Bebe Taian: What to do with all this rice?

January 9, 2011

What to do with all this rice?

I tend to overestimate what I'm actually going to eat when making rice. I love rice! I was so excited to get a super-cheap rice cooker from Walgreens for around $7 years back. It doesn't have a lot of features, but for a beginning rice cooker/steamer, I didn't need too many. I just quickly grease the metal bowl part with a little sesame oil and rice vinegar, and steam rice according to directions. Sometimes instead of water I'll use chicken stock, which I highly recommend for soups! But in my excitement I made 2c of uncooked rice. When cooked, it was a lot more rice than I thought it would be! I ended up keeping the extra in the fridge for a day or two, slowly adding it to soup, stir-frying it with soy sauce and eggs, and trying to think of ways to not eat it plain.

It's cold out, I'm relatively broke, and I have a lot of leftover rice. There's only one thing I can do now- make soup!

One kind of soup is pretty common in Japan: Torizosui. 'Tori' is 'chicken', or 'bird', which is generally understood to be chicken when talking about food. Zosui, to my understanding, is a basic rice soup.


Torizosui - What You Need:

- 2c leftover steamed rice
- 1/4lb chicken thighs (I used leftover chicken breast, since I get more meat for the money), chopped into chunks
- 2.5c dashi (soup stock)
- 2 eggs
- 2tbsp chopped green onion (scallions), or to taste
- 2tbsp white miso (which you can get frozen by the bucket for only $10- a little goes a LONG way! The darker kind seems to be saltier.)
- Optional: a small amount of shiitake mushrooms

Put the dashi into a medium pot and bring to a boil. While waiting for this, rinse the rice in cool water and drain well. Once the dashi is boiling, turn it to low and simmer the chicken for about 5mins, or until the chicken is cooked. Bring to a medium boil and add the rice and miso paste. Stir this gently for a minute. Then, in a separate bowl, beat the eggs as if making scrambled eggs. Slowly drop into the boiling soup, little by little while stirring, like egg drop soup. Then before turning off the heat, add the chopped green onion (and mushrooms if you added them). Let it cool slightly before serving. It should be enough for two helpings.


There's also another kind of simpler zosui: ochazuke. It also uses leftover rice well, since you only need a few spoonfuls for a bowl. 'O-cha' is green tea! There's a really awesome recipe with photos at this great food blog.

If you're going to be making ochazuke *anyways*, why not make some extra rice and put together some onigiri?

Onigiri are Japanese rice balls, either round or triangular, shaped by hand and stuffed with delicious things like cooked fish soaked in broth, pickled plums (ume), or sometimes even a sweet bean paste or vegetables. They're great at room temp and you don't have to worry so much about refrigeration. I've eaten Japanese-made obento (lunch box meals, usually at room temp) hours after they were put together and I've never gotten sick. Just make sure you cook the fish all the way, if you use it! Also, please be sure you use the correct rice. Rice is flexible in soups, especially since many are made with the express purpose of using any leftover rice from breakfast. However, rice balls can only be made with a certain type of rice, so please be sure to get the right kind! Just Hungry will walk you through how to make the best onigiri there are, with plenty of tutorials on selecting rice and ingredients!

Next time you are making rice, be sure to make a little extra to try new recipes with. You may be surprised and find a new favourite comfort food!

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