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spring 2010

Unsurprisingly rice is considered the primary source of food in Japan. In fact the name Gohan literally means "meal" and no Japanese meal is complete with out it - from breakfast to midnight "Tsukiyo no kome nomeshi" - rice is delicious at any time of day.

It's important therefore we give Gohan the respect and attention required to make it perfectly. Today many people use electric rice cookers, which is great. However some of us don't have them and as all good cooks who live on the Pacific Ring of Fire know, electrical appliances are no use to you when you lose your power in a 7.1 magnitude earthquake! All you really need is a heavy based saucepan with a tight fitting lid.

Choosing the right rice is important too. Japanese rice is always short grain and usually polished white rice (hakumai) as opposed to the less attractive (if healthier!) unpolished brown rice (gemmai). Names to look out for when purchasing rice for Gohan are "Japanese rice", "Japonica" (N.B Do not get confused with Jasponica! - which is a blend of fragrant Thai Jasmine.) "Sushi rice" or "Calrose" Short grain rice.

In Japan, rice is also prized for its freshness - chefs rush to buy the new rice (shinmai). Sadly it would be very difficult to determine the age of any rice here in New Zealand as all rice is imported and labelled poorly.

Gohan can be cooked with plain water or a flavoured broth/stock to enhance its taste. It is very important to wash and rinse the rice in cold water before cooking. The ratio is approximately 100 grams of rice per-person to 150ml of cooking liquid.

Traditionally the Gohan is brought to the table in a tub made of cedar and dished to each individual's bowl with a wooden rice paddle. The rice is meant to become a little sticky when cooked which makes it easier to collect with the finely pointed Japanese style of chopsticks.

  • Perfect Gohan - Japanese Steamed Rice
  • Japanese short grain white rice
  • water to wash the rice
  • water or liquid stock/broth to cook the rice

  1. Weigh the dry rice - for 4 portions you need 400 grams.

  1. Put the rice in a bowl in the sink and swish it around with plenty cold water.

  1. Repeat rinsing and draining the rice until the water becomes clear.

  1. Drain the rice in a sieve or fine colander and set aside.

  1. Place the rice in a large heavy based saucepan and add the measured amount of water or liquid stock/broth - for 4 portions you need 600ml of liquid.

  1. Let the rice soak in the liquid for at least 30 minutes, 1 hour is best.

  1. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and bring to the boil over a high heat.

  1. At this stage the rice requires careful attention as each stove top hob behaves differently.
  3. Turn the heat down very low, so that the liquid is barely simmering and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed.

  1. Try to lift the lid briefly and check only once or twice to prevent much steam from escaping.
  3. Extra Tips: If you find the saucepan continues to boil too rapidly, lower the heat further or as far as you possibly can. Alternatively if possible elevate the saucepan further from the heat source. There may even be enough heat remaining in the saucepan with the burner switched off.

  1. Remove the pan from the heat, keep it covered and let it continue to steam within itself for 15-20 minutes.

  1. Before serving fluff the rice with a fork or wooden Japanese rice paddle.

  1. Cover the rice with a clean tea towel and the saucepan lid until ready to serve.

  1. Serve

  1. Sprinkle with Furikake or other rice seasonings if desired.

Spring 2010 Front Cover Table of Contents Bron's Thoughts Turning Japanese Tsukemono - Pickles Furikake - Sprinkles
Smokey Chorizo and Broad Bean Skewers Lamb, Broad Bean and Rocket Salad with Mint and Feta Broad Bean and Avocado Dip with Tapenade Straws Savouring Salmon Salmon Cured with Elderflower Syrup Wasabi Pea and Salmon Tartelette
Crispy Skin Salmon with Lemon Chive Cream Baked Salmon with Fennel, Potato and Olives Salmon Rolls with Sweet Chilli Sauce Meringue Loves Lemon Lemon Meringue Pie Lemon Petits Pots de Creme with Meringue Hats
Frozen Lemon Eton Mess A Spring Picnic for Two from Vanille @ Down Under Gluten Free Crackers Fresh Asparagus Soup Buckwheat Crepes with Fennel and Grapefruit Orange Blossom Cookies
Classic & Creative Crepes Suzette Crepes Midori Teriyaki Sauce Taleggio Petits Fours
Pistachio and Lemon Macaron Lemon Pistachio Cheesecake Marbled Brownies Matcha Neenish Tarts Lemon Matcha Custard Cupcakes Uses for Saved Butter Papers Perfect Gohan - Japanese Steamed Rice
Vegetables and Fruit - October/November Bron's Loves A Look Back Tapenade Grilled Pork Fillet, Grapefruit and Lambs Lettuce Salad Lemon Curd Ripple Ice Cream
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