Teriyaki Chicken, Rice Appreciation Topic, Koshihikari etc.

There are certain meals that I just develop a longing for and it gets stronger and stronger until I have to have it. Sometimes I feel that way about a Masala Dosa, or Mushroom Risotto.

Today I was dying for some Japanese food so I bought a tray of chicken thighs, made up some fresh Teriyaki sauce, and marinated it while I washed some Koshihikari rice again and again and then started it up in a Japanese rice cooker. Broiled the Teriyaki thighs sprinkled with black and white sesame seeds.

I had a discussion with my wife about why I don’t want soy sauce on Japanese rice. SHE thinks it’s boring to eat white rice. I told her she could use soy if she wanted but she wouldn’t do it because I wasn’t doing it.

If you have properly prepared Japanese rice there is something so elegant about the flavor, especially if you have put in a couple of squares of Kombu and gotten the proportions right. I don’t even know how to describe it. It is delicious in a very subtle and elegant way. Soy sauce would completely ruin it IMO. Most long grain rice takes a ratio of 2:1 or 3:1 for water. Rice for risotto (like Arborio) can go up to 5:1, but of course you use broth so the flavor is rich and meaty.

But Japanese rice, GOOD Japanese rice, is unique, the ratio of rice to water is very close to 1:1. So there is a density, a texture which is very special, and very different from all other kinds of rice. Without the washing the rice would be TOO sticky, glued together. After several washings, most of the excess starch is gone and the rice is precisely sticky enough to allow eating with chopsticks, but at the same time easy to separate. Well done sushi is made from the same sort of rice.

At any rate, I got to this point from an immersion in Japanese culture that took a fair amount of time and effort. I have cooked Japanese rice for Japanese visitors who thought it was fabulous, so I know I have it down.

Does anyone here know what I am talking about?? I’m just kind of curious. Living where I do, this feels like esoteric information that most people would not remotely understand. Perhaps if I lived in L.A. or S.F. it would feel like an every day fact of life.

I’d love some responses…

Well maybe I won’t get any. But I Googled and found some support for my ideas.

Koshihikari is delicious I come and introduce one. Koshihikari becomes more delicious, and, with one how to cook, it is objecting in taste less than cheap, old rice.

I become extremely delicious, but comment on delicious how to cook with a general rice cooker when I cook it with an earthenware pot.

(1) Cleansed rice
I wash it with plentiful water quickly. Because absorbing water power is strong, rice will not let I wash in particular the first はすば and breathe a smell of rice bran together. I put the rice which I measured in the slightly bigger bowl which I filled with plentiful water at a stretch and wash it quickly and throw away water immediately. I exchange four or five times water and wash it afterwards.

And then there is this

http://www.e-katsuyama.com/cook.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I totally get you. I’m an American-born Chinese guy and eating plain, well prepared white rice is must. I don’t eat rice every day (ah yes I’m breaking a stereotype), but when I do, it better be good. My mom raised me on long grain jasmine rice (it’s fragrant), but the past year I’ve been using Koshihikari and occasionally a medium grain (not kokuho or nishiki). I don’t even add any konbu or dashi to my cooking water. I like the taste and texture as is.

The Japanese rice makers are pretty great aren’t they? Zojirushi rocks. They do take a while to cook rice on their default setting. In a time crunch I’ll cook rice on the stove with roughly a 1.75:1 water ratio for jasmine long grain.

Whenever I eat out with coworkers or acquaintances and we eat some type of Asian food, it puzzles me how people automatically reach for soy sauce or Siracha (or other hot sauce) to flavor their rice.

Cary, cool, thanks.

It shows “respect” for the rice to taste it on its own, I think. I can’t think of anything that is exactly parallel. Well, perhaps some people would understand that if you have a perfect loaf of white bread, you might want to just eat it and savor how it tastes without smearing it with jam or mustard or even butter…

Americans are not brought up that way, I certainly wasn’t. I had to learn to pay attention. In my family you covered up the rice with soy sauce or whatever was at hand. Catsup.

I added the “Engrish” paragraph at the end because I had begun to think “nobody is going to read this anyway…”

Thanks for proving me wrong and understanding me exactly.

Mike Pobega – thought I saw a response about Risotto?

I appreciated it but didn’t have time to reply.

What is interesting is that Arborio rice and Japanese rice give a similar impression in texture on the tongue, but as far as absorption of liquid they couldn’t be farther apart.

Anyway, glad to let the discussion go in any given direction…

You did, but it looked strangely written, so I wanted to reword it.

Koshihikari and Nishiki are my rices of choice these days. For both, I use a somewhat unorthodox cooking method.

  1. Wash the rice three times in a large mixing bowl
  2. Soak the rice with salted, cold water for several hours
  3. Drain and dry the rice in a fine mesh sieve
  4. Cook 1 cup of the washed and soaked rice in four quarts of salted water brought to a rolling boil for eight minutes
  5. Drain in a collander and break up any clumps with a fork
  6. Return the cooked rice to a steamer insert for my Calphalon until service —or—
  7. Allow to cool and use in fried rice preparation(s)

Hi Tex

I have seen you mention Koshihikari rice in other messages here, talking about the meals that you cook, so I knew you were a fan. I wonder how you came up with your cooking technique? I am trying to think about it from a biochemical and culinary point of view to see what the advantages and disadvantages are of doing it that way. Have you ever used an electric rice cooker? That makes it so idiotically simple that it’s hard to make a mistake (of course I only use mine for Koshihikari, I will confess that I tried it on long grain jasmine rice and ended up with pudding).

What I like about your method is the washing, and the very long soak. I think this comes close to what is done in some Asian countries, and for Koshihikari where what the rice “wants” is mainly just its own volume of water, you can get the rice nearly to completion that way. What puzzles me – the Japanese don’t use salt in cooking this sort of rice, and the resulting flavor, a kind of “pure white” flavor, is the canvas, the background for the flavors of Japanese food. I wonder if your rice might be better with the salt cut way down?

Trying to read between the lines and decide how much liquid the rice has taken up is almost impossible, because obviously much of that uptake will happen on the soaking step and more during the steaming step.

What this reminds me of the most – there is a kind of rice called “glutinous rice” which is used for desserts with red bean paste etc. It is the sort of rice that should be used with mango and coconut milk for Thai desserts. I tried using Koshihikari for that and it was a little like finding a beef jerky stick in the middle of your twinky. TOO chewy, dry, “serious” tasting. Glutinous rice is also pounded and processed into flour for Mochi.

Your cooking technique is just about what is recommended for “glutinous rice.” Soaking followed by steaming.

The other question I have is, do you notice a difference when you use Nishiki versus Koshihikari? If you read what Cary says, it is clear that he sees them as different, and I think the few Japanese people I know would sort of consider it Chevy (Nishiki) versus, oh, Lexus (Koshihikari).

Anyway it’s a fun topic for me to chew on. Actually – back to risotto – I have heard stories about people making risotto in their pressure cooker, with no stirring whatever. As a traditionalist I think that sounds awful, but of my colleagues on campus is guilty of doing it this way, and people who have eaten at her house say it tastes wonderful. As a cook and a Biochemist I can imagine that that might well be true. Many ways to take the epidermis off a feline.

Hey Frank,

The washing & soaking routine is the method that Persian quisine calls for when making proper polow with Basmati. Eight minutes of boiling, followed by a low steam yields perfect results for me for Jasmin, Koshihikari and Nishiki.

I should say that I definitely don’t over salt my soaking water or cooking water. I am not a huge fan of truly salty foods in general.

Yes, Koshihikari is noticably more flavourful and has a better texture than Nishiki does. It also works better IMHO for my version of Japanese fried rice as it caremelizes better and yet retains a nice internal creaminess. I took my recipe directly from the Excecutive Chef of Benihana for the Dallas region. Not traditional, but I tweeked it to give a really good result.

Now that’s fascinating. My neighbors lived for years in Iran and Afghanistan and are very fond of Persian cooking. You know where I got my Japanese rice cooker? They gave it to me when they discovered where they could buy a Persian rice cooker. There are rice cookers which will automatically put on the Tadigh layer, the brown crunchy stuff where the rice “burns” on the pan.

Tomorrow night we’ll be having a Persian feast and they are making either 1 or 2 different Polo dishes. We are assigned to make some kookoo, and of course I get to provide the wine. We have good friends coming so I figured, given the savory and non-spicy character of Persian food, I am going to break out some big guns.

I’ve got the 95 Phelps Insignia, I think the 2000 Cos, (or as your friend would put it “COS”), and a nice half bottle of 2001 Rieussec. Plus various Champagne and Chablis and this and that. Obviously the evening will start with a mint julep, which I hope doesn’t wreck everyone’s palate.


I do a mean Zharesk Polo that a really good friend’s grandmother from Iran taught me. Zabzi and Addas polo get thrown into the rotation every now and then as well. The real secret to rocking Persian rice is to age your basmati for several months to get the really good nutty character. Also, using the right ratio of 1:1 butter to water on the pan bottom as well as knobs of butter on top of the cooked rice during steaming yields the perfect tahdig. She taught me exactly what the burning should and should not sound like to get the best results.

I love Zereshk Polo, the beautiful sour “hit” of those red bar-berries gives it a wonderful tanginess. I like most varieties, I think Susan may have mentioned “jeweled rice” which is the one with sweet carrot matchsticks and raisins. Naturally there will be nan-e barbari cooked on the grill and chicken kebabs.

You have touched on another big cultural difference between Japanese thinking about rice and much of the rest of the world. When I was getting advice about what rice to buy, my Japanese friends were eager that I should get only the NEW crop, because basically there is an idea that rice grows stale, that the true freshness of Koshihikari rice is a fleeting thing. In fact I got the new crop, which had been sealed in a foil bag with nitrogen gas.

I have heard of aging Basmati rice – but I wonder about doing that with Koshihikari? I will have to offer my neighbors enough Koshihikari to try in a polo, or even better I should make my own Polo according to your method and see how it compares. There is a whole lot of dogma here and it’s hard to guess which parts make sense.

Both the Japanese and Persian take their rice making very seriously…that is for certain. I am not sure any aging benefit to the Koshihikari. I like it for it’s freshness and great texture. Basmati, and more specifically Himalayan origin basmati, ages for some time before being brought to market in Iran from what I gather.

Using a Japanese variety with a Persian technique should be interesting. I am guessing that it will “burn” faster and more readily, so I would recommend a lower temp. Of course, that is just a WAG.

I see – what you said above made me think you were using Japanese rice in Persian cooking.

Now I understand better.


Ah confusion…

Nope, I use Basmati for Persian and Greek dishes.

I just swipe some preperations techniques from them and translate over to the Asian side to use in those regional dishes.

I don’t really like the Nishiki brand of medium-grain rice. i’m not exactly sure why. There are some Japanese brands of medium grain “nishiki” rice or other California-grown brands that I find perfectly fine. I’m lucky to live in an area where there are several Japanese supermarkets (Mitsuwa and Nijiya) and tons and tons of Chinese supermarkets carrying many many brands of rice.

Koshihikari I tend to use more for sushi or “simple” and “light” Chinese dinners. I find using Koshihikari for strong dishes like various Chinese stews/braises (or water boiled fish haha) or Japanese-style curries to be wasteful.

I don’t have details on how Zojirushi cooks its rice, but I imagine in their default cooking cycle, it includes a kind of “quickened soaking” period when the cooking pan slowly comes up to temperature. Just a guess.

Perhaps someone should start a thread on Asian noodles. I’m even more super particular about my noodles.

Cary, FWIW my Japanese friends (there are so FEW in New Jersey) are downright contemptuous of Nishiki rice. I was being tactful with Bill Tex…