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My supermarket has stopped stocking Japanese ingredients, just as I decided to make a Katsu Curry for my dinner party tonight!

I have Paella rice and Risotto rice (Arborio) - both by Sainsbury's and I know that they should both be ok substitutes as they are traditionally short grain white rice (although the box of arborio lists it as medium), but I want to know which is better.

I am planning to cook according to this BBC recipe.

Which rice is my better bet and are there any considerations/changes to the recipe?

  • What is the rice advertised as "paella" rice? Is it Bomba? – moscafj Feb 10 at 15:47
  • I did try and work it out but the box doesn't say! The ingredients just list "white rice from Spain" – Bee Feb 10 at 15:49
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There is a QA about the differences between paella and risotto rice on this very site, but it doesn't really answer your question.

For your purposes any arborio rice will do, the secret is to make it sticky using technique. Firstly, don't rinse the rice, you want to keep the starch, not wash it off. Next this you want to first put the rice and water into a pot and let it sit for a couple of hours, this will loosen up the starch on the outside of the rice. Then cook the rice as normal in the same water you soaked it in, letting it sit for 10 minutes after it is done. Don't stir, you want to keep the starch on the outside of the grain as much as you can.

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  • Hi GdD, I appreciate your response, and I did already find that question and read through the answers. Whichever rice I end up using, I'll definitely try soaking for a couple of hours before I cook! Would you let it sit in the water you're going to cook it in (having rinced thoroughly as per the recipe I linked) or would you use that as a "final rince" – Bee Feb 10 at 16:03
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    Don't rinse it, let it cook in the water you soaked it in. I've edited with more detail. – GdD Feb 10 at 16:04
  • I understand that you want some level of starch but I'm surprised that your recipe disagrees with the one I found so much (I usually trust BBC) just to clarify, this isn't for sushi, just for eating on the side of a Japanese dish – Bee Feb 10 at 16:09
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    The BBC is a great resource, but in this case I don't agree with them. You don't want it as sticky as sushi rice, but if you plan to eat this with chopsticks you will really want it to stick together pretty well! It's much more authentic with sticky rice. – GdD Feb 10 at 16:14
  • GdD - I have checked multiple sources online for cooking rice in a Japanese way and they ALL say to rince 3-5 times, then soak and drain before cooking – Bee Feb 10 at 17:28
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As it looks like this won't get an answer (presumably because they are as good as one another/no one has tried side by side) I thought I'd update with what I did.

I used the Paella rice because it had a shorter grain and Japanese rice also has a very short grain.

All the recipes I found online (I browsed about 5/6 of the top results) said to rinse until the water is clear so (sorry GdD) but I ignored the advice above for the most part. I needed to wash about 8 times before I gave up - the water wasn't completely clear but it was better than it had been.

I then soaked the rice for a couple of hours (because I had time) but most recipes agree that you should for at least 30 minutes. I then drained and added cold water at a ratio of 1:1.7.

I put the rice on the stove with a lid on and brought it to the boil.

I boiled for 10 minutes and removed from the heat and let it sit for another 15 minutes. It's apparently important that you don't remove the lid.

I added a tbsp of mirin per 300g of rice and 'fluffed-up' the rice with a plastic rice spoon.

The rice was definitely sticky and there is no way I would have wanted it more so (in fact it was probably slightly too sticky) so I am very glad I washed the rice and will probably try rinsing a couple more times in the future.

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