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Buttery Nori-Speckled Rice

Helen Healey / TODAY

Chef notes

My goal here is to show you how to make a perfect pot of rice — something that's simple for some cooks, and a source of kitchen insecurity for others. An ingredient as ancient as rice needs extra care and patience to reveal how special and delicious it can be. If you love your rice cooker, great, but I do believe knowing how to cook rice in the ol' pot is an essential skill to have (sorry for the peer pressure).

This rice will be perfect on its own, a little sticky and nutty, and if that's how you want to enjoy it, then leave it be. But I couldn't help myself from giving it something more in the form of nori and butter. The nori blooms in the butter and creates this vibrant deep-sea green while extracting the salty flavor of the nori into the fat. As you fold it into the rice, you'll see how each grain gets coated in the speckled butter, and then you're ready to dive in.


  • cups short-grain rice
  • 1 sheet toasted nori
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt



Put the rice in a medium bowl and fill with lukewarm water. Run your fingers through the rice, gently swooshing the grains around to loosen the starch. The water will quickly become murky. Dump out as much water as you can and repeat until the water runs slightly more clear (another three or four rinses). Drain well because you don't want any excess water going into the pot, which will cause mushy rice. Don't want that.


Transfer the rice to a small to medium saucepan (with a diameter no wider than 8 inches) that has a tight-fitting lid. Pour in 1¾ cups fresh cold water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Give the rice a stir to help keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. As soon as you see a bubble or two, give the rice one more stir, then cover the pan and turn the heat to low. Cook until the water has evaporated, and the rice is tender, 16 to 18 minutes. You have to trust me on this and not lift the pot lid to peek, please. I'll know if you do. Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit (leave that lid on tightly!) for 10 minutes, so the grains can absorb any excess water.


While the rice rests, tear the nori sheet into small-enough pieces to fit in a spice mill or blender. Finely grind the nori until it becomes a powder. Set aside.


Set your smallest skillet or saucepan over medium heat and add the butter. Once the butter is completely melted and beginning to foam, turn off the heat and sprinkle in the nori powder. Stir so the nori blooms and stains the butter.


Fluff the rice with a fork, pour in the nori butter, and stir gently until each grain is coated. Then put the lid back on for 5 minutes. (Trust!) Uncover, sprinkle with salt, and stir before serving. Every bite will be delicious, but the occasional bite with flaky salt will make you lose your mind.