Microwaved rice cuts back kitchen clutter


POSTED: Wednesday, March 04, 2009

My rice cooker broke a few years ago and I've never replaced it. It's not that we don't eat rice, I've just figured out how to have it without keeping another small appliance on the counter.

I use a 2-quart Pyrex glass measuring cup and the microwave, a technique I learned from Carole Mito in a microwave cooking class she taught in 2003.

When I tell people about this, their eyes light up as though I have just explained magic. Some have immediately gone out to buy the measuring cup.

It struck me that if I put this in writing, more people might find me magical. So here's what you do: Combine 3 cups white rice and 3 cups water in a 2-quart (8-cup) microwave-safe container. Or use the knuckle method of measuring the water; it works fine, too. Microwave, uncovered, on high, 15 to 20 minutes. In my microwave, it takes exactly 18 minutes. The rice is done when all the water is absorbed. There might be a scum on top, but do not be alarmed. Just stir well and let it sit a few minutes.

This method works for brown rice or hapa rice (mixed white and brown), but the cooking time will be as much as 25 minutes and you have to add more water. You can make from 1 to 3 cups of rice this way. Don't try to get away with a smaller cooking container, though, or you'll have boil-over even when you're starting with only a cup of rice.

I cook rice this way when using packaged mixes for rice pilaf and such, too.

You don't really save time with this method, but it means you don't have to have the extra appliance and cleanup is a bit simpler. If you have leftovers, you can put the whole container in the fridge and put it back in the microwave the next day.

I tried the microwave method with ohagi, a recipe requested by Jolene Chang. The Japanese rice ball is a cross between mochi and musubi — traditionally rolled in azuki bean paste.

It's my new favorite thing — a bite-sized, chewy little rice ball. I just wrapped mine in nori, musubi-style.



Adapted from “;Favorite Island Cookery Book 1,”; Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin (1973)

2 cups mochi rice
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
» Toppings:
Tsubushi azuki bean paste
Roasted sesame seeds
Ground nuts

Soak rice in water overnight. Stir in salt. Cook in rice pot, or place in microwave-safe 2-quart bowl or glass measuring cup and microwave on high 15 to 20 minutes (rice is ready when water is absorbed and rice is soft).

While rice is still hot, mash lightly. Add a little more water if mixture is too stiff to mash.

Have a bowl of cold water ready. Dip hands in water. Scoop out 2 tablespoons of rice and roll into 1-inch ball, compressing slightly. Roll ball in your choice of topping. Makes about 16 balls.

Approximate nutritional information, per ball (without topping): 90 calories, no fat or cholesterol, 150 mg sodium, 20 g carbohydrate, no fiber or sugar, 2 g protein.


Nutritional analyses by Joannie Dobbs, Ph.D., C.N.S. Send queries to “;By Request,”; Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813. Send e-mail to: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).