Article: PILOT: All you need to know about Sake Rice
PILOT: All you need to know about Sake Rice
Dear Sake Lovers,
Welcome to the Nomi Blog. We aim to create a sake community and would love to share every bit of sake details in order to enhance your dining experience. No matter how small the questions, we aim to provide the answers you're searching for when it comes to all things sake!
Joshu and Jack
NOMI Master Somms
The first episode will cover the ingredients of sake, which is the rice itself:
Rice is one of the world’s three major grains, along with wheat and corn. There are three main strains of Asian rice plant - Japonica, Javanica and Indica. We will only cover Japonica rice which is mainly grown in Japan. Japanese rice are mainly short grain, sticky in texture and grown mainly in Japan, Korea, Northern China, Vietnam and the USA.
If you were to take a grain of rice and examine it closely, you might just think it's just another rice grain right? Wrong. Let me know dissect more details what a grain of rice consists of...
- 70-75% carbohydrates
- 7-8% proteins
- 2% lipids ( fatty acids) contained in the bran and germ portions of each grain of rice
- 1% minerals such as potassium, phosphorus and magnesium which helps the growth of both yeast and koji mold.
- Water-soluble Vitamin B contained in the germ.
Now, you realised after sharing with you the detailed information of each rice grain, one should never take this for granted - even when consuming a bowl of rice.
If you were to ask me is there is a difference between a normal eating rice and sake rice? The answer is, there is a huge difference.
What are the differences? Normal eating rice if you look carefully does not have a white opaque at the centre of the rice which is called Shinpaku in Japanese.
The main component of rice is mainly starch followed by protein, lipid and minerals at the outer core of the rice.
The typical height of the food rice plant is normally 1.2 to 1.3m tall while the sake rice which is known in Japanese as sakamai normally grows at the height up to 1.5m tall. It is much for expensive to grow sake rice than normal eating rice as sake rice needs a large difference in temperature between day and night. The soil must be rich in nutrients and spacing of rice plants should be wide enough for sunlight and ventilation. One would also need skillful farmers to harvest sake rice as compared to normal food rice.
Most sake rice are a result of cross-breeding in order to suit each prefecture climatic conditions.
I will now list the ten types of sake rice which you will normally find in Nomi Sake's vast list of bottles. The rice names are normally found on the front or back label on the bottle of sake.
They are as follows :
- Yamada nishiki. This is the King of sake rice and is mainly grown in Hyogo, Fukuoka, Okayama , Saga and Kumamoto Prefecture.
- Gohyakumangoku. You will find this rice mainly grown in Niigata, Fukui, Toyoma and Ishikawa Prefecture.
- Miyama nishiki. Best grown in Nagano, Akita, Yamagata, Iwate and Miyagi Prefecture.
- Hattan nishiki. Best grown in Hiroshima Prefecture.
- Omachi. This is the only rice species that have not been cross breed. It grows best in Okayama Prefecture.
- Hanafubuki. Best Grown in Aomori Prefecture.
- Kinnon nishiki. Best grown in Nagano Prefecture.
- Dewasansan. Grows best in Yamagata Prefecture.
- Koshitanrei. Gros best in Niigata Prefecture.
- Ginpu. Best Grown in Hokkaido.
I know some of you might feel that the names are confusing and difficult to understand, let me assure you that the only way to understand all these rice species is to taste and understand the different characteristics when they are in the bottle. Swing by NOMI Dining Bar anytime and we can learn more about sake - one sip at a time.