I've heard that Japanese rice is only delicious when cooked in Japanese soft water. So is it impossible to have tasty Japanese rice when I use Hong Kong hard water?
The hardness of water in Hong Kong is actually more or less the same as in Japan. The water in Japan is slightly more alkaline while the water in Hong Kong is slightly acidic, thus making cooked Japanese rice in Hong Kong less tasty than in Japan. As long as we make use of a water filter to remove the chlorine from the tap water, however, we can still cook tasty Japanese rice with Hong Kong water.
Is it true that only Japanese-made rice cookers can make delicious Japanese rice?
Rice cooker is just a minor issue. The key factors of cooking Japanese rice are the techniques and time control in rinsing and soaking the rice. As long as you master the techniques, any kind of rice cooker can make delicious Japanese rice.
The key of a tasty omusubi rice ball is using 100% Japanese rice. So can all kinds of Japanese rice be used to make tender and chewy omusubi?
Japanese rice is rated according to its sweetness, aroma, stickiness, texture and colour. The criterion for rice used in making omusubis and general meals differs to a certain extent. For example, Milky Queen has favorable sweetness, but it is too sticky, which greatly affects the texture of the omusubi.
Is there any special technique in rinsing Japanese rice?
Rinsing helps wash away the residues left on the surface of rice during the rice polishing process, and ensures the taste of cooked rice. It is better to rinse off the rice 3-4 times before cooking. The way you rinse the rice with your hands is also very important. In traditional rice rinsing methods, people rub every grain of rice with their hands in order to remove the residues. As rice polishing technology has improved, it is not necessary to rub hard during rinsing, and now you can gently stir the rice with your fingertips to rinse off the residue.
Is it necessary to soak Japanese rice before cooking? How long should it take?
As rice is dry goods, soaking can help the Japanese rice become thoroughly soft and make it taste perfect after cooking. It is suggested to first rinse and then soak the rice before cooking. Soaking time is best at around 30 minutes during summer time and approximately an hour during winter time.
How should I store Japanese rice at home?
High temperatures or high humidity will speed up oxidation and thus decrease the aroma and the moisture in the rice. In such cases, rice will be less tender, look less plump and its texture will be greatly affected. Therefore, it is recommended to store the rice in the refrigerator after purchasing and consume all the rice as soon as possible.