How to Cook Japanese Rice in a Pot

How to Cook Japanese Rice in a Pot

by Ayumi Matsuo

Grain Staple Food Fool-Proof Recipe

Rice is the main staple food of Japanese people, and is cooked daily in Japanese households. As a staple food, it holds a lot of value in Japanese cuisine and is eaten in many different ways. From being enjoyed along other flavorful side dishes, to being the base of donburi rice bowls, or even being made into onigiri, the possibilities are endless. 

In our last post, we showed you how to prepare Japanese rice properly in a rice cooker. While rice cookers are common appliances found in Japanese households, they are not the end-all-be-all to making perfect Japanese rice. You can still make delicious Japanese short-grain rice using a pot over the stove!  

These days, there is an increase of people in Japan who opt to make rice in a pot rather than in a rice cooker. The reason for this is, after all, that "the taste is delicious”. When cooking rice in a pot, the rice is heated by slow heat conduction, which makes the rice sweeter, and the material of the pot removes excess moisture, so the texture is firm and the rice itself tastes good. 

Of course rice cookers also make delicious rice. They are a useful appliance because they have many functions to allow making fool-proof perfect rice, which we talked about in our rice cooker Japanese rice recipe. However, electric rice cookers range in price from about 5,000 yen to 80,000 yen (read, from around $50 to $800 USD!). If you are looking for a certain level of taste and ulta-high functionality, the market price for a rice cooker starts at 20,000 yen and up. (That is the equivalent to almost $200 USD.) Therefore, rice cookers are expensive! Also, if you and your family do not consume rice often, a quality rice cooker may seem like a steep investment. 

Today, we would like to show you how you can make delicious and perfect Japanese rice in a pot every single time. Stay tuned to learn all of our tips and tricks, so that you can get superb results when cooking rice to pair along with other Japanese dishes. 

Overview

Prep time: 35 mins

Cook time: 30 mins

Total time: 1hr 5mins

Total servings: 5

Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients
  • 300g Short Grain Rice
  • 400ml Water

Expert's Tip

Marna Shamoji Self Standing Rice Scoop Black

A shamoji is like a large spoon used for scooping rice from the pot and dividing it into bowls and/or mixing rice with other ingredients. The material used for shamoji is usually wood or plastic. Each product has its own characteristics, such as an uneven surface to prevent rice from sticking to it, or a design that allows it to stand on its own. It is recommended to wet the shamoji with a little water before touching the rice to prevent it from sticking to the rice.

Instructions

Measuring the Rice
1) Measuring the Rice

Use a special rice measuring cup for rice, and scoop two rice cooker cups of rice into a bowl. Pro tip: The Japanese unit of measuring rice is called "Gou". (2 gou = 300g rice).

Mixing Water Around to Remove Dust From Rice Thoroughly Draining the Water From the Rice
2) Washing the Rice

Add water to the bowl to wash the rice. Mix the water around with your hands, to thoroughly clean the rice, and then drain the water. After washing the rice for the first time, you will notice that the water is very murky. This is because the rice contains a lot of dust. Repeat washing and draining the rice two more times, or until the water becomes clear.

Adding the Rice to the Pot Letting the Rice Soak
3) Soaking the Rice

Transfer the soaked rice into a heavy bottom pot along with the specified amount of water, and cover the pot with a lid. Allow the rice to soak in the pot for 30 minutes. 

Pro tip: Do NOT skip this step! The soaking time allows for the rice to cook more evenly and acquire the correct texture. 

Cooking the Rice
4) Cooking the Rice

Once the rice has finished soaking, begin to heat it over medium-heat. After about 8-10 minutes (or when you see steam escaping from the hole in the lid) turn off the heat. Allow the rice to sit in the pot for an additional 20 minutes, covered. In these 20 minutes, the excess liquid from the rice will dry out and make the rice the perfect texture. 

Freshly Cooked Rice in a Pot Scooping the Rice into a Bowl Cooked Rice in a Bowl
5) Serving the Rice

Once 20 minutes have passed, your rice will be ready to serve! Enjoy your rice however you see fit. 

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