Thomas J. Story

Discover the difference using not just seasonal, but micro-seasonal, Japanese rice can make with a subscription to food advocate Momoko Nakamura’s brown-rice blends

Sunset Staff  – September 11, 2019

Portland-born, Japan-based Momoko Nakamura (aka Rice Girl) helps preserve traditional Japanese farming methods with her company, Kiki Musubi, which blends brown rice varietals according to the season and delivers a bag to your door every few weeks. We spoke with Nakamura about why you should work this specialty ingredient into your dinner rotation. 

3-month subscription
   

How Is Seasonal Rice Different from Supermarket Rice? 

“My seasonal rice is made in alignment with the Japanese micro-seasonal calendar of 24 seasons across the year,” Nakamura says. “There are about 300 varietals of rice in Japan, but most people can only name one or two. I blend about three varietals each time for a quirky, unique batch.” 

Thomas J. Story

Do You Have to Cook It Differently? 

Nakamura’s preferred way of cooking her rice is to scoop uncooked rice into a bowl, add a generous amount of water, and clean the rice by using her hand to gently stir the water in a circular motion. Drain the water and repeat two more times, then transfer the rice to a Dutch oven or kamado-san rice cooker. Add twice the amount of water as there is rice. Bring to a boil over medium heat, add a pinch of salt, turn to high, and let cook 1 minute. Reduce to low heat, cover, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. Turn off heat; remove from stove, uncover, and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff and transfer rice to a bowl. 

Kamado-San
   

What Should We Eat It With? 

During autumn, Nakamura’s favorite way to enjoy rice is to mix it with roasted root vegetables or a variety of roasted mushrooms for a simple, warming meal. We like a blend of enoki and shiitake mushrooms and chopped onions softened in a little butter over medium heat.