The ‘Rice Measuring Cup’ explained

Are you ready for a brief history lesson in rice cup measuring? Sounds exciting doesn’t it!

Firstly, a measuring cup of rice does not correlate with a measuring cup we use in western cooking where 1 cup equates to around 250ml.

The  or cup is a traditional Japanese unit based on the ge which is equal to 10 shaku or ​110 shō. Back in the year 1891 it was officially equated with 2401/13310 liters. The  is the traditional amount used for a serving of rice and a cup of sake in Japanese cuisine. Although the  is no longer used as an official unit, 1- measuring cups or their 180ml metric equivalents are often included with modern premium rice cookers.

In dining, a 1- serving is sometimes equated with 150g of Japanese short-grain rice. It also appears as a serving size for fugu and other fish. Since sake bottles are typically either 720 or 750ml, they can be reckoned as holding about four cups.

6.35imperial fluid ounces
6.10US fluid ounces
34metric cup

The gō (合), actually has its origin in China (Chinese: 合; pinyin: gě). One gō (合) is 180 ml, or approximately 25% smaller than the American measuring cup of 8 (US) fluid ounces/240ml, and is regarded as producing enough cooked rice for a single meal for one person.

In Korea, the hob (South Korea) or hop (North Korea) is a traditional Korean unit based on the ge or  which is equal to ​110 doe (SK) or toe (NK). Its exact value has varied over time with the size of the doe.

Volume rather than weight of the rice is the preferred method when measuring rice. Why? This is because all rice does not weight the same and when cooking rice it is important to be exact for rice cooking perfection! The weight varies depending on the grain type and the moisture in the grains. This means for example that a full measuring cup of white Jasmine rice may weigh very differently to a full cup of brown rice and so on. The weight can also vary between rice batch depening on how old or new the crop is.

Keeping up? Okay almost there. So this is where we arrive at modern premium rice cooker measuring cups having a capacity of 180ml. The scale on these measuring cups goes up to 160ml but are actually 180ml. How is this? you may ask. This is because you are supposed to fill the cup to the top (brim) with rice and level it off with chopsticks or a knife to get the full 180ml measurement.

So when you fill with rice to get a full 180ml measuring cup. Don’t forget to go right to the brim and then level off the rice.

We used chopsticks in this demonstration to show levelling off the rice
So there you have your 180 mL of rice in a measuring cup

Using a normal cookery measuring cup instead of a rice measuring cup is a common issue. Also, wrongly thinking that because the scale only goes to 160ml the cup is undersized is often a cause for problems. Remember to level off to get the 180ml proper rice cup size.

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