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Natto
09-17-2012, 02:16 AM
Post: #1
Natto
For those of you who enjoy Japanese food, this has got to be one of the most important meal in Japan. Breakfast, lunch and dinner...yes breakfast. And that's rice...or what the Japanese call gohan (pron: Go-Hawn). There are two ways to cook the rice. Electric cooker or on the stove. My mother taught me both...thank goodness. So allow me to share what I learned. Let me begin by saying that cooking rice is more than just cooking rice. There is a long-held tradition that has been around for more than 10,000 years or from the Jomon period. Cooking rice is a spirit or an energy that demands your full energy.

Cooking on a stove: When you get your rice or the okome (pron: Oh-Co(like COal)-meh), you wash away the impurities. Most rice are either gluten or talc free, but you still need to wash the rice. After the water is clear, you allow the okome to soak in the rice...for a minimum of 30 minutes to hours. I used to soak the rice for 24 hours. Then after you soak the rice, drain the water. Next comes the interesting part. Depending how you want the rice: sticky or semi-dry, depends on the amount of water you cook with. I like sticky rice, so I use equal amount of water to rice. So 5 cups of okome to five cups of water. If you want less sticky rice, use less water. Say five cups of rice to 4 to 4.5 cups of water.

The next step is to boil the rice on the stove at the highest temperature. You keep your eyes on the lid and watch for bubbles. When the water is boiling and the water is seeping out, lower the flame to low, get an egg timer and let it cook for 30 minutes. When the egg time dings, turn off the flame and let it cool. You can serve immediately and have rice for your meal.

Electric Cooker: You essentially do the same washing, soaking and then water to okome count. Honestly? When my grandmother was alive, she cooked rice on the stove and then we got into the rice cooker. You can tell the difference.

One word of advice. Do not leave one grain of rice in the bowl, do not put butter or ketchup on your rice and if you need some flavoring, furikake would be fine. One thing I hate the most is when you have a bunch of rice left in your bowl and it's a pain to get the last grains out. The secret? Ochazuke お茶漬け and drink the last grains.

Next recipe? Natto!
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