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Types of Japanese rice


torakris
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I have a simple question concerning rice purchased in the local markets. Due to having Commissary privileges here, I normally buy medium-grain California rice and pocket the savings. But going out to restaurants has raised my rice awareness and I'm looking for something more.

The rice I need would be medium grain and used in meals as a side item or on something like Curry Rice. I went to my local market but the choices (and prices) were daunting. Also, not being able to read the information on the packages doesn't help as well! Could someone forward some pictures of suggested rice packages/bags so I can track it down at the store. Oh, I use a rice cooker to cook the rice....not stovetop.

Thanks in advance!

One other thing....some of my employees mentioned placing a piece of Binchotan charcoal into the rice cooker during the cooking process. They stated it would give the rice a great flavor. Is this true? What does the charcoal do to the rice??

Edited by okinawaChris (log)
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About types of rice available in Okinawa if you don't want to pay store prices...hope some of the Okinawa posters can help you there.

As far as I can see, the charcoal simply "softens" the water and helps it penetrate the rice grain.

Thanks Helen for the reply. I'm not worried about the price, simply looking for information/pictures of suggested brands. I think the markets here carry most of the mainland/national brands so any information will help.

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This is my favorite and I have been buying this particular rice for over a year now.

gallery_6134_1960_15663.jpg

Akitakomachi from Chiba

I pay 3,000 yen for 10kg at Costco

This is a wonderful (and cheap) rice that has also become a favorite of my neighbors and on our monthly trips to Costco we often pick up 6 to 8 bags....

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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The rice I need would be medium grain and used in meals as a side item or on something like Curry Rice.

Is there a reason for going with medium grain rice? If you're eating this with a Japanese meal, why not go for the real thing and get short grain rice?

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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This is my favorite and I have been buying this particular rice for over a year now.

gallery_6134_1960_15663.jpg

Akitakomachi from Chiba

I pay 3,000 yen for 10kg at Costco

This is a wonderful (and cheap) rice that has also become a favorite of my neighbors and on our monthly trips to Costco we often pick up 6 to 8 bags....

Thanks Kris....that's just what I needed! I'll head to the store tomorrow to pick up a bag. I'll let you know how it turns out. Is this brand "No Wash"?

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Thanks Kris....that's just what I needed!  I'll head to the store tomorrow to pick up a bag.  I'll let you know how it turns out.  Is this brand "No Wash"?

It is not "no wash" rice, I haven't run across one of those that I like yet....

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I am not sure how easy it will be to find my Chiba rice as I have only eveer seen it at Costco.

The Kirara 397 is also a good (and also cheap) rice I used it for many years, until I started experimeting with other rices and discovered the Chiba one.

Another favorite is Akita Komachi:

http://akitakomachi.net/akitakomachi/

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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One more thing:

When buying rice, you must consider two factors: variety and place of production.

For example, Koshihikari rice produced in the Uonuma district in Niigata prefecture is considered Japan's best Koshihikari rice and is very expensive, while Koshihikari rice produced in Chiba prefecture in the Kanto Plain is much less expensive.

And, rice produced in the Shiozawa area of the Uonuma district is the very best and is really expensive!

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I buy koshiibuki when I can find it, sorry I threw the bag out before refilling my rice box!

Akita Komachi is another good old standby.

I quite liked Haenuki, but can't remember any particular characteristics.

I don't buy Chiba rice, although of course it's easy to buy here, because Chiba has so many highways and factories etc :biggrin: Living here generates an attitude something like "a rice has no honor in its own country" :hmmm:

I'm always suspicious that maybe the Koshi-hikari from Niigata at my supermarket is really Akita Komachi from Saitama, but probably that's the wrong attitude!

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What makes one brand of rice better then the other? I went to a local Asian market in town and found they had a great number of rices available. Each major style and type of rice had several choices. I was a little puzzled to say the least. Since I don't eat that much rice, I am reluctant to buy more then a couple of 5 Kilo bags at a time so, I don't have that much to compare and contrast regarding taste and texture. In the end, I bought my rice based largely on price believing the more expensive rice was "more" premium then the others.

And, I should note that I recognized a couple of the sacks at that store from the pictures I found in this thread. :unsure:

Sid

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Shokumi (食味, palatability?, eating quality?) of a specific variety of rice produced in a specific location is determined through sensory evaluation by Japan Grain Inspection Association (Japanese only). A panel (group of assessors) determines the shokumi according to these factors: appearance, aroma, flavor, stickiness, and hardness.

Shokumi can also be determined with a shokumi kei (shokumi measuring instrument) or a texturometer.

Generally, rice is considered good if it is white, shiny, aromatic, sweet (becomes sweet when you chew it), sticky, and resilient.

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When buying raw rice, to be honest I don't look at the brand so much as the appearance of the grains. Do they look translucent, rather than chalky? Are they a good size, nice and plump, an pretty uniform in size? No broken grains? No strange dark brown bits mixed in with the grains?

Edited by helenjp (log)
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Yesterday I went to the Japanese grocery store and bought some rice... unfortunately I couldn't remember the recommendations from this thread! I ended up buying some "New Crop" Akita-Otome (it says あきたおとめ on the bag). Any opinions or advice about this particular type? How is it different from the Akita Komachi?

Jennie

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Yesterday I went to the Japanese grocery store and bought some rice... unfortunately I couldn't remember the recommendations from this thread!  I ended up buying some "New Crop" Akita-Otome (it says あきたおとめ on the bag).  Any opinions or advice about this particular type?  How is it different from the Akita Komachi?

Is this a California rice? If so, who is the producer? We usually buy Hitomebore (California) rice. They've startet to sell imported Japanese rice up here in Vancouver, but I haven't tried it yet.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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Yesterday I went to the Japanese grocery store and bought some rice... unfortunately I couldn't remember the recommendations from this thread!  I ended up buying some "New Crop" Akita-Otome (it says あきたおとめ on the bag).  Any opinions or advice about this particular type?  How is it different from the Akita Komachi?

Is this a California rice? If so, who is the producer? We usually buy Hitomebore (California) rice. They've startet to sell imported Japanese rice up here in Vancouver, but I haven't tried it yet.

Hmm. I think it is a Japanese rice, but I'm not sure. I'm at work now so I don't have the bag with me. It looks like the picture on this webpage, though.

Edited by jeniac42 (log)

Jennie

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Yesterday I went to the Japanese grocery store and bought some rice... unfortunately I couldn't remember the recommendations from this thread!  I ended up buying some "New Crop" Akita-Otome (it says あきたおとめ on the bag).  Any opinions or advice about this particular type?  How is it different from the Akita Komachi?

A quick search on the web shows that it is California rice and available in the US and the UK. I could find no references to the name in Japan.....

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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No useful information from me, either, except that one person says here that her favorite American brand of rice is Akita Otome, and one person says here that it tasted good, another says it's not the greatest, and still another says it wasn't good. So, will you be the one to try it and report on it here?

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I think any of the short grain (California) brands are a good choice if you are looking for an authentic, Japanese-style rice.

I would personally avoid any medium grain rice (Kokuho Rose) or medium-short blend (Tamaki Classic).

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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I will be trying it as soon as the rice cooker arrives (on Tuesday - I've already got dinner planned for the next two nights because of ingredients that are going to spoil) and I will be sure to report back. I'm afraid I really don't know much about rice, beyond whether or not I think it tastes good!

Jennie

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I thought the Akita Otome (あきたおとめ) rice was pretty good. I forgot that it was new crop rice and so I used too much water. When I make it again I will use a little less and use the Hard setting on my rice cooker. Overall it had a good flavor and the texture was nice despite my error.

Jennie

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