Everyone knows sushi, of course, but there are lots and lots of other rice dishes in Japan.
Rice boiled with something else – bamboo shoot rice, chestnut rice, gomoku rice with all kinds of vegetables, matsutake mushroom rice.
Or donburi – rice with a topping – cutlet don, beef don, oyako (chicken and egg) don, tempura don.
Even sushi comes in all kinds of different styles – the famous nigiri sushi, sushi rolls that everyone loves, oshi (pressed) sushi, temaki (hand rolled) sushi, mazeh (mixed) sushi.
And there’s o-inarisan (rice in deep-fried tofu pockets), and of course onigiri rice balls, too. The list goes on and on…
One of the star players in the rice planting season, though, is green pea rice.
I like my peas quite firm and with that wonderful sparkling green they have, so I don’t boil them together with the rice but cook them separately and add them at the end. If you like your peas softer you can skip part 2 below, and just throw them in with the rice when you boil it.
The wonderful fresh taste of spring greens, with just a bit of saltiness.
- 1 cup green peas
- 3 cups rice
- 600cc water (650cc if you don’t soak the rice in water first)
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1. Ideally you should soak the rice in water before you boil it. In the hot summer months for about 30 mins, an hour in the winter. (But don’t worry, you can just wash the rice and boil it straight away if you’re in a hurry!)
2. Put 500cc of water in a pan with some salt and bring to the boil. Add the peas, and boil till they are the softness you like, then strain the peas, keeping the water.
3. To boil the rice, use a pan that has a tight fitting lid. Add the rice, water from the peas, vinegar and 600cc of water (adjust if the water is not enough) with 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Close the lid firmly and put on a medium heat until the water boils (judge this by the sound – don’t open the lid!), then continue boiling for another 2 minutes.
4. Reduce the heat a bit and cook for 5 minutes, then reduce to a low heat for another 6 minutes.
5. Remove the lid and check quickly if the rice is done. If there is still some water, cook some more on a low heat for 2 minutes or so and look again. When the rice is done, add the green peas, put the lid back on and heat quickly for 10 seconds or so on a high heat, then leaving the lid on the pan take it off the heat and leave to sit for 10 minutes.
6. Mix the rice and peas gently with a rice spatula, being careful not to crush the rice or peas, and your green pea rice is done!