I have said on numerous occasions that the single greatest thing I have learned since embarking on my bento journey is that you can freeze rice. Growing up in a Japanese-American family we either made rice fresh or microwaved leftover rice. That might make sense for a family of four but for two working adults it is a pain. Enter the Just Bento Cookbook and the dawning realization that it is okay to freeze rice if you do it the right way. Even better, by freezing it in unit dose format you can exercise portion control and always have a convenient amount of rice to work with. For myself and my fiance we have discovered that 1/2 cup is the perfect single serving size. If you love rice as much as I do, this will seem small but it should encourage you to fill your bento with other things besides rice.
The Right Way:
a. Grab your Saran Wrap brand plastic wrap. Throw it away. No seriously, throw it away right now. To steal and alter an analogy from Neal Stephenson: You do not use Saran Wrap because it is a superior product, you use Saran Wrap because their marketing has convinced you that it needs to be part of your life.
b. Drive down to Costco or Smart and Final and buy yourself a giant roll of stretch-tite plastic wrap. It will come in a giant roll and you will likely use it for years. If you have never used proper food preparation plastic wrap than you are in for a bit of a shock. Real plastic wrap is extremely thin and sticks to itself well. It should look roughly like this:
Doing the rice right:
1. Make some rice. I use a rice cooker, apparently you can make it in a pot but I have my doubts. My theory is that Asians invented rice cookers around the time they discovered fire.
2. Grab a 1/2 cup measuring cup and start scooping out moderately packed cups of rice. You want to do this as soon as the rice cooked so you can capture as much moisture as possible.
3. Place each scoop in its own square of plastic wrap. I suggest doing this one at a time for consistency.
5. Once you have a nice cylinder shape, flip in the sides and roll up the excess like a humus wrap. Repeat on your remaining rice. I find that when I cook up 2 cups of rice I end up with about 5X 1/2 cup servings. So when I cook for two I cook up 4 cups of rice on Sunday so there is enough rice for the whole week.
6. Throw them in your fridge as soon as you are done. Reheating them easy. Nuke the rice for about 1 minute, give it a quick massage to break up any chunks and then nuke it for another minutes. Mind the hot steam and enjoy!