Mai's Genmai Rice


Being born and raised in Japan and a methodical cook, Mai has mastered cooking the perfect bowl of rice (in my opinion.) When she was visiting Japan and I was at home, I asked her help in learning how to make it myself. The recipe includes both her original guidance and my American translation (dumbing down.) It is a staple in everyday meals in our home. The whole grain, brown, genmai rice has additional fiber and nutrients over most typical white rice.


  • 1 & 1/3 cup (300ml) of short grain, brown Genmai rice (preferably Sukoyaka brand)

  • 2 cups (450ml) of clean water that has soaked in Binchotan charcoal for at least an hour


  1. Rinse rice in cold water in colander then strain & add to 1 quart pot. Clay pot is recommended.

  2. Add water to rice in pot. Let sit for 60 minutes at room temperature.

  3. Heat pot until water begins to boil. Immediately reduce heat to lowest setting & cover pot. Add weight to pot lid to reduce opportunity for steam to escape. Cook for 14 minutes on lowest heat.

  4. Turn off heat and wait 10 minutes before removing lid and carefully mixing/fluffing rice.

Mai’s Original Guidance to Charles

I usually measure with the clear cup [it’s a 150ml cup], 2 cups of rice in colander, rinse rice for a few times in cold water. Transfer rice in a bowl, measure 2 and half cups to 3 cups of charcoaled water in the bowl. Soak the rice for 30 minutes to an hour or so. You can see rice grains turned color white from translucent. Then use any pot you can use middle sized pan we have or the clay pot I use for cooking rice. Start with high heat until you barely start seeing popping bubbles on surface of the water. If you wait until fully boiled, that’s too much, the water will spill over during cooking time. So, watch carefully here, when you start seeing the first few pops, lid on and turn the heat to lowest. I usually use the cast iron lid on top of the lid to make sure steam will not get away. On very low heat, cook the rice for about 12-14 minutes. When the time is up, try listening to the rice without opening or moving anything. You can hear small subtle dry-ish sounds of rice. Then turn the heat off, leave it for 10–15 minutes. Then open the lid, (hopefully the rice is cooked through, no visible excess water) gently mix the cooked rice, scooping up from bottom and mix bottom part and surface part, this will make the steam even out. Ta-da! Done!