What can I do with old(ish) cooked rice?

menkoiii
Bento-ing from: Tokyo (Fuchu) › Japan
Joined: 1 Feb 2011
User offline. Last seen 1 year 38 weeks ago.

Hi Maki,

I hope you are feeling better. I said in another comment, I love your website. I re-read my copy of Just Bento about once a week. I've tried out other books, but I still love yours. It's really got me started cooking again and I really love making bentos. I <3 you!

If you have time, maybe you could answer a question for me. I live in Tokyo with my Japanese boyfriend. I'm Canadian and am not a big rice eater (unless it's your takikomi gohan recipe(s), which I love!) and only eat it about once a week. We always have the problem of cooked rice that has been around too long. I know rice should only be kept for 24 hours (or so?), but there always seems to be left over rice that my boyfriend will NOT throw out. His solution is always, 'Just leave it, I'll make chahan' (fried rice for anyone reading). I know the answer is probably, don't eat expired rice, but that's just not an option - he'll eat it regardless as some sort of bizarre man-cooking concoction. Is there anything I could make with it, or is there any way to re-fry it, that makes me feel a bit more happy about putting it in a bento? Usually I will make myself a different bento with a few of the same items, so I probably won't eat whatever the rice dish is. I usually only cook two rice cooker cups of rice but lately I have been making so many other things there's barely room for rice in the bento box! Maybe another solution is just cook one cup at a time.

Thank you!!!

Jennifer

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Loretta
Moderator
Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 16 weeks ago.
Re: What can I do with old(ish) cooked rice?

Hello menkoiii

I'm answering here as I know this problem well. When my husband lived with his father in Tokyo he had the same difficulty. His dad would make a batch of rice up and keep eating it until it was gone. If my husband had a job where he was away from home for several days that rice would go off, but it would still be eaten, his father would NOT throw it out either.
Now that his son has moved to London to live with me, my father-in-law has come up with a solution. Perhaps it will suit you guys. He makes up a batch of rice then puts it into several containers, each enough for a single serving. The portions of rice are allowed to cool, sealed and placed in the freezer. His Japanese microwave has a setting specifically designed to cook a cup of frozen rice.
No more funny tummies!

Another approach that might suit you as you're not that fond of rice is to make bread with it. You can get a new breadmaker for 5 or 6 thousand yen and second hand ones turn up regularly in the classifieds for sayonara sales. You'll need to use it before it goes off, of course, but it might be a way you can add more rice to your diet.

Lori
Re: What can I do with old(ish) cooked rice?

I make a version of rice calas, or fritters. The sort you get in Lousianna are usually deep fried, like beignets- but to avoid the fat, and deepfrying, I do mine on a griddle like pancakes. I usually use 2 cups of cold rice. In a bowl, beat up a couple of eggs, a spoonful of sugar, and about a cup or so of milk. Add the rice and let that sit while you get everything else ready, so the rice gets a bit of moisture absorbed. I mix together about 2 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, and a pinch of salt. Add that to the rice/milk mixture, aim for a thick pancake batter consistency. If you like, and my kids do- add in cinnamon and nutmeg to your own taste, plus a dash of vanilla. Heat up the griddle or frying pan, grease it lightly with a pat of butter or margarine. Drop the batter on by spoonfulls, and cook like you would a pancake. When they are done, and while they are still hot, sprinkle on either cinnamon sugar (the favored topping in my house) or powdered sugar. Or eat them as is, with jam or whatever. Sorry I can't give you more exact measurements- but I've done it so often I do it on autopilot now. In fact, they are so popular my kids will put extra rice in the cooker to be sure there is leftover rice. Primarily, you make up a pancake batter and add in the cold rice- so if you have a favorite recipe for pancakes it will work as well. I also freeze rice packed in 1 cup amounts to make the morning packup for hubbie and eldest daughter (college student herself) easier. You can toss left over rice into just about any kind of broth as well, for soup. You can mix in any kind of dried fruit or veggies you like, roll it into balls, and have that as lunch as well. Make rice pudding, or reheat the rice in milk with a bit of sugar and raisins, add a pat of butter, and call it breakfast. So far as not liking to throw out rice, I was told by an old Korean grandmother that it was considered bad luck to do that. She told me her mother told her that you would go hungry one day for every grain of rice you wasted. My grandmother was kind of the same way about bread, in fact. So I imagine it has some cultural roots in the past, when food could be scarce. You just didn't waste it when you had it. The fritters will travel well enough in the bento, as would the pudding. And frozen rice, while not as nice as fresh cooked- can save packup time in the morning. And when it's cold, the rice soup or morning breakfast porridge are nice.

menkoiii
Bento-ing from: Tokyo (Fuchu) › Japan
Joined: 1 Feb 2011
User offline. Last seen 1 year 38 weeks ago.
Re: What can I do with old(ish) cooked rice?

Hi Loretta - I never thought to use rice in bread? That reminds me I need to look into a bread maker though. If I think there is too much, I will also try to freeze some next time. Lori - that recipe sounds great! I am a terrible lover of sweets and carbs, so that sounds like something I could have for a breakfast snack on my 1.5 hour commute! I think the idea of not wasting rice is related to the hardships the Japanese population endured during WW2, but I'm not completely sure. Anyways, rice has to be REALLY bad before it gets thrown out in my kitchen (unless I do it on the sly for real fear of food poisoning!) so I really appreciate these great ideas!!!

Jennifer

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