For foodie people...!!! Staple food of the Japan : Rice

This article is for foodie people. Rice is Japan's principal food. Let's go through this article for more details.

Historically for a long time rice was a food reserved for the warriors and the nobility. It was consumed by the majority of the population only from the seventeenth century onwards and until the early twentieth century not becoming the basis of Japanese food. The powers, however, lend to this cereal and its multiple uses make it a key food of Japanese civilization. Japan's most important crop is rice. For over 2000 years it has been cultivated across the country. In Japanese traditional meals, a bowl of cooked rice is a central part and the grain is also processed into several different types of products including alcohol, vinegar, and flour. In Japanese culture, the significance of rice cannot be overstated. A staple of the Japanese diet is ordinary rice or uruchimai (粳米) and it consists of short translucent grains. It has a sticky texture when cooked so that it can easily be picked up and eaten with chopsticks. It is sometimes labeled sushi rice outside Japan, as this is one of its common uses. To produce sake it is also used. In Japan, Glutinous rice is known as the mochigome (もち米) and it is used for making mochi (餅) and special dishes such as sekihan. It can be separated from uruchimai by its particularly the short, round, opaque grains, it's greater stickiness when cooked, and firmer and chewier texture.

It is short-grain rice. In Japan Contemporary cultivation of rice is characterized by high mechanization, intense cultivation, and a shortage of farmland. Many rural hillsides are covered by terraced rice fields and due to mountainous terrain and government controls on farmland consolidation, they are relatively small.

There are three main classifications of rice:

Long Grain Rice:

This kind of rice can be recognized immediately by its lengthy and cylindrical-shaped appearance. It is the most commonly used rice.  Roughly they are 4-5 times as long as they are wide. The rice stays fluffy yet firm when cooked and the grains are separated and it is not sticky at all. Jasmine rice, Basmati rice, Mexican rice, traditional American long-grain white or brown rice, and European-grown style of rice are some examples of long-grain rice.

 

Medium Grain Rice:

Usually, it is about 2-3 times longer than it is wide. The grains are tender, moist, and slightly chewy and they tend to stick together a bit when cooked. Bomba rice (used in Paella), Arborio rice, and most of the Asian-style rice such as Chinese-style rice are some examples of medium grain rice.

Short Grain Rice:

This type of rice is short and plump and is only a tiny bit longer than it is wide. When it is properly cooked the rice grains cling together without being mushy. The grains of short-grain rice has a higher starch content than regular rice. Commonly medium-and short-grain rice gets combined into the same category, which can make for some confusion. Most of the rice in Japan belongs to the short-grain variety, although you can find medium-grain of Japonica rice being grown in California.

 

You can find 2 basic forms of rice, for Japanese cuisine that are prevalent and both are considered short-grain cultivars of Japonica rice. Uruchimai 粳米 is the first type of rice which is known as the Japanese short-grain rice or ordinary rice or Japanese rice in short. You can use this rice to make sushi, rice balls, and everyday Japanese dishes. It is also used to make sake and rice vinegar. Mochigome 餅米 is the second type it is also known as the Japanese sweet rice or glutinous rice. Commonly it is used to make mochi rice cakes or traditional wagashi sweets. Japanese short-grain rice and mochigome both are characterized by their sticky texture, they are used differently and are not interchangeable. As compared to the regular Japanese short-grain rice mochigome is so much stickier, chewier, and glutinous. Mostly Japanese consume white rice (hakumai), and occasionally brown rice (genmai), which has retained its bran and germ. Genmai contains a higher nutritional value such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals and it is a chewer. In the Japanese countryside, rice fields are a common sight and an image of nostalgia for many people. In the early summer the fields start as flooded paddies and through the season turn into seas of green and gold waves as the rice grows and matures. In the fall the crop of rice is then usually harvested. 

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