Rice in Japan, like many other Asian countries, is a staple food. It is eaten at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That could explain why they age gracefully since rice is known to slow down aging.
That being said, there are several varieties of rice used in Japanese cooking. Each type differs from the other in taste, texture, and nutritional content.
Japanese Rice Varieties
White Rice is the most popular rice in Japan. Most Japanese meals are served with white rice, which they call Hakumai. It is polished short-grain rice that is highly nutritious and has a mild taste.
Hakumai is often served with a variety of side dishes and is also used for making sake, a traditional Japanese alcoholic drink.
Brown Rice in Japanese is called genmai, and it is an unpolished short-grain rice that is eaten for its nutritional value. It’s not eaten as much as white rice, but it is used as an ingredient for making Genmaicha or brown rice tea.
Multigrain rice is rice that is made with other grains that may include barley, millet, oats, and brown rice for extra flavor and to increase its nutritional content. There are many varieties of this type of rice in Japan, and it is mainly eaten because it is nutritious. It is also quite popular in Korea as more Koreans are substituting white rice for more nutritious rice varieties.
Glutinous Rice is called Mochigome in Japanese, and it is mainly used for making rice cakes, sweets, sushi rolls, and sweet rice pudding because it gets sticky when cooked and has a sweet flavor. It is also eaten with other dishes like red beans.
Some common Japanese rice dishes
Rice cakes are usually made with glutinous rice, which is steamed and pounded and then molded into shapes. Rice cakes are pretty popular, and they are often eaten on New Year, springtime (when the cherry trees blossom), Children’s day, and Girl’s Day.
The rice cakes are nutritious and cholesterol and gluten-free.
Rice balls, referred to as Ongiri in Japanese, are quite popular, and they are often sold in convenience stores in Japan. They are made with cooked white rice and nori seaweed and contain a filling of fish, pork, Japanese plums, or pickled vegetables.
Tamago Kake Gohan
This is a breakfast dish commonly eaten in Japan, and its consists of cooked rice mixed with a raw egg and seasoned with soy sauce. You can pretty much call it the breakfast of champions. Most Japanese eat their eggs raw or partially cooked.
OKayu is a rice porridge that is often eaten for breakfast in Japan, and it is basically rice cooked in a lot of water. It is thick and soft, and easily digestible.
Sushi is by far one of the most known Japanese dishes worldwide. It is made of sushi rice and other ingredients like vegetables or seafood. It is traditionally made with white rice, although sometimes brown rice is used.
Japanese rice products
In Japan, rice is used for making rice vinegar. The vinegar has a light sweet flavor and is used in sushi rice, salad dressing, pickled vegetables, and marinades.
Rice wine or nihonshu in Japan is quite popular. It is made from fermented rice and has an alcohol content of 25%.
Rice flour is made from ground glutinous or white rice and is used for making rice crackers and sweets. It is also used as a thickener in cooking and as an ingredient for making bread and pastries.
Benefits and uses of Rice
Rice is generally nutritious and a good source of carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, and minerals. It is known to help regulate blood sugar levels in people who have diabetes, boost heart health, reduce the risk of cancer, and aid digestion.
Rice is also used in beauty products and hair products as it is known to clear the skin and stimulate hair growth. It is also used for making alcoholic beverages like rice wine and a variety of food products.
If you would like to try Japanese rice, make sure to buy well-known brands to ensure that you are getting quality rice.
The wonderful thing about rice is that it is highly nutritious and it is easy to make. You can use a rice cooker or cook the rice over the stove. Both methods are effortless and quick. Plus, rice is an excellent accompaniment for vegetable and meat dishes.