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Jun 26, 2009 08:36 AM

How come we don't salt japanese/korean rice? or do you?

I was wondering why you never read instructions to add a pinch of salt to short grain rice when cooking, and wanted to know if it is because it is generally cooked in the rice cooker, or because of the flavor? I know it doesn't really matter..... right? Looking to be educated... yet again!

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  1. Because the accompanying food is usually seasoned with soy sauce, which is salty?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Channa

      hmmm but basmati rice is usually eaten with curries, which are salty, no?

    2. I do. Rice without salt just taste too bland.

      1. Your question got me thinking. I consulted my favorite Asian cookbook: Essentials of Asian Cuisine by Connie Trang. This book really transformed my Asian cooking and I highly recommend it! She goes in depth about rice, different kinds and how they are prepared in different regions. I could not find any reference by her to salt the water. Not in her educational sections or recipes. I know that does not answer your question “why”.

        By the way, using a rice cooker is not Ms. Trang’s preferred method of cooking rice. She states, “In my opinion, the rice cooker makes dry rice, especially when the cooker has a warming cycle…” She likes to use a Chinese clay pot. Probably not a common thing found in kitchens.

        I always cook rice in a “regular” pot and don’t use a rice cooker. And, I will add a teaspoon or so of soy sauce in with the water and rice. I do this especially when I make fried rice. I like the taste better this way than adding soy sauce afterward.

        3 Replies
        1. re: EvZE

          that's a great idea about the soy sauce. Everyone says to season every step of the way, and that would season rice straight off. I am far too lazy to wean myself off my electric rice cooker. I did try to add salt once to the rice cooker and my grandmother smacked my hand like it was some kind of heresy, so curious as to other people's habits. I just don't know any asian people who salt their short grain rice.

          1. re: aforkcalledspoon

            But it may be salted after cooking, for example the salt-sugar-vinegar mixture that is added to sushi rice, or the salt water that used when forming onigiri.

          2. re: EvZE

            Re the rice cooker yielding dry rice. I have a 25 year old japanese model electric rice cooker that takes water in the main pot with the rice and then water in the outer chamber. I always add way more water than called for in the outer chamber so that the extra moisture contributes more steam to the process. My short grained rice always turns out very moist and delicious. I never use the warming feature; always too eager to eat it!

            I prepare long grained rice in a regular sauce pan; I just like the way it turns out better.

          3. If it's plain rice, I never salt -- be they Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Indian, American, Spanish, etc.

            1. No need for the salt.

              Salt and/or butter to good quality steamed rice makes me cry. Don't even bring that soy sauce bottle near. I will slap it out of your hand.

              Good rice is sweet and has a fragrance of its own. It needs no other help. It's meant to be filler and a foil for stronger flavored dishes.

              I can't bring myself to mess with such simplicity.

              5 Replies
                1. re: fuuchan

                  'slap it out of yourhand'
                  Love that!
                  I would never thingof putting salt on my JAsmine rice either.

                  1. re: fuuchan

                    I 100% agree with fuuchan. It is a shame when good rice is spoiled by soy sauce!

                    1. re: CreativeFoodie42

                      We had a lovely thread some years ago in which a Korean American girl worried about the bad impression her American boyfriend was making on her relatives when he put soy sauce on the rice. :)

                    2. re: fuuchan

                      Another agree here! I researched great rice brands and bought one at our local Korean market and it was life changing. Great rice is so lovely and almost creamy. Not to mention it stays soft and supple even when cooled. So good!