As you know, rice is an important staple food in Japan. Have you often wondered how to cook rice properly and what the differences are between the different varieties? This short guide will help you.
The types of rice
Believe it or not, there are tens of thousands of varieties of rice. So this grain is extremely versatile. In general, however, rice varieties fall into two categories: Long-grain rice, popular in China and India, for example, and round-grain rice, often used in Japan. Long-grain rice is sometimes referred to as pointed-grain rice. Round-grain rice in Japan is distinguished by the starch content of the grains.
The types of Japanese rice
Uruchimai is used for everyday cooking and this round grain rice is also great for sushi dishes. Mochigome is steamed and has a very sticky texture. It is often used to make rice cakes, such as the popular mochi. But there are other distinguishing characteristics. White polished rice is called Hakumai. In our store you will find the premium varieties Akitakomachi from the Akita region and Koshihikari from Niigata, both from the company Shinmei. The unpolished brown rice is called Genmai. Our favorite brown rice is the Hinohikari rice from the Kagawa region, find it also in our rice section in the shop.
What makes Japanese rice so special?
Rice has been grown in Japan for over 2000 years. Rice farmers have a very hard job - so it takes a lot of strength to grow, care for and harvest the plants. At the same time, the sight of rice fields is incredibly beautiful, and in fact, rice in Japan is not that cheap. Several hundred years ago, only wealthy people could afford rice as food. Japanese rice is very versatile. Not only is it used for eating alongside savory dishes, but it is also made into desserts, alcohol, and even paper. In Japan, the "white gold" is a symbol of a healthy and abundant life.
How to prepare Japanese rice
White rice must be washed thoroughly several times. To do this, scoop the rice by hand through fresh water in a bowl. Then pour off the water and repeat the process about three times. This washes away the starch and bran. When the water is clear, pour everything through a sieve. Now you can either put the rice in a pot with fresh water or, of course, in the rice stove. After ten minutes of soaking, the rice is cooked in the pot or rice stove. Very important: everything with a lid! In the pot, after the first boil, you need to turn the heat to low. After a few minutes, the water is absorbed; then turn off the stove and use the residual heat, stirring beforehand. When there is no more water, leave the rice to swell for another ten minutes away from the heat. The lid remains on the pot for this purpose. A rice stove does everything on its own, of course, but here, too, the rule is: stir and let it rest for at least ten minutes at the end.
MYCONBINI tip: Try here our white Koshihikari rice or Atika Komachi rice. Both are the most popular rice varieties in Japan and the taste is just so delicious. Or maybe you prefer the brown Hinohikari rice? We are looking forward to your comments and reviews.