Culture

Kanji Cheat Sheets

Kanji Cheat Sheets
Kanji Cheat Sheet: Using a Japanese Rice Cooker
By GaijinPot Blog October 21, 2020

Coming from another Asian country, I can confidently say that Japanese rice is completely different from the rice I grew up eating in the Philippines. From its shape to its texture, Japanese rice feels much more dense and sticky.

As delicious and filling as Japanese rice may be, if you aren’t familiar with how to maximize the buttons on a Japanese rice cooker, you’ll miss out on making some Japanese dishes like rice porridge (おかゆ). 

Japanese rice cooker controls

To start off, let’s get acquainted with some of the controls on the menu (メニュー). While the positioning may depend on the model of rice cooker, generally these are the buttons you should watch out for. 

If you’re in a rush and can’t wait the usual cooking time, the “fast cook” button comes in handy (すいはん) It should be ready in around 30 minutes or less. 

Would you like to schedule your rice to cook automatically (やく)? You can do so by clicking on the reservation button then select the number of hours until the rice cooker will automatically cook. For example, you leave home in the morning and want your rice piping hot when you get home, simply calculate the amount of hours you’ll be gone and time it to start an hour from when you’re about to arrive. Rest assured, if you do this properly you can expect to come home to a freshly cooked bowl of rice after a long day of work.

How to use your Japanese rice cooker

The most general step-by-step process to cooking rice using a Japanese rice cooker is as follows.

  1. First, place the desired amount of rice into the bowl that comes with the rice cooker. 
  2. Depending on whether the rice you’re using is pre-washed (せんまい) you may not have to wash the rice. To wash the rice, run the rice under water and drain it until the water is clear. 
  3. Afterwards, add the specified amount of water marked inside the bowl for white rice (はくまい), mixed grains (たきみ), and brown rice (げんまい). Take note that the amount of water necessary varies. When in doubt, place enough water to reach the first line of your middle finger. 
  4. Then, using the menu button, scroll through the options in accordance to the kind of rice you’ll be cooking. It should pop up on the small screen. 
  5. Lastly, click on either the standard cook button (すいはん) which takes anywhere from 40-55 minutes to cook or press the fast cook button (はやだき) which can take up to 30 minutes and wait until you hear a beep! 

If you happen to be cooking rice porridge (おかゆ) there may be an option if you scroll through the menu button a few times. 

EnglishJapaneseRomaji
Rice cooker炊飯器suihanki
Menuメニューmenyuu
Cook the rice (doubles as “start” button)炊飯suihan
Fast cook (doubles as “start” button)早炊き hayadaki
Rice porridgeおかゆokayu
Scheduled cooking予約yoyaku
Keep the rice warm保温hoon
Cancel取り消torikeshi

Types of rice in Japan

For the different kinds of rice you can use for the rice cooker, refer to the table below. Aside from just cooking rice, you can also add different kinds of vegetables like mushrooms or even soy sauce to add some flavor.

EnglishJapaneseRomaji
White rice白米hakumai
Pre-washed rice無洗米 musenmai
Mixed rice grains炊込みtakikomi
Brown rice玄米genmai
Barley rice麦ご飯mugi gohan

Now that you’ve gotten to know the basic controls and the different types of rice, the possibilities are endless. Go make Gordon Ramsay proud and experiment with your Japanese rice cooker!

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