Washing Rice

My shamoji (rice paddle)

My shamoji
(rice paddle)

As a kid, I hated eating rice. My childhood rice-related memories are all about something dry and completely tasteless, usually served together with some meat. I was only able to swallow the rice with sufficient butter melted on top, or mixed into the gravy.

While washing the rice for tonight’s dinner, I thought what a long way it was for me from “Uncle Ben’s parboiled rice” to the “Yume Nishiki” Japanese grain I usually eat these days.

Aside from taste and texture, the process of preparation is so very different: instead of throwing pre-packed little plastic bags into the boiling water, I thoroughly wash my rice several times by hand. Then, I put it in a colander for 20 minutes, and afterwards soak it in water for a few hours before eventually boiling it. I take care not to loose a single grain during the process. Often I cook it together with kombu, or further process it to some sushi rice by adding vinegar, or form it into onigiri rice balls.

This way, by washing it slowly and carefully, a bowl of rice becomes something special, a delicious, precious meal full of taste and flavour!

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