing up time and energy for other kitchen tasks. For chefs looking to streamline their workflow and ensure consistent results, investing in a high-quality rice cooker may be a worthwhile consideration.

Kombu and rice: a match made in flavor heaven

Kombu, an edible type of seaweed used in Japanese and East Asian cuisine, is known for its umami flavor and can make rice more flavorful. When added to the cooking water of rice, it infuses the rice with its delicious umami flavor, giving it a richer, more savory profile. And if this hasn’t sold you, kombu also has a high mineral content, which makes it a healthy addition to any meal!

Luckily, using kombu to cook rice is easy. All you need is a small piece of kombu, about 2–3 inches in size, and add it to your water before cooking any rice. You can remove it before eating or leave it in for added flavor.

Elevate your rice with Japanese additions amazing new flavors 

Looking to add more nutritional value to your rice? Look no further than takikomi gohan. Roughly translating to “cooked-down rice,” takikomi gohan is a traditional, flavorful rice dish that incorporates vegetables, mushrooms, meat, or fish into the rice cooking process. It’s easy to master, yet dynamic and compelling enough to leave anyone who tries this dish hungry for more. 

  • First prepare your veggies, mushrooms, meat, or fish for boiling
  • After washing, soaking and straining your rice, put it into your rice cooker or pot
  • Add an appropriate amount of mirin, soy sauce and optionally, sake, dashi, or salt
  • Add water to achieve the correct level of liquid-to-rice ratio and stir
  • Add your vegetables, mushrooms, meat, or fish on top of your rice, layering hard ingredients first and softer ingredients last. Don’t mix your rice now, as leaving your ingredients atop will allow them to cook properly and give the rice below extra flavor
  • Cook accordingly via stovetop or rice cooker
  • Voila! Mix your takikomi gohan by gently turning the ingredients over the rice to thoroughly mix it in 

From preparation like “shari-kiri” or additions like kombu rice or takikomi gohan, there are many ways to elevate your rice cooking game. A few simple techniques will allow you to make great rice, and a rice cooker certainly helps! Whether you’re a diehard sushi lover or just enjoy a good bowl of rice, these methods will take the flavor and texture of your rice to the next level.