TJ’s CALROSE RICE (Med. Grain Asian/Japanese)

For years I have bemoaned the fact that Trader Joe’s carried a number of types of long grain rice – Thai Jasmine, Indian Basmati – which are all terrific. However the one thing TJ’s didn’t carry (until now) was short grain (aka “Asian”) rice. Well finally they do! OK technically Trader Joe’s Calrose rice is a “medium grain” rice however the reality is it’s an Asian type rice, grown in California. Seeing this Calrose rice for the first time made me so happy as it meant I no longer have to trek for rice at H-Mart or other Asian supermarkets, lugging a 20 lb bag of short grain rice back on the subway!

So what is CalRose rice exactly? (Cal as in California). See the link below for complete info.

Maybe you have seen Kokuho Rose rice, or Nishiki? Both are brands of Calrose rice grown in California for the U.S. Asian rice market. Nishiki is an especially popular brand among Japanese people in the US.

One thing I need to point out however are the directions written on this package need some adjustment. I think TJ’s directions saying “simmer for 30 minutes” is crazy and wrong: cook rice for 30 minutes!?! That’s about twice as long as one normally cooks white rice. If you follow the instructions written on the package I think you will end up with overcooked, mushy rice. See my correct instructions below:

HOW TO COOK CALROSE RICE (on stove top). You need a heavy pan with a tight fitting lid. Wash 1 cup rice gently in one or two changes of water. Drain the rice 15 minutes in a colander. Put drained rice in the pan with 1 1/4 cups of water (ie, a little over 1-1 ratio) with a little salt*. Cover and cook on med. high heat. Set timer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes check rice quickly. You should see most if not all of the water gone and a few holes in the rice. Turn heat to lowest setting and cook covered for another 6-7 minutes. After this time, just turn off heat. Don’t open the lid! Leave rice covered 10 minutes. It should be perfectly cooked. You can fluff it a bit with fork or chopsticks. Taste it. If you really think its not done put on low heat for another 4 minutes with a teaspoon of water added. (*I add a little bit of salt to rice however my wife (Japanese/Korean) never adds salt.)

Of course short/med. grain rice is naturally stickier than long grain rice, for one thing making it easier to eat it with chopsticks.

spicy tuna hand rolls

Oh and by the way this Calrose rice is not only for Asian dishes but excellent for other dishes, like Spanish rice dishes calling for medium grain rice, such as paella. You might even try doing a risotto with this TJ rice.

Trader Joe’s Calrose Medium Grain rice sells for $2.49 (2 lb bag ie, 1.25/lb) A typical price these days as rice has gone up in price a lot since a few years ago.

Can you make sushi with this? Yes! Or here’s something way easier than real sushi – serve this rice with Spicy Tuna (with mayo and Sriracha) and sheets of Nori (TJ’s roasted seaweed snacks) and slivers of cucumber for an easy sushi style hand roll. Need a recipe for Spicy Tuna? Here you go!

How To Cook Japanese Rice on the Stove (Video)


6 Comments (+add yours?)

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