Last Friday, I took a trip to Nagaoka to attend a parents meeting at my son's high school in the afternoon. I took a 6:46 train to spend the whole morning visiting the Yamamoto Isoroku Memorial Hall and other interesting places. After attending the meeting, I dropped by an imported food shop and bought these:
Corn grits, apricot jam from Switzerland, and Jasmine rice.
Today, I made "dry curry" for supper and had it with Jasmine rice.
Believe it or not, this is the first imported rice all my family have ever had in our lives.
I'm curious what your family thought of the jasmine rice! In my family we buy large bags of basmati rice as our staple rice. I find it much crunchier than short grain rice even when fully cooked.
How was the jasmine rice? There are varying grades amongst jasmine rice, just as among Japanese rice. Some jasmine rice is very hard and dry (old rice) but the new crop, especially from Thailand, can be delicious.
The Vietnamese also eat broken rice, which is a kind of jasmine rice. If it's good quality, that is also very nice to eat!
Stacy -- basmati rice is by its nature far less sticky and more dry than short grain rice, which is why it's often cooked with a little ghee or butter or oil in Indian dishes. In those dishes, basmati is prized for its ability to separate into grains. Do you like basmati? I think every kind of rice has its own charm (except really old, dry, bad quality rice ;)
And did you enjoy the rice? I sometimes buy it from Thailand. We don't grow any rice down here - just the wrong climate - so each and every grain is imported. My best sources are asia markets.
Wow! Swiss jam! What a surprise! I have just bought first apricots (from France though). I hope you will like this jam. Apricot jam is one of my favourites because it is always a bit tangy. I make some apricot jams every year. They are perfect in tarts and many other cakes and also as pork glaze or simply pork sauce and since I love pork...
It's so incredible because jasmine rice is available here in every standard supermarket and is also quite cheap (much cheaper than the Japanese style rice (at least twice as expensive), not to mention the one imported from Japan...). I always have jasmine rice whenever I cook Thai, Indian or make rice salads. Otherwise I love the Japanese variety (yumenishiki) I buy (even though it's grown in Italy it is controlled by a Japanese company). We are both addicted to this Japanese rice with my husband.
Did you like the jasmine rice?
I have just seen that this brand is sold at my supermarket. I have never noticed it because I make most jams on my own...
Thanks everyone for their comments.
We all liked the jasmine rice for its texture and flavor. Note that I cooked it as instructed on the package: Rinse 1 bag (450 g) of rice once, drain, add 3 cups (200 ml x 3 = 600 ml) water, and cook in a rice cooker. If I had cooked it in a different way, we might have gotten a different impression. I even made one onigiri, and I found it was tasty enough.
Our consensus is that we wouldn't mind having it from time to time, but not on a regular basis. As you know, short-grain Japonica rice is the very core of Japanese cuisine. Without it, a rice-centered meal, sushi, onigiri, and bento would not have been invented.
The 450 g jasmine rice cost 457 yen. It's as expensive as or a little more expensive than most Japanese rices here, which are in the range of about 3,000 to 5,000 yen per 10 kg. The Koshihikari rice produced here in the Uonuma district of Niigata is much more expensive (> 6,600 yen).
Sissi: I forgot to mention: It's because I knew you are in Switzerland that I decided to buy that particular brand of apricot jam. It was very good! It was finished off very quickly by my family, especially by my wife!
Hiroyuki-san, have you tried the corn grits yet? How was the taste?
Anonymous: I will work on it in a day or two.
Hiroyuki, your comment has warmed my heart :-) It's so thoughtful and kind of you. I'm glad it was good! They also make quince jams (sold here). Do you have quince trees in Japan?
I pay for Japanise variety grown in Italy what you pay for Japanese rice (about 5000 yen for 10 kg http://www.jfc.eu/cn/jfc-uss/yume-nishiki/, I buy in 5 kilo bags), but the Japanese rice (and I even don't know if it's good, costs here about 750 yen for a kilo.
Since I discovered the addictive Japanese variety I cannot have jasmine rice more often than twice a month (before it was my favourite rice, especially for its aroma).
Sissi: I will check if that shop carries quince jam the next time I visit it. I don't think quince is popular here in Japan. I did some googling and found it's grown in some areas of Japan only.
Thanks for the link. I wondered what yume-nishiki was, but the site you linked to says it's a new type of Koshihikari produced in Europe. No wonder it tastes good!
Quince is quite addicting. It has a strong flavour reminding on flowers. But it is not that popular anymore and the fruit is hard to handle if you are going to make jellies or compotes. You cannot eat it raw and it is very tangy. Therefor people don't grow quince trees in their gardens that often and you will not find the fruits in supermarkets here. Most of the fruits are imported. But quinces are very well liked in arabic countries, turkey, greece. I have about 20 jars home made jam (jelly) in storage. Our tree is small but the harvest always turns out somewhat overwhelming and I make jam until I am running out on jars. Most of the time I try to give away half of the harvest to friends, neighbours and collegues. Guess what, they prefer to recieve the jam but not the fruits. Maybe it is the same in Japan.
Thank you so much for the rice information. I had no idea if for a Japanese person it means good rice or not (before I used to buy basic "Nishiki" rice produced in the US and it was five times worse; unfortunately this is the rice they use here in Japanese restaurants because it's the cheapest... I still remember the first time I tasted Yumenishiki... it had such a delicate, "sweet" smell and the grains were slightly bigger and firmer than the cheapest ones; I still wait to taste good rice grown in Japan to compare)
Quince cannot be eaten raw (it's very astringent) and it's mainly used for jam, jelly (there is one on my blog) and "cheese". It has an aroma similar to honey.
Kiki and Sissi: I'm looking forward to tasting quince jam. It should be addictive. Last night, my son said that ume juice is "addictive" ("hamaru" in japanese). I guess something sweet and sour with a bit of tanginess can be addictive.
"Nishiki" is that bad? I would like to taste it just out of curiosity.
Several years ago, I regularly bought "Toku A" (Special A) Koshihikari rice produced here in the Shiozawa area for 7000 yen per 10 kg. Then, I switched to Koshiibuki, which is cheaper but still tastes good, for around 3,000-3,500 yen. And, now, I buy cheap, low-grade rice for 2,700 yen.
Nishiki is not that bad (I used to buy its lowest grade but I know some better grades exist and they even make organic Nishiki in the US). I really liked it before tasting Yumenishiki. One gets easily used to luxury I suppose ;-) I try not to think how much money I could save if I didn't spend it so much on expensive food products. I could maybe buy a bigger freezer? (I have a small one and it's constantly packed above its limits).
I'm not sure if the quince jam is tangy even though the raw fruit is astringent. My quince jelly is not tangy at all (no matter how much I lower the sugar content). it might be an interesting experience though.
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