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japanese rice

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I was given a packet of 'Koshi-Hikari' rice. Any hints or observations would be appreciated. I was thinking of using it for risotto....

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  1. All I know is that it is a short grain rice.

      1. Should be good for risotto. Your rice is a Japonica rice (as opposed to the broad class of Indicas), as are most rices grown in Italy. The only difference is that risottos are usually made with medium grain rices; while the Koshi-Hikari is a short grain.

        1. Somehow when you say you received a packet, it makes me think of a very small quantity. How many pounds did you receive?

          Quantity issues aside, I personally wouldn't make a risotto with it, as risotto really takes advantage of some rather unique properties of the arborio grain. First off would be the obvious: simply plain white rice to be eaten in the context of a Japanese meal.

          Plain rice could be ammended with a whole world of traditional toppings, such as natto, furikake, or tsukudani. I remember growing up also using a raw egg lightly beaten with a touch of soy sauce. Natto is the "infamous" fermented soy beans, known for its pungent aroma and mucilagenous texture, furikake are wonderful combinations of various dried toppings, and tsukudani are various preserved seafood or vegetable items. The only issue for the new shopper unaccustomed to purchasing these items is that they are each found in very different sections of the market.

          One can think of many more toppings, but at some point when larger amounts of protein items are added, it becomes more like a donburi and is served in larger bowls.

          This could also be enjoyed as an ochazuke, basically green tea poured onto rice with appropriate seasonings and toppings. This is most easily done by using one of many off-the-shelf toppings, some of which only require the addition of hot water. The most common varieties include Japanese smoked salmon, Japanese pickled plum (apricot, actually), or with seaweed and tiny "pearls" of rice crackers.

          If one wanted to go in another direction one could cook the rice, for instance, with sansai (Japanese wild mountain vegetables) directly in the rice cooker.

          Yet another option would be to make okayu/ojiya, or porridge. I find that with just a simple okayu, plain rice with salt boiled into a porridge, one can most taste the pure taste of a good rice. (Ojiya is basically okayu with various flavorings.)

          5 Replies
          1. re: cgfan

            How about onigiri? A popular convenience store chain came out with a koshi-hikari line of onigiri a few years ago and they were great.

            1. re: Silverjay

              Why of course! Good catch, Silverjay!

              And to which we can add variants such as yaki-onigiri (yum!)...

              If only the 7/11's in the States had onigiri like the ones in Japan!

              1. re: cgfan

                Actually, it was LAWSON'S that did it...My favorite was the one with a chunk of salmon in it, but the one with a chunk of gyu-kakuni (stewed beef belly)....

            2. re: cgfan

              thanks for this info. As you surmised, it's only a small packet - about a pound, so I think I'll take your advice about the plain rice/Japanese meal context.

              1. re: bruce in oakton

                Again, your rice is a Japonica with a similar amylose content and grain shape as the best risotto rices. Of course your rice is perfect for gohan, but would make a fine risotto.