March 22, 2010

Rice: To Drain or Not to Drain (3/3)/お米: 水を切るべきか、切らざるべきか(3/3)

This rice and vegetable store recommends zaru age, as follows:
Drain (in a colander), cover with wet cloth, and let stand for about 30 min. in the summertime and about 1 hour in the winter, so that the rice can absorb water thoroughly.
When simply soaked in water to absorb water, the rice will have different water contents on the surface and at the center. In short, by the time when the center of a rice grain contains enough water, the surface of the rice grain will contain too much water.

In an experiment report, they say:
The rice simply soaked in water is rather soggier when cooked than the rice drained in a colander (and then soaked in water). There is hardly any difference in texture, flavor, aroma, and so on.
(Words in parentheses are added by me.)

This site, run by an okome meister (rice meister), talks about zaru age, as follows:
The hard rice in the past used to be drained (and let stand) in a colander to cause cracks on the rice and accelerate water absorption, but the present (soft) rice does not require zaru age.
(The words in parentheses are added by me.)

In her blog, another okome meister says she does not recommend zaru age because:
The rice, which has absorbed water in the washing phase, will then be in contact with the air, so that it will evaporate the water and dry itself. What will happen if water is added to the rice, which has been dried and cracked? It will break up.

She goes on as follows:

For those of you who WANT to wash rice and then let it stand,

Wrap in plastic wrap or put it in an airtight container.
And, preferably, put in a fridge.

1. For soft rice, which is the prevalent type of rice in Japan today, neither zaru kiri (draining for, say, 5 min.) or zaru age (draining and letting stand for, say 30 min. to 1 hour) is necessary.
2. For hard rice, zaru age may be effective, but should be practiced with care.




最初に研ぐ段階で、水を吸収した米が今度は空気にふれ どんどん水分を蒸発させ乾燥させていきます。乾燥し ひび割れたお米に また水を加えると どうなるか・・・砕けます

どうしても 洗っておいて置きたい、と言う方。

(さらに 冷蔵庫にいれるとベストです)

1. 現在、日本では主流の軟質の米の場合は、ざる切り(5分程度、水を切る)もざる上げ(30分から1時間程度、水を切り、放置する)も必要ない。
2. 硬質の米の場合は、ざる上げは効果的かも知れないが、注意して行うべきである。


Arthur3030 said...

These three zaru kiri versus zaru age posts are fascinating. (All your posts are fascinating--I subscribe through gmail rss.)

Could you please translate the words literally? What's "zaru" and what are "age" and "kiri"? I also see these words in other Japanese cuisine contexts.

My friends from Haiti have their own odd theories about rice cooking. They fear that rice will become soggy if washed before the water is boiling to cook it. So they wash the rice and then throw it immediately into boiling water. Funny.

It's fun to drain for a long time, then soak for a long time, then cook and give it to them. They're shocked that the rice is firm.

I have always cooked rice zaru age and drain for a full hour in a colander. Now I'll have to experiment after this blog entry.

Thanks for this amazing blog.

Hiroyuki said...

Arthur3030: Thanks for your compliment!

zaru = colander
kiri = cutting
kiri comes from kiru (to cut)
In Japanese, we say "... no mizu wo kiru" to mean "drain ... of water".
age = lifting
age comes from ageru (to lift, to raise).
age can also mean something deep-fried.

Your comment about friends from Haiti is interesting. In Japan, Japonica, short-grain rice is usually eaten, and I don't think my posts about draining rice apply to long-grain rice.

Amato said...

Dear Hiroyuki,
Thank you very much for these interesting posts about rice. (I’m sorry I answer this late, but I was very sick last week, I’m ok again)
I already have tried soaking the rice for 30 minutes and my opinion, it tastes much better than without.
If I read German instructions for cooking Japanese rice there is always no soaking at all. But my opinion is the rice we can buy here is older and drier. Taste was much better after soaking, especially for cheaper rice kinds.
Right now I let it always soak: no matter if I make sushi or just plain gohan.

Hiroyuki said...

Amato: Thanks to you and David for having inspired me to write these posts.

Your comments remind me of what kind of rice we used to have back in the 1960s, when I small. I think the quality of rice was much lower then, and probably that's why people used to let rice drained for a long time.