Here's my step-by-step method for cooking Japanese rice in a rice cooker. Follow my rice-to-water ratio tips to get perfect steamed rice every time! No more mushy or dry rice!
Course: Side Dish
Servings: 2rice bowls
Author: Namiko Chen
★ For 1 rice cooker cup (180 ml, ¾ US cup, 150 g) of uncooked Japanese short-grain rice, use:
200mlwater(for white rice; ⅞ US cup minus 1½ tsp)
300mlwater(for brown rice; 1¼ US cups plus ¾ tsp)
★ For 2 rice cooker cups (360 ml, 1½ US cups, 300 g), use:
400mlwater(for white rice; 1¾ US cups minus 1 Tbsp)
600mlwater(for brown rice; 2½ US cups plus 1½ tsp)
★ For 3 rice cooker cups (540 ml, 2¼ US cups, 450 g), use:
600mlwater(for white rice; 2½ US cups plus 1½ tsp)
900mlwater(for brown rice; 3¾ US cups plus 2¼ tsp)
★ For 4 rice cooker cups (720 ml, 3 US cups, 600 g), use:
800mlwater(for white rice; 3⅜ US cups)
1200mlwater(for brown rice; 5 US cups plus 1¼ Tbsp)
★ For 5 rice cooker cups (900 ml, 3¾ US cups, 750 g), use:
1000mlwater(for white rice; 4¼ US cups minus ¾ tsp)
1500mlwater(for brown rice; 6⅜ US cups minus 1½ tsp)
Before You Start: The rice-to-water ratio is 1 to 1.1 (or 1.2) for Japanese short-grain white rice. Please read the blog post for a detailed explanation. 1 rice cooker cup (180 ml, ¾ US cup, 150 g) of uncooked rice yields roughly 2 servings or 1¾ US cups (330 g) of cooked rice, which is enough for 2 Japanese rice bowls (typically 150 g each) or 3 onigiri rice balls (typically 110 g each). 1 US cup of cooked rice weighs 6.3 oz (180 g).
To Wash the Rice
Measure: Overfill a plastic rice cooker cup (180 ml) with uncooked short-grain rice and level it off. If you don't have a rice cooker cup, you can use a ¾ US cup measure instead. Put the rice in a large bowl. Repeat until you have the measured amount of rice needed. In this recipe, I'm using 3 rice cooker cups (540 ml).
Quick Rinse: Add just enough water to the bowl to submerge all the rice. Then, discard the water immediately. Repeat one more time.Tip: Rice absorbs water very quickly when you start rinsing, so this step helps remove impurities from the rice and prevent it from absorbing the first few rounds of milky water.
Wash: Next, use your fingers to gently agitate the wet rice grains in a circular motion for 10-15 seconds. Using very little water allows the grains to rub against each other. It also reduces the absorption of impurities from the milky water.
Rinse: Add water and immediately discard the cloudy water. Repeat one more time.
Repeat Wash and Rinse (steps 3 and 4) two more times.
Drain: When the water is almost clear, drain the rice very well. Tip: Use a fine-mesh sieve to drain and shake off any excess water.
To Soak and Cook the Rice
Transfer the well-drained rice to the inner pot of a rice cooker (I use the Zojirushi IH). Add the measured amount of room-temperature water (600 ml for my 3 rice cooker cups) to the pot. The water must not be warm or hot. Level the rice with your fingers so that it's evenly submerged in the water. To cook brown rice, add a pinch of salt and distribute evenly.
Soak the rice for 20-30 minutes for white rice and 6-12 hours for brown rice (especially if you're using an older rice cooker). Select your menu and press Start. Tip: Even though my rice cooker includes soaking time, I still soak my rice for 20-30 minutes before I start the cooker. Note: This Zojirushi rice cooker takes 55 minutes to cook 3 cups of Japanese short-grain white rice; the program includes 10 minutes of soaking time and 10 minutes of steaming time.
When the rice is done cooking, let it steam for 10 minutes (if your rice cooker program does not include steaming time.) Open the lid and fluff the rice with a rice paddle.
To Store the Cooked Rice
Transfer the rice to airtight containers and close the lid to keep the moisture in. Let it cool completely before storing the containers in the freezer (read my tutorial post).