Thawing frozen rice

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Thawing frozen rice

Postby bella » Fri Jan 16, 2009 12:11 pm

I've been doing a lot of reading about making bentos and using frozen rice. Everything I've read recommends thawing your frozen rice in the microwave to help keep the texture nice. We don't have a microwave. I know, I know, I must be the only person on the east coast without one, but we really don't need one. So what would you recommend that I do? Would throwing it in the oven to warm up work, or does that dry it out to much? Am I doomed to make fresh rice any morning I want to pack a bento for my boyfriend?
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Re: Thawing frozen rice

Postby Biggie » Fri Jan 16, 2009 12:27 pm

A few different ways you can handle this:

* If you have a rice cooker, pop the frozen rice in there with a tiny sprinkle of water, and hit the Reheat (or Warm) button.
* Try re-steaming the rice in a little dish in a steamer (proper steamer, or steamer plate in a pot or pan)
* If you've made yaki onigiri (grilled rice balls), pop them in the toaster oven or oven and bake until warmed.

Anyone have other ideas for bella?
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Re: Thawing frozen rice

Postby TheLibrarian » Fri Jan 16, 2009 11:32 pm

Bella, you're not the only one without a microwave! What works really well for me is to freeze onigiri or single portions of rice in ziploc bags, then defrost as needed on the counter overnight. By morning, the rice is tender and room-temp and ready to go in the bento. I find this works especially well for sushi rice. The only problem with this is if you forget to plan ahead and you find yourself rooting through the freezer in the early morning! Hope that helps.
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Re: Thawing frozen rice

Postby btvsrcks » Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:36 am

Have you thought about a mini microwave? It could also be used to reheat things like coffee.

http://www.random-good-stuff.com/2008/0 ... microwave/

I haven't used one like this bug my coworker keeps one in his office for when he wants to heat up coffee. If you are against microwaves it may not be the answer, but if the reason you don't have one is not enough room, one of these might be the solution.
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Re: Thawing frozen rice

Postby Aless » Wed Feb 04, 2009 2:28 am

Okay, I have a problem in that my frozen onigiri tastes TERRIBLE after coming out of the freezer. It's all dried out and falls apart when you barely touch it. I have them individually bagged and usually either let them defrost on the kitchen counter overnight or defrost in the fridge. Is there anything I can do so that they're more edible after freezing? Right now I still have half a batch of tuna onigiri that I just don't eat b/c I can't seem to defrost it properly.

I think we need a thread brainstorming more onigiri fillings that are from ingredients readily available in western grocery stores, because while I'd love to do all the funky ingredients you guys do, I don't have to time/money to get them!
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Re: Thawing frozen rice

Postby bella » Wed Feb 04, 2009 8:55 am

Thanks for all the suggeestions! We found that steaming the rice awake was easiest. We just pop it in while we eat breakfast and by the time we're done, viola! Rice. Aless, I usually make onigiri fresh in the mornings from the frozen rice that we re-steamed, but as for fillings, we've used imitation crab, cheddar cheese, apples, chicken of various stripes, steak, green pepper, and just about anything else we can get our hands on. Honestly, I made my first ever umiboshi filled onigiri last week, and I've never made a tuna filled one, but we have been making onigiri for years. Use up your left overs and your imagination!
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Re: Thawing frozen rice

Postby TheLibrarian » Wed Feb 04, 2009 7:38 pm

Bella, I applaud your morning initiative. I take evening classes and often don't get home till quite late, so I never have the time or energy to re-steam the rice! It must taste better that way, though.

Aless, I'm sorry to hear about your onigiri woes! I always thaw mine on the counter, rather than the fridge, and the rice seems to regain most of its former glory by morning. But you said you counter-thaw too, so the refrigeration can't be it. The only other factors I can think of that might have an effect would be the size of your onigiri, their temperature when made, and the temp. at which they're frozen...

My onigiri are pretty small, about a rounded quarter-cup of rice each. With larger rice balls, the freezing and thawing could be less even? When making onigiri, I find that the hotter the rice is when forming, wrapping, and freezing, the better it turns out when thawed. It seems counter-intuitive, since I was always told to let food cool before chilling, but with rice, I think making and wrapping the onigiri while hot seals in the moisture, leading to more tender and delicious rice even after a couple weeks in the freezer.

Hope that helps...
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Re: Thawing frozen rice

Postby Aless » Thu Feb 05, 2009 2:24 am

Thanks! Next time I think I'll try and make the onigiri while still slightly warm - as I've been letting it cool completely up until nwow.
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Re: Thawing frozen rice

Postby PixelxBento » Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:39 pm

Would this also apply to frozen coconut rice? Would it be a good idea to even freeze coconut rice in the first place?

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Re: Thawing frozen rice

Postby Pangolin » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:25 pm

According to a couple blogs I've seen, apparently it is okay to make onigiri from coconut rice and freeze it. Here is a recipe and insturctions on making coconut rice onigiri in case anyone else is curious.

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