April 11, 2010

Bikkuri Daki (Surprise Cooking)/びっくり炊き

In response to Amato's question, I did a quick Google search for how to cook brown rice, and I immediately learned about "bikkuri daki". This sounds quite interesting, so I decided to introduce it here in my blog.
First, the introduction to this way of cooking brown rice from the site above:
This way of cooking has been handed down since the Edo period in the Akita district.
This method, "bikkuri daki", enables you to cook brown rice plump and soft just like white rice for relatively a short time.
You can use a normal pot, and you need not soak for a long time.
You can cook brown rice right away when you want to have some.
This method is very easy.

Sounds promising, does't it? In the following description, the Japanese text will be omitted.

1. Get brown rice ready.
When cooked, 1 go (= 180 ml or cc) of rice will be equivalent to nearly 2 bowls (o-chawan) for adults.

2. Wash with water lightly.
You don't have to soak for a long time.

3. You can use a normal pot like an enameled or stainless steel one.
A donabe is used here.
Add 1.2 to 1.5 times as much water as rice.
The older the rice, the more water.

4. Put on the lid, and heat on high heat.
If water boils over, lower the heat.

5. In about 15-20 min., the water will be reduced, giving off aroma.
If you are worried about whether the rice is scorched, you can take off the lid from time to time to check it.

6. When you hear sizzling sound, take off the lid, and add cold water.
The amount of water should be 0.8 to 1.2 times the rice.
"Bikkuri daki" is so called because you add bikkuri mizu (surprise water).
If you want to cook your rice soft, add more, and if you want to cook it hard, add less.

7. Stir well, put on the lid, and continue to simmer.

8. In 10 to 15 min., turn the heat to low, and then turn off the heat. (Note: The original Japanese text is vague here as to when to turn off the heat!)

9. Let stand for about 5 min.

10. Take off the lid, and mix well.

Edited to add: The third photo from the bottom of the site linked to above shows all of the 1 go of brown rice cooked with this method, while the second from the bottom shows all of the 1 go of brown rice cooked in a normal way. You can see the considerable difference in amount.


Amato said...

You are the best, Hiroyuki, thank you so much!
This is great, I had real problems with the translation especially the "surprise".I understood, the rice is very tasty, this is the "surprise".:-)
I didn't try this method yet, but it is much better I think, the other method I already tested
(didn't work, rice was very dry) needs soaking for 5 hours.
Bad for me, because often I decide very spontaneous what I like to cook.

YSC said...

Hi Hiroyuki, this sounds great! I like to eat white rice (we get very good koshihikari in California) but sometimes feel guilty because it's not so healthy. As an excuse, I always say that my children are too small to eat brown rice... Now I guess I should try this out instead. Can I use a regular donabe to make this (it looks like that in the picture) instead of one for rice? And do you think I can make it in the rice cooker just by adding more water, or is that impossible? Thanks ;)

Hiroyuki said...

Amato: I will try the method myself when I have brown rice and post the results in my blog.

Hiroyuki said...

YSC: I think a regular donabe will do. I wonder if there are donabe especially for cooking rice (laugh). I envy you, because I'm sure that Koshihikari rice is much cheaper where you live.
Rice cooker? That sounds like a great idea! I will try the method by using my IH rice cooker instead of a regular pot when I can get brown rice.

Amato said...

Great idea with the rice cooker, I will try it now.I mean, really now, I start cooking in 5 minutes.

YSC said...

Well, I tried this method out tonight using my donabe and brown rice. I think I didn't cook it long enough though, for the rice was a bit soggy. I was a little worried about burning it so I turned off the fire early (although the total time was still longer than the instructions). I think the rice was not bad -- just a little too wet.

My other problem might have been not letting the rice sizzle properly before adding the cold water (again, I was worried about scorching!). Must try this again and see if I can get it right!

Hiroyuki said...

YSC: Thanks for your report! The website I linked to in the post says that the surprise water will cause the brown rice skins to be broken, enabling the rice to absorb more water. I think that to get that effect, you will need to cook the brown rice to such a level that it is almost scorched.

I will try that method myself when I can get a 30-kg bag of brown rice.

One more thing: I was wrong. There are donabe specifically for cooking rice:
Of course, you don't have to buy such a special donabe. Any pot will do.

Amatō said...

I just wanted to tell you, I have tried the method and liked it very much!
I only used too much water, because I was afraid my rice is old(it was not :-))
The rice was very soft and delicious.I liked it a lot also next day as a stir fry with some veggies.

Thank you!

Hiroyuki said...

Amato: I'm glad to know that! I wish I could try that method soon, but I still have about 10 kg of white rice left in the rice box.