Japanese rice has more than a thousand varieties. It is considered that the most luxury rice grown in the northeast part of Japan – in the Tohoku area. In general, Japanese rice is called “short rice” in contrast to the main Asian variety – Indian, or “long rice.” Japanese “short rice” is slightly different in taste from Indian. It is more humid, sticky and sweet.
Koshihikari is a popular variety of Japanese rice grown in Japan, Australia and the United States. Koshihikari is considered the highest-quality short-grain rice, unique in its characteristics, with hardness, texture, aroma and natural sweetness, which has no analogues in the rice world. This low glycemic rice has properties that make it ideal for sushi or general consumption. Koshihikari retains moisture longer than other rice varieties, which contributes to the perfect formation of sushi. The texture and taste of rice also matter – soft, moist, supple and slightly sweet – ideal for a better sushi flavor.
Other rice varieties similar in quality to Koshihikari, such as Akitakomachi, Hinohikari and Hitomebore were created by crossing Koshihikari with other Japanese rice varieties.
Akitakomachi – This is a high-quality short-grain rice from Akita Prefecture. Since its water content is high, its grain remains puffy. Akitakomachi is especially recommended for sushi, for mochi and dishes in lunch boxes, such as onigiri (where the rice sticks well even when cold). Today, Koshihikari and Akitakomachi are the best and most popular rice varieties in Japan.
Koshiibuki – early maturing variety of the Koshihikari lineage. This rice is similar in taste, luster, smell and stickiness to Koshihikari. After cooking, even if it cold, it does not harden and retains a fresh taste for a long time. This rice is perfect for home or professional use. It is ideal for bento and onigiri. Since it has the same characteristics as Koshihikari, it is also excellently used in cold form. In addition, since it is slightly weaker in stickiness than Koshihikari, it can also be used for fried rice, Chirashizushi – a dish of rice, fish, vegetables and other ingredients served in a deep bowl, Ochazuke (a dish cooked by pouring green tea, dashi and hot water over cooked rice), etc.
Hinohikari is grown in the west of Japan. This is a hybrid of Koshihikari and Koganebare rice. Hino means salute, referring to the Kyushu region in ancient times, and hikari means sun. Together they mean that rice shines when it ripens. Hinohikari rice is well known for its rich taste, despite the fact that the grain is small. It has a thick and chewy texture. When cooking this kind of rice, you need to add a little more water compared to other types of rice. However, when frying, the amount of water used should be reduced.
Hitomebore – a short-grain rice of the highest grade, which originated in Japan. Grains when cooking are shiny and soft, with a sticky but smooth texture. A hint of sweetness and the pure aroma of Hitomebor rice is best suited to traditional table rice or sushi. This rice is delicious on its own, and you can serve it by sprinkling with Furikake seasoning – a mixture of sesame and various algae. Hitomebore’s stickiness makes it one of the best types of rice for sushi or nigiri, as well as onigiri (Japanese rice balls).
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