Why does my cooked onigiri rice get hard?

SewingDiva
Bento-ing from: Westwood › Massachusetts › USA
Joined: 25 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 48 weeks ago.

I've been working on my rice cooking technique; we don't have a rice cooker (and I don't want one, we have too many appliances already.) We have a good quality electric cooktop and I've been able to get improve my onigigi rice cooking to turn out a really good result. We also cook basmati rice and brown rice on the same cooktop with good results.

But when I try to store the onigiri rice in the refridgerator after about 2 days the rice turns hard and it won't hold together when I try to make onigiri. The brand of rice I've been using is Rice Select and the type is "American Koshihikari". Its grown in the US.

Is this a storage problem or a cooking problem?

Phyllis

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Phyllis

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Loretta
Moderator
Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 9 weeks ago.
Re: Why does my cooked onigiri rice get hard?

I can't imagine trying to make onigiri with rice that's been in a refrigerator, never mind for two days. It's just something I'd never attempt.

I eat onigiri all the time but I've only ever made them from freshly cooked hot rice. It's only now, after years of not using a rice cooker, that I feel able to make onigiri 12 hours later or so as the rice stays warm in the appliance.

Folly
Bento-ing from: San Francisco
Joined: 5 Jul 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 27 weeks ago.
Re: Why does my cooked onigiri rice get hard?

Phyllis, refrigerated rice will always harden up. You've got to restore the moisture to the grains if your want to eat stored rice. Sprinkle the rice with water and reheat in a pot or microwave. The amount of water depends on the the volume of rice.

Best choice for onigiri, however, is to make your onigiri when the rice is fresh, still moist, and hot. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze. Reheat in microwave before eating.

I've been using Maki's technique for making onigiri in a plastic wrapped lined bowl; then when I want to serve it, I have the right size for an ochawan (rice bowl).

maki
admin
Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
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Re: Why does my cooked onigiri rice get hard?

It's a storage issue. The refrigerator is probably the driest place in your house. It's like a cold desert in there! So I recommend never storing rice in the fridge, unless you want separate grains (e.g. to make fried rice or something). For onigiri you want moist, plump grains. If you must store rice or onigiri for later, wrap it up in plastic wrap while it's still a bit warm (the condensation that forms inside the plastic keeps the rice moist) then warm it up a bit in the microwave before proceeding. However, rice stored like this does not keep well, so be sure to eat it within a day.

____________________________________

The Big Onigiri.

- Wherever you go, there you are. -

Re: Why does my cooked onigiri rice get hard?

I see - thank you everyone! I really did look carefully at all of the rice/onigiri tips on Just Bento and of course I mised seeing this information until you all pointed it out to me. So think the key is to make small quanitities of rice the night before, wrap it carefully tokeep it moist and use it up in onigiri the next morning.

rehfilet
Bento-ing from: › Germany
Joined: 11 Aug 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 8 weeks ago.
Re: Why does my cooked onigiri rice get hard?

not quite- make a small amount of onigiri in the evening, wrap them up, put them in the fridge/freezer and just put them in the box the next morning!
the onigiri are best made from warm, directly cooked rice. hydrated starch congeals or sets in the fridge (like glue or starch-bound custards), even if you manage to keep the rice moist. it needs to be warm to be formed properly and stick together nicely, without mushing up the grains.

Folly
Bento-ing from: San Francisco
Joined: 5 Jul 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 27 weeks ago.
Re: Why does my cooked onigiri rice get hard?

If you are going to all the work of washing and cooking your rice, why not make a big batch and then freeze the excess? Biggie over at http://lunchinabox.net/ writes about making rice every ten days for her family of three. She also writes about freezing to fit your bento box. http://lunchinabox.net/2007/02/26/speed-bento-technique-freezing-rice-to...

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