New Year is fast approaching so I thought it’s about time to start preparing what I’m going to cook on the day and I decided to make Sekihan. New Year is a big celebration in Japan and one of my favourite parts of the holiday is the big feast that we eat.
Sekihan, which is a type of Japanese rice made from glutinous rice and azuki beans, is one of the delicious foods that we eat as part of the New Year’s feast. I published this recipe a year ago, but since I gifted myself a Duo Plus 60 Instapot pressure cooker this Christmas, I decided to update my Sekihan Rice recipe using my new machine.
By now, many Japanese people would have started to prepare and cook the New Year’s feast, called ‘Osechi Ryori’ in Japan. Many dishes are usually flavoured and seasoned well to prepare for New Years day so that everyone can relax and celebrate New Year’s days without the hassle of cooking. However, all of my family are in Japan, which means I don’t need to prepare a big feast for anyone so I just make small amounts of New Year food on the day.
Nowadays many people order Osechi Ryori from department stores, local supermarkets, and Japanese restaurants. Close to the end of the year, you will see brochures advertising Osechi Ryori. It would be much easier to just order the food but since I no longer live in Japan, that’s not possible. However, it’s still nice to cook this easy and delicious Sekihan at home and at least feel as though I’m in Japan for New Year.
Using a pressure cooker, this Sekihan Azuki bean rice is very easy and only requires two ingredients; Mochigome (glutinous rice) and Azuki beans, which nowadays can be found in outside of Japan. In Australia (and other countries), they can be found in Asian or Japanese grocery stores or in the Asian food aisle of regular supermarkets.
The type of rice used to make Sekihan is glutinous rice(it is also called sweet rice but it is not sweet), which is the same type of rice that is used to make mochi (rice cake) so it’s sticky and very filling! That’s why it is also called ‘Mochigome’. The rice grain colour is very white unlike ordinary rice, which is transparent. This type of rice can be bought from Asian grocery stores or online Mochigome
Sekihan is a traditional Japanese rice dish, served at many other festivities too, like birthdays and weddings, because of its celebratory red colour. Traditionally, the rice is cooked by steaming, when we did not have pressure cookers. If you are going to decide to cook this dish in the traditional way, you need to soak the rice in water for 6-8 hours and if the rice is old, it needs to be soaked for longer. Then drain the soaking water and steam cook it.
When we cook ordinary rice in a rice cooker, we let the rice grain absorb some water before cooking it so that when the rice is cooked it is soft. However, do not leave glutinous rice in water if you are going to use a rice cooker or a pressure cooker, because the water absorption rate of glutinous rice is higher so there ends up being not enough water to cook it or if you add water to cook, it ends up soggy.
My mum always makes this rice for New Year’s because she knows how much we all love it, especially my son. I am going to freeze this as Onigiri for him so that he can eat this when he comes back in two weeks time.
My food photo improvement with Nagi’s Photography Book.
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Sekihan- Azuki Bean Rice
- 2 cups of glutinous rice used the cup attached to the Instapot
- 1/4 cup azuki beans
- 2 ½ cups water
- 1 tsp salt
- Black sesame to sprinkle
Instructions for Instapot
- Wash the azuki beans and drain out the water.
- Add 2 & ½ cups of water and the azuki beans in a pressure cooker. Close and lock
- the lid and set the Instapot.
- Press [Pressure cook] then use the [+] [-] button to set 10 minutes and press
- [Pressure level] button to set low pressure. *1
- While pressure cooking the Azuki beans, wash the glutinous rice and drain the
- When the pressure cooking time is up, release the pressure instantly, by pressing
- [Cancel] on the front panel and then turning the steam release on the lid to
- “Venting” position.
- Open the lid and scoop up the water with a ladle and pour it back in. Continue this
- step a few times to make sure the colour comes out later in the rice.
- Add the washed rice and the salt. Close and lock the lid and set the instantpot.
- Press [Pressure cook] then use the [+] [-] button to set 3 minutes and press
- [Pressure level] button to set low
- When time is up, let the Instapot continue to cook using the cooker’s residual heat
- and steam by pressing [Cancel] and wait for the pressure to come down naturally
- (takes about 20 minutes)
- 10. Once all the pressure has released, stir the rice (without mashing or over-mixing)
- then serve with the sprinkled black sesame!
Instructions for pressure cooker
- Wash the azuki beans and drain out the water.
- Add 2 & ½ cups of water and the azuki beans in a pressure cooker, lock the
- lid and cook over high heat.
- When the pressure indicator pin rises, turn the heat down to low and cook
- for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, wash the glutinous rice and drain water.
- Release the pressure in the cooker rapidly (as per the instructions of your
- pressure cooker).
- Open the lid and scoop up the water with a ladle and pour it back in.
- Continue this step a few times to make sure the colour comes out later in
- the rice.
- Add the rice and the salt and put the lid back on and cook it over high heat
- and wait for the pressure pin to rise again.
- Once the pin rises, turn the heat down to low and leave for 3 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and allow the pressure to release naturally.
- 10. Once all the pressure has released, stir the rice (without mashing or over-
- mixing) then serve with the sprinkled black sesame!