Monday, October 13, 2008

Rice Rice and more Rice
As you can tell, my post today is just on rice. I'm sure there are people who dedicate an entire website/blog to rice, but mine will just be one post. For now anyway. I'll talk more about other Japanese food later, but I want to talk about our experience with rice thus far.
Like most Americans, we used to eat rice every once in awhile. For example, when a dish called for it. Curry on rice, Indian buttered chicken on rice, and so on. We typically chose a brown rice as a healthier alternative as well. We did have a rice cooker though which I liked way more than the stove top method. We knew moving to Japan that we should opt for a Japanese rice cooker because they are so much better than common ones in the state. You can program it for different types of rice (white clean rice, brown rice, white dirty rice, and other options I don't even claim to understand). You can also have it set to be ready for dinner in the evening or breakfast in the morning. I have yet to master this skill, but I will by the time we move from Japan!
When we moved in we were able to get all of our appliances contracted in to our monthly rent but they say they are keeping all the appliances rather than us (we are subleasing from a realty company). We are going to try to keep the rice cooker and the microwave convection oven when our two years are up. Lets see if it works, I really like both.
Here is a pictures of our rice cooker and all the buttons I don't understand (Tiger brand).

We now make a batch of rice every day. I don't eat rice every day, but the girls do. Etta practically asks for it every lunch and dinner. She loves how it sticks together and she can easily get it from plate to mouth without dropping three fourths of it on the floor. She even uses her learning chopsticks when eating rice. How to make sticky rice you ask? We use an American white rice called Calrose (it's cheaper on base than buying anything local here). The key is in washing it. I used to rinse it three times but now I'm even better at it. I use the rice measuring cup and do one cup, put in a bit of water and wash with my hands real well. Dump the water and fill it again and wash again. The water is still milky for several washes. Once you can see the rice through the water I consider it clean but drain the rice in a colander to get all the dirty water out. I've used a whisk too when I'm too lazy to use my hands. That works well but is another dish for me to hand wash. I fill the water to the appropriate line, turn it on, and in about 45 minutes my rice is done to perfection. The kids love it.
The girls now ask for rice balls. What's a rice ball, well you can just roll it into a ball and give it to them that way or you can put stuff in the middle. We've seen all different types but we particularly like the salmon filled triangles wrapped in seaweed. The also have seaweed filled, bean curd (yucky), sardine, tuna with mayo, roast beef, and so on. The girls have taken a liking to them, mostly because of the rice. It has taken up until this past week for the girls to enjoy the dried seaweed. They now fight over it. Yuck you may say, but it's not bad at all. Plus, it's extremely healthy for you!

Here are a couple pictures of the girls eating Nori

On the other side of rice, it's everywhere. It's not just sticky on plates or bowls, but it's sticky in hair, on the floor, on the rugs, on your feet! I have to vacuum almost daily because of rice. I also wonder how rice gets stuck in Chloe's diaper? I go to change a wet diaper and there are grains of rice in there. The worst is when I step on rice on the floor, it's hard to scrape it off once it's been smooched on.
That's all on rice for now. I know it's not tons of information, but just our current experience with it. I'm sure we'll have more to say after two years of eating rice. More pictures to come.


Vicki said...

We have a rice cooker, and it is our favorite appliance. You just can't go wrong with white rice, steamed veggies, and a turkey sausage.

The girls seem to be eating very well! It's neat that they try all those different, weird foods. It's a lot better than I could do! :)

Jill said...

What about Rice-A-Roni? :)

Christy said...

Jill, you are so funny. I was thinking about adding somewhere in the blog about how Uncle Ben's has ruined Americans on rice. But I suppose it'd rice a roni too!

Jen said...

Hi! I am catching up on your posts this morning - work has been keeping me very busy this past week and I haven't even had time to blog myself. Looks like you've been having fun!

Lysandra said...

Wow, you wash rice?!

KumamotoJoe said...

I think the yucky stuff in some riceballs is not tofu (bean curd), but natto (fermented soybeans). Yeah, many people who don't grow up eating it--and that includes many Japanese in western Japan--don't care for it. I've tried and tried, but I just can't gag it down.

Just the Sous Chef said...

I am so glad you explained the washing. I always do 3 times and it turns out pretty good in my rice cooker (I LOVE LOVE LOVE rice) but now that I know how important the washing is I am going to do a better job ... I love sticky rice (so does L!). xxoo