Sunday, August 28, 2011

The comforts of rice... a bento-ish lunch

I'm writing this as I'm sitting on my living room floor, encompassed by the incredible aroma of cooking rice.  Rice is one of my biggest comfort foods.  My family had rice for dinner three or four times a week when I was a kid.  I have a big family (my parents, me, and six brothers!) and rice is cheap.  There was always a twenty pound bag on the floor beside the microwave stand.  And another two or three in the basement, waiting their turn.

I learned to cook rice on the stove.  I couldn't always time it right, and sometimes I burned it.  But I was a kid.  Give me some credit.  I was probably the most excited person in the house when my mom brought home our first rice cooker.  And when I moved out, a rice cooker was the first appliance I HAD to have.  And I've been using that same cooker for the past six years.  It's also the appliance that I use the most.

I love rice in all its incarnations... plain, with soy sauce, covered in a country gravy, or ground beef gravy, Spanish, spam-fried (the only way I'll eat spam...), risotto, cold and covered in cinnamon sugar and milk (really! It's good!)... The list is really endless.  

Usually the only rice I have in the house is short-grain brown rice.  The flavor is nutty and rich.  And, you know, it's better for you than white rice.  Or something like that.  My goal for this pot is to make onigiri.  I've never made successful onigiri with brown rice.  Oh, this is sticky enough.  I think I'm just not pressing them firmly enough out of fear of making hockey pucks, so they fall apart.  Also... I don't think I've done it with freshly cooked rice.

The pot just clicked.  I'll be right back...


There they are!  I think I did it right.  At least, the one I just ate only started falling apart when I got to the nori.  I seasoned them like I do sushi rice... a splash of rice vinegar, a pinch of sugar and a pinch of salt.  I used a mold, but I filled it a little more than I usually do.  Once popped out of the molds, I wrapped the bottoms in a bit of teriyaki flavored nori.  I'll try making one for my lunch tomorrow, and we'll see what we see!

On a related, but not exactly bento note, the rest of my lunch consists of leftover garlic pepper porkloin, steamed carrots and broccoli, a peach (I ate the other half while putting the plate together), and a handful of black grapes.   I've come to realize that I put a fair amount of effort into making my bento lunches colorful and healthy and varied.  And I usually put much less effort into making my meals at home the same.  Usually I would have just eaten a bowl of rice and a peach and been done.  I should likely work on making my at-home meals as good as my packed meals...


I shaped most of the rest of the rice into onigiri (some flavored and some not).  They'll be a great addition to my freezer stash!


  1. What kind of rice cooker do you have? I got one in the past, but it just didn't work well. :(

  2. @Taika Maris... My rice cooker is a cheap black&decker. It's always turned out perfect batches of rice, brown or white. For brown rice, I add a touch more water, but not much.