There's many who thing that rice is just a boring side dish without particular taste... But for that's not true! Japanese rice is the basis of every Japanese meals breakfast lunch and dinner, this is more than just cereal!
In Japanese Shinto culture it is said that rice is a gift from kami 神, Japanese Gods. That's why it is so important and must be prepared and eaten with respect and humility.
You will notice that the rice is still into his own bowl without mixing with the other things,
There's many reasons for this table art so special, and one of them is that it is a form of respect, rice does not have to be dirtied with other colors or other flavors! But times are changing ... some traditions are lost. For example the donburi appeared during the Meiji period (1867-1912) is a large bowl of rice covered with a something on top.
Today, often people put things on rice, like shiozake (crumble salted salmon), umeboshi (dried salted marined Japanese plum), egg...
And sometimes rice is cook with other ingredients
But there are still some things that are not polite like putting sauce in rice (soy sauce or broth rest another course ...).
I'm not really against this new perspective, but I think that before we enjoy donburi, we must learn to appreciate the taste of pure rice without anything else.
And rice is very good for health! It absorbs fats, it prevents cholesterol and obesity! and it's also a good source of protein and energy. If we compart as wheat, wheat contains more proteins than rice, but rice gives more energy.
And finally I put a little quotation that perfectly matches my thoughts. It's from de chef Koyama Hirohisa 小山裕久
"The notion of purity seems to me very important in Japanese cuisine. Whether or rice broth soups, the flavors are clear beings. Japan is not it also called" Mizuho no Kuni "(the country young ears)? Rice is its most valuable asset and symbol of its culture. Is there anything more delicious than plain rice who come to be cooked? However, its preparation required that the cereal and water! are there any other people that the Japanese preparing a dish as delicious with just these two ingredients? this is where I think the essence of Japanese cuisine. this is what I 'hope to convey through my own cuisine, drawing inspiration from the work of my predecessors. "
一人分 1 serv.
- A portion of Okome お 米 (Japanese rice "Japonica") there's special cups to measure the rice (but if you don't have any, a portion is about 75cc of rice). In Japanese the unit of measurement is call "go 合". 1 合 = 2 serves
- some water:
for 1 cup of rice, you need 1 and 1/4 to 1 and 1/2 cup of water, it depend on your own liking and it also depend on the kind of rice.
First, you have to wash the rice. Put the rice in a bowl, and add quickly cold water. At the same time as water is running, "mix" the rice in the water with your hands. For the first wash, do it quickly, because when rice is dried, it absorb quickly the "dirty" water so rinse very quickly and follow the next step
remove the water using a strainer or just using your hand like me.
then, without adding water, knead very gently the rice.
the rice grain's rub against themselves and it'll remove a lot of starch.
add again water and mix gently....
repeat the process
and if the water is not clear, repeat the process a last time.
until the water is clear like that.
The leaning process is very important! This is to remove excess starch, if we did not all rice'll be sticky and pasty ...
Then put it in the pan, add the right amount of water (cold) and let the rice rest, the rest depends on the season :)
-1h in Winter
This step is very important, it is during the rest periods that the rice will soak up water and this is how it will be perfect texture! If you do not, the body of the rice will be farm ... actually not soft as it should have to be.
But before cooking, talking about pot! The choice of pot is sooo important! It Must have a pan for the amount of rice, not too big, not too small. When the rice is cooked it should not exceed 80% of the total capacity of the pan (if it axed 80% that means it is too small), and if you use a too much large pot, the water ll' heat and evaporate too much quickly.
The best is to use a Donabe as I do
(Donabe 土鍋 is a Japanese earthenware pot use for hot pots and also cook rice.)
because Donabe heat gently and retains heat very well. If you don't have any, a pot with thick walls and bottom can be perfect too, but it must have a lid with a little hole.
Or the third option is to cook in a Suihanki 炊 饭 器 (a rice cooker)
But the problem is that the western style rice cooker are not very good for cook the Japanese rice... You have to use a Japanese rice cooker.
(if you're interested there is yet another possibility that I explained at the end ;D)
For mix the rice. Mix the rice doing "slice motion" for separate and mix well without breaking the rice.
Traditionally, once the rice is cooked, transfer into a Ohitsu お ひつ it's a big... wooden think that you bring to the eating room and serve into rice bowls. And it is also well to keep the rice later for the next meal ... But it's really not necessary.
Serve in a pretty meshi chawan 饭 茶碗 (rice bowl)
And it's ready! Enjoy immediately, because there is nothing better than rice that has just been cooked!
The fourth possibility for cooking pot is the kama 釜
It is a pot made of metal or earth with a large wooden lid that was in the old Japanese houses, today it is much less common but it is always used anyway :)
In ancient Japanese houses there was the entrance to the house called doma 土間
a little part of the doma was use for cooking, it's call kamado 釜戸
there was 2 hols for putting 2 kama, one was for the rice, and the another was for another dishes.
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