Cooking with Luna: How to Cook Perfect Japanese Rice in 8-Steps

Cooking with Luna: How to Cook Perfect Japanese Rice in 8-Steps

Rice has been a huge part of the Japanese diet for a very long time. Perhaps this is the reason that Japan has some of the oldest people in the world!

Almost everyone in Japan owns a rice cooker at home. Because of that, many Japanese don’t know how to cook rice with a pot!

Luna-chan, our mascot, never owned a rice-cooker, as her mother loved to cooked rice in the traditional way. Now, whenever she cooks rice for her friends, they are amazed by how delicious it tastes!

Today, Luna is cooking rice with her friend, Yumiko-san, a Japanese rice-cooking expert.

Master this method and you’ll be cooking perfect rice every-time, all-the-time, like a Japanese sushi sensei!

How to Cook Perfect Japanese Rice in 8-Steps

What you’ll need

  • A 22cm wide pot (a nice and heavy one is strongly recommended, such as dutch oven like Le Creuset or Staub. The one pictured is a Japanese pot from Vermicular)
  • A measuring cup (180ml)
  • A bowl
  • A strainer
  • 4 cups of Japanese rice (if you can’t get Japanese rice easily, go with Tamaki rice or Kagayaki rice, which are both made in California)

Method (8 servings)

1. Measure 4 cups of rice and place in the strainer. Please note, in the US, 1 cup is approximately 235ml, so you can measure 3 cups instead. 

Step 1: How to make Japanese rice in 8 steps

2. Let it soak in water for two seconds, stir and then drain the water immediately. This step is very important, as if you let the rice soak, it will absorb the water. It is the first water, meaning it contains lots of unwanted substances, so please drain the water as quickly as you can.

Step 2: How to make Japanese rice in 8 steps

3. After draining the first water, pout a bowl below the strainer and take your time to wash the rice in water with nice and gentle motions. After 15 motions, drain the water and start again. Repeat this process at least 10 times, until the water runs clear.

Step 3: How to make Japanese rice in 8 steps

4. Once the water runs clear, let the rice soak in fresh water for thirty minutes.

Step 4: How to make Japanese rice in 8 steps

5. When thirty minutes are up, drain the water and leave the rice to dry for at least fifteen minutes.

Step 5: How to make Japanese rice in 8 steps

6. Place the rice rice in to your pot and add (exactly!) 4 cups of water - the amount of rice and water is always the same.

Step 6: How to make Japanese rice in 8 steps

7. Put on the lid and turn the heat to high. After 5 to 8 minutes, the contents should come to a boil. When it does, turn the heat to low and let it cook for 11 minutes. After 11 minutes, turn off the heat and move the pot, let it sit for another 11 minutes (covered).

Step 7: How to make Japanese rice in 8 steps

8. Open the rid and mix well from the bottom - your perfect rice is ready. Itadakimasu!

Step 8: How to make Japanese rice in 8 steps

How to Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)

Onigiri are rice balls made from plain, or sometimes lightly salted, Japanese rice. They’re a very popular snack in Japan and there are many different variations available for around 100 yen from the konbini (convenience store).

ZenPop's Limited Edition Vegetarian Snack PackOnigiri made with the furikake from ZenPop's Limited Edition Vegetarian Snack Pack

All you need to make delicious onigiri is your perfectly cooked Japanese rice and you choice of toppings - such as nori (dried seaweed), bonito flakes, cooked salmon, umeboshi (pickled plum), furikake (rice seasoning), toasted sesame seeds or canned tuna with mayonnaise.

Method for Onigiri

  1. Allow your cooked rice to cool
  2. Place some plastic wrap on your kitchen bench, spread your rice onto it and sprinkle with a touch of salt
  3. Firmly press the rice onto the wrap - you want the rice to stick together when you remove the plastic
  4. Bring the plastic together, so that the rice forms a ball or triangular shape
  5. Remove the plastic and place nori (or topping of your choice) over the ball
  6. Itadakimasu!


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