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For those of us who use a rice cooker, a rice paddle (Shamoji) is a given. Manufacturer usually offer them as an accessories. However, we never really know how useful they are until we lose them. While you can use other spoons, they can either damage or ruin your pot coating. Luckily, there are several alternative you can buy online.
What are Shamoji
Shamoji are Japanese Rice spoons that are designed to serve rice. They are characterized by its large flat scoop with a slight curve. Traditionally, they were carved from wood. However, today they are mostly made of plastic. Shamoji are often used in order to protect them lining of the rice pot. Where as metal utensils can scratch the wood or teflon coating.
Wood vs Plastic
While wood are still used, they lack some of the benefits that the plastic one have. Namely the sticking issue. If you stick a wooden rice paddle in cooked rice, they will stick. To remedy this, you need to stick it in water beforehand. Another issue is durability. Wood absorb a lot of water. If you leave it soaking in the sink, it can split or crack. However, for plastic rice spoons, these are not really an issue.
With that being said, there is something satisfying about using a wooden rice paddle. From the feel to the texture, it just invoke a sense of authenticity. You will often time see it used in Japanese restaurant.
Why not Metal?
In order to damage teflon or wood, you need something that is harder. Since metal hardness is much higher than either wood or plastic, it will easily damage the pot. While this doesnt really stop people from using their fork, its not recommended.
How do You use a Rice Paddle and Fluff Rice
When you are making sushi, you cut into the rice diagonally so the vinegar can penetrate the rice. To fluff rice, just stick the spoon in a rustle it a bit. This prevents the rice from becoming one big clump. Its best done when the rice is finished cooking. Wait about 5 minute before doing so. This lets the excesses moisture drive off.
How to Clean a Rice Paddle?
For plastic Rice paddle, just use simple soap and water. It should slide right out. You can also soak it if the rice gets crusted on. The same goes for the wooden variety. Although, I would limit the time it soaks in water. If you can, wipe it clean right after use.
I recommend that you store your rice paddle right by the rice cooker. They usually have a little holder to the side.
Best Rice Paddle and Spoon List
Below, you will find a list of some of the Best Rice Paddle and Spoon. There are two option, either wood or plastic. Choose one that best suits your needs.
Inomata 1150 Rice Paddle (Best Plastic Rice Paddle)
For a simple and easy to use rice paddle, choose inomata. You get a set of two and its integrated dimple makes sticking a non issue. This specific model is made in Japan and should last decades. The build quality is great to boot.
Joyce Chen Burnished Bamboo Rice (Best Wood Rice Paddle)
For a wooden rice paddle, consider the model by Joyce Chen. The handle is ergonomic and the scoop is designed to be scraped. You can pull it against the bowl to get most of the rice out. Best of all, its really affordable. However, rice will stick if you dont stick it in water before hand.
A rice spoon is a necessity if you cook rice regularly. They dont damage the bowl and is generally great for serving rice. Since manufacturer only give one spoon, have a spare is really handy. While I think the plastic one is generally better, wood is a great alternative. It feels more authentic to me…
Looking for a Rice Cooker? Check out our article on the Best and Most Expensive Rice Cooker.