No rice cooker? Learn how to cook Japanese rice on the stove! My simple tips and tricks will ensure your rice comes out perfectly with intact grain each time.
Do you use a rice cooker to make rice or do you cook rice the traditional way in a pot? Today let’s get back to basics and I’m going to show you how to cook Japanese short-grain rice on the stove as I’ve received a lot of requests from readers for this recipe.
Growing up in Japan, where rice is a staple food and primary source of protein, cooking rice is not only just a basic kitchen task but an extremely important one. While a rice cooker (this is the one I have) with all the bells and whistles seem to be an essential kitchen gadget in most Asian kitchens, I know not everyone eats rice on a daily basis and may not own a rice cooker. It’s also handy to know how to make rice over the stove in case your rice cooker breaks out of the blue or you’re craving rice while camping.
Short-Grain Rice is Different from Other Types of Rice
Japanese short-grain rice is different from long-grain basmati or jasmine rice. So if you want to cook Japanese rice at home, please follow this simple method to cook a perfect pot of glossy and tender rice!
The Rice to Water Ratio for Short-Grain Rice
It’s very important to remember:
The Japanese golden rule for rice to water ratio [volume] is 1 : 1.1 (or 1.2).
That is 10-20% more water than 1:1 ratio. For 1 rice cooker cup (180 ml), you will need 200 ml of water, not 180 ml.
Watch How to Cook Rice on the Stove
How to cook rice on the stove tutorial: It is simple to make Japanese (short grain) rice on a stove. Soak the rice, let it drain, and cook on low heat for 12-13 minutes.
3 Important Tips When Cooking Japanese Short Grain Rice
1. Always soak the rice in water for 30 minutes. Rice has been sitting in the bag dried after milling, hence it needs moisture to revive the texture. It’s important that you give it enough time for rice to absorb water so that rice has a perfect texture after it’s cooked.
2. DO NOT open the lid while cooking! That’s a big no-no when it comes to cooking Japanese rice. I learned from my experience to catch the indication of “boiling” by the sound. However, until you do, it’s okay to “quickly peek” inside to see if it’s boiling. The last 10 minutes of steaming is an extremely important part of cooking rice, so continue to keep the pot covered till the end and do not skip this step!
3. Use a heavy-bottom pot with a tight-fitting lid that keeps the steam in. If your lid fits loosely, put a clean kitchen cloth between the lid and the pot.
The Best Way to Store Cooked Rice
And if you wonder how to keep the leftover rice. And here’s what I do: freeze the rice! If you already know how much rice you will be using, then pack away the unused rice immediately to seal in the moisture. Be sure to let it cool before freezing.
How To Cook Japanese Rice on the Stove
For an American Measuring Cup (240 ml)
- 1 cup uncooked Japanese short-grain rice (240 ml)
- 1 ¼ cups water (if you are making rice for sushi recipes, you should deduct 5-10% of water)
For a Rice Cooker Cup (180 ml)
- 1 rice cooker cup uncooked Japanese short-grain rice (1 rice-cooker-cup (180 ml) yields roughly 2 servings (1.75 US cups))
- 200 ml water (if you are making rice for sushi recipes, you should deduct 5-10% of water)
To Prepare Rice
- For Japanese short-grain rice, the ideal rice to water ratio is 1 : 1.1 (or 1.2), which is 10-20% more water. For easy American "cup" measurement, I used 25% in this recipe (rice to water ratio is 1 : 1.25).
- If you have a precise milliliter measuring cup or kitchen scale, use the following measurement. 1 rice cooker cup (180 ml) - 200 ml water. 2 rice cooker cups (360 ml) - 400 ml water. 3 rice cooker cups (540 ml) - 600 ml water. 4 rice cooker cups (720 ml) - 800 ml water. 5 rice cooker cups (900 ml) - 1000 ml water.
- Put rice in a large bowl. Rice absorbs water very quickly when you start washing, so don't let the rice absorb the unclear water. Gently wash the rice in a circular motion and discard the water. Repeat this process about 3-4 times. Drain to a fine-mesh sieve and shake off excess water.
- In a heavy-bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid, put well-drained rice and measured water. Soak the rice for 20-30 minutes before cooking.
To Cook Rice
- Close the lid and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Take a quick peek to see if water is boiling (otherwise do not open the lid).
- Once water is boiling, turn the heat to low and cook covered for 12 to 13 minutes, or until the water is completely absorbed (take a quick peek!). If you see there is water left, close the lid and continue cooking for a little longer.
- Remove the pot (with the lid on) from the heat source and let it steam for another 10 minutes.
- Fluff the rice with a rice paddle when it’s done.
To Store Rice
- Transfer the rice in airtight containers and close the lid to keep the moisture in. Let cool completely before storing the containers in the freezer (read my tutorial post).