Science of Delicious Freshly Cooked Rice

Science of Delicious Freshly Cooked Rice

What is the secret behind delicious freshly cooked fluffy rice? The steam and fragrant scent that wafts thru the shiny white grain. A fluffy texture and a faint sweetness that spreads as soon as you put it in your mouth. Let’s explore scientifically the reason why freshly cooked rice is delicious.


Reason Why Freshly Cooked Rice is Delicious

Basics of Tasty Rice that Can Be Enjoyed with Your Five Senses

People feel the deliciousness of rice with all five senses. You can see the whiteness and luster of the cooked rice, and you can smell the faint aroma that rises. Sense of touch is stimulated the moment the rice is in your mouth, the elasticity and stickiness of the rice grain against tongue and teeth, and the faint sweetness that spreads as you chew. All of these made freshly cooked rice delicious.

Five Senses & Taste of Rice

SightWhite color & luster of cooked rice
SmellFaint aroma
TasteHint of sweetness
TouchStickiness, elasticity, chewiness & texture to the tongue

The taste of rice varies slightly depending on the rice variety, production area, and cultivation method. The drying and storage method after harvesting also plays a part. In addition, how to wash the rice pre-cooking, how long it should be soaked in water, and how long it should be steamed after cooked are closely related to the deliciousness of rice.
From rice producers to distributors, cooks to people who eat, the deliciousness of rice is relayed to many people and reaches the tables in our homes.

“Ageing” of Rice that Starts the Moment It Is Cooked

Change of Starch

Starch Gelatinization

Rice contains two types of starch, amylose, and amylopectin. The plump and sticky rice that Japanese people like is glutinous rice with 20% or less amylose, and when water and heat are applied, the starch becomes glue-like (gelatinized) and becomes sticky. The act of soaking rice in water and cooking it is this process.

Starch Aging

If the cooked rice is left as it is, the gelatinized starch will return to its original state. This is a phenomenon called starch aging = β-decay, and as ageing progresses, the rice becomes fluffy and hard. The cooked rice contains a lot of water and has a neutral pH, so it is in a state where aging easily progresses. Amylose, which is the source of the deliciousness of rice, also ages quickly, so it is said that it takes about 5 hours to maintain the deliciousness of freshly cooked rice even if it is placed in a rice cooker.

Things that Affect the “Ageing” of Rice

Temperature・If left at a temperature of 60 ° C or higher, ageing is unlikely to occur.
・Temperature of 2 to 3 ℃ is prone to “ageing”.
★If you put rice or bread in the refrigerator, it will age easily.
Moisture・Ageing does not occur at 10 to 15% moisture.
・At 30-60% moisture, it is most susceptible to ageing.
★ Rice and bread are prone to ageing.
pH・Neutral is easy to age.
・Acidic and alkaline are hard to age.
★ White rice is neutral and easy to age, and vinegar rice is acidic and hard to age.
Amylose / Amylopectin・Amylose is more likely to age than amylopectin.
★ Glutinous rice with a high amylose content is more likely to age than glutinous rice.

A Way to Seal “Deliciousness”

Even though rice will “age”, there is also a way to keep the freshly cooked taste. Putting the rice in the refrigerator will be counterproductive. Starch ages at 2 to 3° C. Best way is to divide the cooked rice into portions, spread gently, wrap with cling film, then freeze them after the rice slightly cooled down. By freezing the starch before it begins to age, we can seal in the “deliciousness” of freshly cooked rice. Making vinegar rice or plum rice ball will also help, as it will make the rice acidic, therefore delay the ageing process.

The Best Way to Store Rice

The invisible change in the starch of rice greatly affects the taste of rice. In a way, the deliciousness of freshly cooked rice can be said similar to the “freshness” in fresh produce.

1. Let the cooked rice cool slightly, divide it into portions on plastic wrap, then flatten it.

2. Freezing before it cools completely keeps it fresh.

3. You can reheat the frozen rice in a microwave oven before eating.
★ Use up frozen rice in 2 to 3 weeks.

Translated by idelia (https://gohan.life/users/14)

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