A Guide to Different Types of Rice

You might be familiar with white and brown rice, and perhaps even a few others, but did you know there are thousands of types of rice found around all corners of the world? From basmati, wild, long-grain, and short-grain rice, there are countless families of rice that you can explore to broaden your culinary horizons. Today, we’ll be looking at the main families of rice that you should know about, as well as the types of rice you can cook in our Zojirushi rice cookers. So, are you ready to become a rice expert? Then, let’s get to it!

Rice Types
Though rice comes in many unique shapes, colors, and flavors, there are two main families of rice that you should familiarize yourself with: Indica and Japonica. Indica is long-grained and aromatic rice that grows near the equator, so you’ll see them in countries like India, Indonesia, Southern China, and Africa. Japonica rice is short to medium-grained, which, unlike Indica, has little to no aromas. They also tend to stick together, whereas Indica grains will remain separated. You can find this type of rice in East Asia, like Japan, China, Korea, and Vietnam. Fun fact: Indica is more widely consumed than Japonica!

Here are some of the most popular rice varieties that we recommend you try if you haven’t already:

  1. Arborio Rice: This short to medium-grain rice from Italy has a high starch content and becomes firm yet creamy when cooked. They are often used for risottos and can be easily identified by their short and round grains.
  2. Basmati Rice: this rice is known for its pandan leaf-like aromatics and soft and fluffy texture.
  3. Black Rice: Commonly referred to as “forbidden rice,” this purple to black-hued rice boasts a wide range of health benefits and antioxidants. It has a mild nutty flavor and is harder to grow than other rice varieties.
  4. GABA rice: The brown rice version of sushi rice is “GABA,” which means that the rice has been germinated to increase its nutritional value. Look for this labeling on your rice if you are looking for this particular type of rice. Or if your Zojirushi rice cooker has the GABA brown rice setting you can use that instead of buying it!
  5. Jasmine Rice:this rice is widely consumed in Thailand and is beautifully aromatic. It is slightly shorter and plumper than Basmati.
  6. Sticky/Glutinous Rice: Also known as “sticky rice,” sweet rice has a sweeter flavor because of its higher starch content. As the name suggests, it also becomes very sticky when cooked. You cannot cook sweet rice like regular white rice and must use less water and controlled temperatures to get it to its ideal texture.
  7. Sushi rice: polished short to medium-grain Japanese rice that is highly desired for its stickiness and fluffiness. It is almost always consumed as a white rice variety.
  8. Wild Rice: Wild rice is long-grain rice native to North America and is almost always brown or black in color. It is high in nutritional value and has a distinctly earthy and smoky flavor when cooked.

How to Cook Rice in Your Zojirushi Rice Cooker

If you read this month’s Product of the Month blog, you’ll see that the Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer NS-TSC10A/18A can cook up to five different rice categories (white/sushi, mixed, quick, long grain white, and brown). Now that you understand the difference between Indica and Japonica rice, can you guess why these different types of rice cooking settings matter? Here are some Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer NS-TSC10A/18A settings, explained:

  • Mixed – though this setting doesn’t specify a type of rice, it is useful for cooking Takikomi-Gohan, a popular menu item in Japan. These “mixed rice” one-pot meals are made by adding seasonal ingredients and rice into the rice cooker and pressing start.
  • Long grain white – this rice setting will make sure that your long grain white rice is always loose and fluffy. You can also add a few seasonings to level it up like this “Buttered Lobster Rice” recipe.
  • Brown rice – we tested tons and tons of brown rice to carefully fine tune the cooking flow for this setting to ensure that the brown rice is always perfectly cooked. Here are some great and easy recipes that you’ll want to try with your brown rice.

To learn more about how to cook different types of rice in your Zojirushi rice cooker, take a look at our “Know Your Rice” guide. You can also find tips and tricks to cook perfect rice by visiting our “About Rice” page.
Do you learn anything about rice varieties today? Is there a new type of rice you’re looking forward to trying? Let us know on social media by tagging your photos on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZoFan

Everything You Need to Know about Rice Flour

Rice is by far one of the most versatile foods on the planet, feeding over half of the world every day. But did you know that when it’s ground into a fine powder, rice is a gluten-free, silky smooth, and nutrient-rich flour alternative for home bakers? It’s easy to make, easy to use, and easy to incorporate into your favorite Zojirushi breadmaker recipes. Let us show you why.

What is Rice Flour?

Simply put, rice flour is a fine flour made by grinding rice grains of all types. You can buy pre-ground rice flour at the store but grinding rice flour at home gives you more room to experiment with different rice varieties and to find the taste and texture you love most.

Different types of rice flour include:

  • Glutinous rice flour
  • Brown rice flour
  • Black rice flour
  • White rice flour
  • Wet-milled rice flour: You can also differentiate your rice flour by determining how it was milled. Rice flour can be made from dry rice grains, or alternatively, wet rice grains that were soaked in water prior to milling. Wet-milled rice is a traditional Korean milling technique and a more expensive process for making rice flour which is almost always stored frozen. Some people prefer wet-milled rice flour for making moist foods, like Korean tteok or Korean rice cakes.

You can easily make rice flour at home in a grain mill, blender, coffee grinder, or even food processor. If you plan on making your own rice flour, make sure to start with small amounts so that the rice can blend into a finer powder consistency. Adding too much rice at once can result in large chunks or an uneven consistency. The finer your rice flour, the better it will be for baking.

Brown rice vs. white rice: Different types of rice will result in different flavors, which adds to the beauty of baking with rice flours. White rice tends to be the most neutral tasting, but brown rice flour will have a more earthy taste. Brown rice also has a higher source of fiber, so it can be easier to digest.

After you’ve made your homemade rice flour, make sure to label and date it and store in in the fridge or freezer for up to a year.

What are the benefits of Rice Flour?

You might be wondering, is rice flour healthy? The short answer is yes! Rice flour made from white or brown rice is naturally gluten-free and a great alternative for anyone with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities. It’s also low in sodium, cholesterol, and saturated fat, and because it is enriched with vitamins and minerals, it gives you more nutritional bang for your buck. Because rice has high amounts of fiber, it’s easy on the stomach as well. Lastly, rice is also affordable and has a long shelf life, so you don’t have to worry about your rice flour going bad anytime soon.

Our Favorite Zojirushi Rice Flour Recipes

Now that you’ve learned all you need to know about rice flour, are you ready to start baking? Here are some of our top rice flour recipe recommendations that you can make in your Zojirushi breadmaker for a sweet or savory snack the whole family will enjoy.

You can make any of these below recipes using the “gluten free course” on your Zojirushi Breadmaker or using the Home Made feature on the Home Bakery Supreme® Breadmaker BB-CEC20. For our friends with the Home Bakery Mini BB-HAC10, find gluten free recipes in the instruction manual or try the Butter Mochi recipe below.

Gluten Free Brown Rice Bread: In this recipe, we mix brown rice flour with eggs to add flavor, protein, and moisture to the bread. Potato starch and xanthan gum are used to replace the gluten. Perfect for sandwiches, toast, or your favorite jams and butters.

 

Butter Mochi: A savory dessert that uses sweet rice flour for a soft and chewy cake. You may see these around Hawaii, where it’s a local gluten-free favorite.

 

Gluten & Guilt Free Donuts: Fluffy and delicious, you won’t notice the difference with regular donuts. These sweet treats are best enjoyed with a cup of coffee and sharing with friends and family.

 

 

For more rice flour or gluten-free bread recipes, visit our breadmaker recipe page on our website.

Do you have any special rice flour recipes or tips to share with us? Let us know on social media by tagging your photos on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZoFan

Product Inspirations – Multicooker (EL-CAC60)

New year, new product!

We’re so excited to introduce our Multicooker (EL-CAC60). This appliance is amazing for making foods from so many cuisines – American, Japanese, Mexican, Italian, Indian and many, many more!

Zojirushi Multicooker EL-CAC60

So…do we tempt you with the foods you can make in the Multicooker first or the awesome features of this appliance?

Food it is!

The Multicooker comes with nine menu settings which include Sauté/Sear, Simmer, Low/Slow Cook, Steam, White Rice, Brown Rice, Quinoa, Yogurt and Keep Warm. To sauté or sear, simmer, slow cook or steam, choose one of the settings, the temperature and the time. With the Sauté/Sear setting, we made Gumbo and Pot Roast. Then we used the Sauté/Sear setting to start dishes like Sukiyaki and Texas Chili, which we finished off with the Simmer setting. (Yum.) Using the Low/Slow Cook setting, we made Cioppino and Miso Soup, as well as fresh Tofu. (Hungry yet?) With the Steam menu setting, we made Steamed Dumplings and delicate Steamed Fish with Ginger and Scallions. And if you want to make white rice, brown rice, quinoa or yogurt, the Multicooker automatically selects the correct cooking time and temperature, adjusting for perfect results each and every time.

Cioppino! Need we say more?

And best of all, these menu settings can be customized, like the Low/Slow Cook setting. It can be adjusted to four different temperatures, ranging from 140°F, 160°F, 180°F to 200°F. The Sauté/Sear setting has two customizable options, one for browning meat (410°F) and one for sautéing aromatics like garlic and onions (350°F). Even our Simmer setting has a High or Low option!

Self-standing lid keeps your countertop tidy and clean!

So, how does the Multicooker do all of this? It comes in a 6-quart capacity, and features a tri-ply 18/8 stainless steel cooking pot that rests inside the main body, secured there using convenient resin handles, which stay cool during cooking. The inner cooking pot is 10” in diameter, ideal for larger cuts of meat and poultry, and holds and distributes heat evenly. The cooking pan rests on a large heating plate with 1,350 watt high-powered output allowing high temperature cooking like sauté and sear. Unlike a standard crock pot or slow cooker, this combination of cooking pot and heating plate lets you braise, sear or sauté foods prior to slow cooking. The cooking pot is topped with a lid made using clear, tempered glass so you can view foods as they cook.

An upward-facing control panel makes it easy to use.

The Multicooker features our smart technology, and uses a microcomputer to provide preprogrammed settings and an upward facing LCD control panel to control time, temperature and menu settings. And it features our commitment to safe design through the user of a concealed heating plate, a removable power cord that detaches when snagged to prevent the hot pot from falling off the kitchen counter, and a spill guard that directs hot overflow to avoid accidental scalding. Accessories include a full-color recipe booklet, a stainless steel steam basket and rice measuring cup.

We can’t wait to hear what you’re cooking up in your new Multicooker (EL-CAC60). All of our recipes are in the recipe booklet, and we’d love to know how they turned out for you. Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook and Twitter pages! Simply tag #zojirushi!

A Food Lover’s Tour of Japan – Gifu Prefecture and Savory Gohei Mochi

Our Food Lover’s Tour continues this month in Gifu Prefecture, home of the famous gohei mochi!

Located in Central Japan, Gifu Prefecture represents so many facets of the Japanese landscape and the diverse culture of this area.

The northern part of Gifu Prefecture is mountainous, covered by large swathes of alpine forests, ideal for skiing in the winter and trekking in the summer. The central area of the prefecture boasts clear, fresh springs, caverns and local traditions. And the southern part of Gifu Prefecture is famous for traditional cormorant fishing, modern industry and the confluence of powerful rivers.

One of the most famous sights in Gifu Prefecture is Shirakawa-go, situated at the base of Mt. Haku-san. Shirakawa-go embodies ancient Japanese alpine life, with a river running through the village, nourishing rice fields, a temple, coalhouse and paddock to preserve the old village scenery and 114 traditional thatched roof homes, still occupied along with the more modern residences. Locals continue to practice traditional industrial arts such as weaving, dyeing and culinary arts such as making soba noodles and sake. UNESCO designated Shirakawa-go as a World Heritage Site in 1995.

When not enjoying the snow, visitors to Gifu Prefecture enjoy the onsen, or hot springs, predominantly found in Gero and Okuhida. The hot springs at Gero have been active since the 10th century, and are said to be effective in treating ailments. They’re even nicknamed the “springs for the beautiful” because the smoothness of the water is said to aid in beautifying skin tone and complexion. The Okuhida area also boasts hot springs, five of which are famous in Gifu Prefecture. These onsen–Hirayu, Fukuji, Shin-Hirayu, Tochio and Shin-Hotaka–are scattered along the base of the Japanese Alps, and are surrounded by incredible frozen waterfalls in winter and teeming rivers and white birch forests during warmer months.

The southern part of Gifu Prefecture is widely famous for cormorant fishing along the Nagara River, near Gifu City. This area prospered as a castle town during the 13th century, and to this day, the annual Tejikarao Fire Festival, when portable shrines are carried among a shower of sparks and paraded through the city in the spring. Also in the spring, traditionally beginning on May 11, cormorant fishing takes place along the river, a practice that has been taking place here since the 8th century. Cormorants are aquatic birds that have been trained to catch sweet ayu, a type of river trout. The fishing masters are recognized by the Japanese Imperial Household and showcase this type of fishing until the middle of October.

For those who crave more nightlife, the Okumino Area hosts the Gujo-odori, a dance festival that lasts for 32 nights, within this period, four days are termed “All-Night Dancing” and the participants dance the whole night from dusk until dawn! The Takayama Festival and Furukawa Festival also provide ample opportunity to party, with both festivals showcasing the craftsmanship and artistry of this area–including the production of washi paper and wood carvings—in the floats that are designed for the processions.

But Gifu Prefecture isn’t just about tradition. Many modern industries thrive in this area, from the serious aerospace business to the more whimsical production of plastic food displays. No matter what your interest–skiing, trekking, museums, architecture, onsen, or outer space–Gifu Prefecture has everything to offer…

… Including pleasure for your taste buds! Gohei mochi is a signature dish of this area and is made from cooked short-grain white rice, pounded and shaped onto a flat stick. The rice is then grilled and once crispy, coated with a walnut-miso paste and grilled again. The resulting snack is warm, savory and delicious… and best of all, easily made at home! You may try out this simple recipe!

We hope you enjoyed learning about Gifu Prefecture and as always, share your experience with us… and don’t forget the pictures of your gohei mochi!

Japanese Bentos – Onigiri Fillings

Did you try making your own onigiri last month? Which one was your favorite recipe… the Rice Sprinkles Onigiri or Yaki-Onigiri or the all-time Classic Onigiri?

This month, we’re making more delicious onigiri for our bento boxes, ones stuffed with tasty fillings!

As you know, onigiri, or omusubi, are highly portable convenience foods that are popular bento items. The classic types of onigiri are made with plain, high-quality cooked white rice, coated in salt and shaped into balls, cylinders, triangles or molded into cute shapes like kittens and flowers. Sometimes they are wrapped in dried nori seaweed and other times they are sprinkled with sesame seeds, ground shiso leaf or furikake.

Because onigiri can be filled with ingredients that would help preserve the rice, typically sour or salty foods, they became popular convenience foods before modern refrigeration. Nowadays, all kinds of tasty ingredients are used to stuff onigiri!

Umeboshi

Common fillings are easy to find in Japan and can be found in Japanese or specialty Asian food markets abroad. Umeboshi, or salty pickled Japanese plum, has a strongly sour taste, travels well at room temperature and said to have antibacterial properties.

Shiozake, or salted salmon, is another quintessentially classic filling for onigiri, added flaked and salted to the rice.

Okaka, or bonito flakes moistened with soy sauce, is both salty and sweet, providing a lovely complement for the rice.

Tarako, or salty cod roe that’s cooked and cut into small pieces, makes a deliciously salty addition to the rice

Finally, kombu no tsukudani, or kombu seaweed that has been simmered in a soy sauce based liquid until tender and caramelized, is shredded into small strips then rolled into the center of the onigiri ball.

Mentaiko, or salted pollock roe, onigiri

Other popular flavorings include negitoro, or finely minced raw tuna mixed with minced green onions, shrimp tempura, pickled takana or Japanese mustard leaves, negi miso, or a mixture of miso paste and Japanese leeks, matsutake mushrooms, daikon radish leaves and even karaage fried chicken, Spam® and yakiniku, or grilled beef.

For our bentos this month, we’re going to make filled onigiri. Just like unstuffed onigiri, start with japonica or uruchimai variety rice. When cooked properly, this type of rice clings together without getting mushy. Once the rice has cooled to the point where it can be handled, moisten hands with water and rub a pinch of salt into hands. Scoop about ½ cup of rice into hands, pressing it into a disc-like shape that conforms to the curve of your palm. Place the filling on the rice and mold the rice around the filling into the desired shape, and wrap with nori, if desired. If you are a beginner, you can place a plastic wrap in a small bowl and place the rice and filling on top. Then gather the plastic wrap around the rice and make your desired shape.

We love Shiozake Onigiri, made with home-cooked salmon, and Spam® musubi, which is a variation of omusubi created in Hawaii!

We love onigiri for our bentos and hope that you’ll share your favorites with us, too. Don’t forget to post your photos in the comments!