Basics & Introduction November 09 2014

ようこそ (Welcome!)

As you may or may not know, Zairyo was created to bring the foodies who take home cooking very seriously together (by 'seriously' we mean people who are really looking for fine ingredients to put a beautiful meal together, not just for Instagram). 

These people don't cook just to put food on the table; cooking is an expression of ideas and experiences, what they present on their plates are dishes that are a culmination of who they are, their experiences, their memories and tastes that are familiar to them. 

These are the things that we want to share - experiences through simple recipes that can be easily replicated at home. Ingredients are just the tools of the craftsmen and how good your crafts are will very much depend on your tools. ;)

Back to "serious home cooks", one such person that we'd like to introduce (so you may stalk him on Instagram) is the man behind the beautiful dishes and photographs of this site who is also a dear friend of ours, Lennard, more commonly known as Lennardy. (But please don't call him that, it's weird.)

We're excited to share a series of simple recipes that will make your meals a hit with your dining party, such as the Chirashi dome (picture below).

Before we get too excited and ahead of ourselves, let's get the basics right: how to cook and prepare sushi rice. 

We often find ourselves thinking about how lame it is for a food site to teach something as basic as this, but when you have a dinner with ingredients flown-in from Japan (such as this uni - sorry, we just had to), you really won't want to screw up the base of a dish (i.e. rice). The stress is going to be real when you find yourself checking the water levels before popping the tub into the rice-cooker, no matter how many times you've done it before. 

So, learn it right and practice. Here's the list of our products, buy something and eat with your rice so you'd be forced to do your rice right. 

Anyway, rice. 

For those who already know how to cook the usual Jasmine rice, cook pearl rice (or Japanese rice) the same way, i.e. same water to rice ratio. Or if you have some special method of cooking Jasmine rice, please follow the following steps too: 

1. Measure your rice. If you are feeding 2 people, 1 cup of rice would be more than sufficient. 

2. Wash grains and drain. Do this twice. Do not over wash, i.e. squeezing the rice too much (it will become pulp if done continuously) or spin it too vigorously. 

3. Fill with clean tap water. If your rice cooking pot has a line, follow the line that says '1', that's the water level for 1 cup. Please look at that line when the pot is placed on an even surface at eye level. 

4. Just to be sure, place your index finger tip on the rice level (finger tip touching the layer of rice - do not sink finger in) and check that the water is up to your first knuckle line.

If your index finger doesn't have 3 knuckle lines,  the water ration is one cup of rice to approximately two cups of water.


When that's done, here's how to make sushi/chirashi rice: 

1. Spread hot cooked rice on to a large flat dish to cool. 

2. Sprinkle Sushi Su over the rice while hot. Note: If you add Sushi Su when the rice has cooled, the rice will become very sticky, forming hard-to-separate clumps. The rice will also lose its sheen. 

3. Coat rice evenly with Sushi Su by using a rice paddle stirring rice from the bottom up (be gentle - you don't want to make rice paste).

4.Once done, leave it out to cool with a fan. Do not put it in the fridge as it will damage the rice. Unless you want to make omu rice. Make omu rice! Mm...

Tip: If you're making onigiri (we like ours with a Mentaiko centre), the rice would be too sticky to the touch. Place a small bowl of water next to you when working with rice. Wet your hands before handling rice (e.g. when making onigiri). Or use a cling wrap like the Japanese.
Till the next じゃね!
♣ Ume-chan