Shinmai: new rice

Our first shinmai of the year

We’re deep into autumn now, and it’s high time that I blog about fall food.

Like many (most?) countries, Japan has food imported from all over the world, out of whack with the seasons (e.g., we had an avocado from Mexico for dinner). However, overall, people tend to choose, and indeed celebrate, foods that are local and in season. And autumn is the best season of all: sweet potatoes, kabocha (pumpkin / squash), persimmons, apples, late season greens, MUSHROOMS, and more. I want to write a few blog posts about the food glories of fall, and first up is rice.

Shinmai, or new rice, appears in stores in autumn, and is designated as such if it is sold in the same year that it was harvested.

We have acquired some lovely shinmai, and it really is different from “regular” rice. Because of the freshness, the moisture content is different. It needs a little bit less water when cooking, but it becomes more plump, shiny, and mochi mochi (chewy) than other rice. Very delicious.

The author of the Just Hungry blog (which I often reference) wrote an interesting article about shinmai in the Japan Times a while back, with more details about how best to enjoy it, entitled “not all white rice tastes the same“. So true.


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