Japanese Food and Recipes

Very few of life's pleasures compare to real Japanese food. At one time, most people's knowledge of Japanese food was limited to sukiyaki and sushi. As Japan takes a more central role in the world, their food too becomes more appreciated, and rightfully so. Properly prepared Japanese cuisine is a culinary delight that all gaijin who appreciate good food should take advantage of.

How to use a Japanese Rice Cooker

Perhaps no food is more important in Japan than  rice. It is important to to properly prepare it to cook Japanese food, as a wide range of dishes use rice. And once you know the basics, it is rather simple to use a Japanese rice cooker.

There are three steps to preparing sticky rice:

Rinse:

Japanese short grained rice comes out of the package covered in a starchy white powder that needs to come off before cooking. Thoroughly rinsing the rice will turn the water milky white. Use clean water to rinse the rice three or four times. 

Add Water:

Rice and water should be at a 1:1 ratio in the bowl. For every cup of rice put into the bowl, add one cup of water. For two cups of rice, add two cups of water, etc. Use the markings on the side of the rice cooker bowl to measure water.

*Unless you are making rice for sushi or rice porridge, use the 白米 measuring guide to measure the water

Choose Settings

After putting the rice cooker bowl back into the rice cooker, pick your settings according to your desired results. You will generally have the cooker set to the "normal" settings and after that, all that is left to do is hit the big red start button.

Cook Time

It usually takes between 40-45 minutes on the normal setting for the rice to be done. If you would like your rice to be done slightly faster, you can hit the button or set it on a setting that may look like this 白米急速 (rapid rice), or like this 早焼き (fast cook).

How to use chopsticks in Japan

Gaijin in Japan will often be complimented on their use of chopsticks, known as "ohashi" (お箸). However, a large number of both gaijin and Japanese do not hold them properly. As reported by Kotaku, only 30% of Japanese in their 40's and 50's properly hold their chopsticks. So while receiving a compliment on your chopstick skills is wonderful, that alone is far from a guarantee that you are indeed correctly using your utensils.

Holding chopsticks

In order to properly hold a pair of chopsticks, wedge the thick end of one down between the thumb and pointer finger. Support it with the ring finger. Use the tip of the thumb and pointer finger to hold the other, with the middle finger as support. Only the middle and pointer fingers move, and thus, only the chopstick held by those fingers move. The thumb remains stationary.

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