Japanese Rice: Central to Tradition

The Many Faces of Japanese Rice

Cooked rice is central to Japanese tradition and for over 2,000 years it was cultivated all across the country. It is barely absent on the dinner table and has come to symbolize the Japanese way of life. Let’s look at the different common types of Japanese cooked rice.

There’s the most common white rice, called ‘hakumai’. It is short grained and sticky when cooked. Most of Japanese rice is polished rice where the outer skin or bran is removed and served as white rice, served with most Japanese meals. The brown rice is unpolished rice, called ‘genmai’. It is not as delicious as white rice but is considered more healthy. The nutrition is in the outer bran which is retained to keep intact the vitamins and minerals therein.

Then there’s the multigrain rice which is white rice with other grains and seeds added for flavor and nutrients, served at some health food restaurants. Finally, there’s mochigome, stickier than regular rice and commonly pounded into rice cakes, made into sweets, or used in rice dishes such as sekihan (glutinous rice with red beans).

How is Japanese rice served? Cooked rice or gohan is the central dish of a Japanese meal or a set meal, other dishes served with it are only accompaniments. Rice cakes or mochi are traditionally made from steamed and pounded glutinous rice, eaten fresh, grilled, fried or served in soups. Especially for New Year, though popular all year round. Rice balls or onigiri are made of cooked rice and commonly wrapped in nori seaweed. They have salt seasonings, dried bonito shavings, or salmon.

The tamago kake gohan is a breakfast dish of a raw egg mixed into a bowl of rice. Chazuke is another simple food consisting of hot water, tea, or light fish stock poured over rice. Kayu is Japanese rice porridge. Donburi is a bowl of plain cooked rice with food on top – it can be beef, raw fish, tempura, tuna, seafood, or chicken and egg. Other forms are the sushi, chahan or fried rice, omuraisu or omelet rice, rice crackers and rice bread.

There are also rice products. Products derived from processing rice are rice wine or sake, rice vinegar, rice flour, and rice bran which is commonly used to make pickles.

Versatility of Japanese Rise in Bothell

Do you see how Japanese rice is almost in all facets of food preparation? Truly, it is central to a way of life. See how we make delicious dishes out of Japanese rice here at your Japanese restaurant in Bothell. It’s in your meal, snack, and your sake.