We’re all aware that brown rice is much healthier for you compared to white rice. Same for 100% whole wheat brown bread and pastas versus its more popular, albeit highly-processed, enriched white flour counterparts.
While at least loosely considered a desirable complex carbohydrate food source, the problem with white rice is the lack of natural fiber and inherent nutrients due to it having been entirely STRIPPED of its all-important rice germ (haiga) and bran layer in the milling process. While white rice is then fortified with vitamins and minerals, it still lacks the natural fiber needed to help control blood sugar levels (insulin), hence weight gain occurs as those blood sugars turn to FAT. And we don’t want that.
On the other hand, I’ve read several articles that claim brown rice can actually help you LOSE weight when combined as part of a well-balanced diet.
I’ll buy that, so I ended up grabbing a bag of this here Gen-Ji-Mai Quick Cooking Nutri-Whole Grain Premium Medium Grain Brown Rice. It was on sale at Don Quijote for 4 days only last week at $15.77 for a 15 lb. bag. The regular sale price was $19.99, while the regular retail non-sale price is $25.99. Which is considerably more expensive then the standard non-premium rice such as Hawaii’s favorite Hinode rice in the yellow bag, which is usually on sale at about $10 for a 20 lb. bag.
As you see right there on the label, Gen-Ji-Mai boasts a whole laundry list of nutritional advantages as compared to white rice as such:
- 64% more fiber
- 286% more potassium
- 582% more magnesium
- 161% more vitamin B6
- 1021% more vitamin E
- 400% more antioxidants
There which what separates this brown rice from ordinary brown rice is the way it’s milled. Sun Valley Rice Company explains, “GEN-JI-MAI™ is a Premium Medium Grain Brown Rice that is lightly polished, leaving a product that is not only superior in taste to ordinary Brown rice, but one that also cooks more quickly. Since 100% of the rice germ (HAIGA) and much of the healthy bran layer are left intact, GEN-JI-MAI™ is much more nutritious than ordinary milled White rice (see chart).”
With that, we have the best of both worlds in Sun Valley Rice‘ Gen-Ji-Mai: the quicker cooking time, more neutral, “non-woodsie” flavor and soft, fluffy texture of white rice, while retaining most of the natural nutrition intact of brown rice. Nice!
Let’s take a look at Gen-Ji-Mai (on the right) in its uncooked form next to run-of-the-mill – or more appropriately described – OVER-MILLED white rice….
It’s not quite as “woodsie” in appearance as regular brown rice, yet the fiber-rich outer bran layer is certainly still present.
So for my first pot of Gen-Ji-Mai, I went with 4 cups uncooked rice…
According to the package cooking directions, it doesn’t state to do it, so DO NOT PRE-WASH ‘N RINSE the rice. You add 2¾ cups of water per 2 cups of uncooked rice in the rice cooker pot (5.5 cups water total for 4 cups uncooked rice) and let it STAND FOR 30 MINUTES before starting the rice cooker.
If your rice cooker has a brown rice cooking function, don’t use that. Use the white rice function.
It took about 40 minutes to cook the 4 cups of Gen-Ji-Mai in ‘White Rice’ mode when the beeper went off. This, compared to regular brown rice, which can take over an hour to cook.This Aroma Rice Cooker cooks the rice very nicely, but the thing that sucks about it is the ‘Keep Warm’ function, which is more like ‘Burnt Rice’ function, as that’s what it does to the rice on the bottom of the pot when left in ‘Keep Warm’ mode. So we always turn the rice cooker off once it’s done cooking.
I then usually let the rice “steam out” for about 20 minutes before opening the pot to stir it. At that point I add about a tablespoon or so of vinegar to my rice paddle, then fluff the rice up in the pot. The vinegar helps prolong the room-temperature shelf-life of the cooked rice, where I get about an extra day out of it before having to toss any uneaten cooked rice.
One more note on the rice cooker, when this one wears out (the non-stick liner in the pot is kinda’ scratched up), I’d like to invest in a made in Japan Zojirushi Induction Rice Cooker, which I’ve heard makes the best rice.
Here’s the 4 cups of Gen-Ji-Mai just cooked, awaiting to be fluffed up…
Add sukoshi vinegar and fluff ‘er up…
Plate ‘er up with some Tsukemono (pickled side dishes) and hai, itadakimasu!…
So how is it? WINNER! EXCELLENT TEXTURE and GREAT FLAVOR. Exactly as I described above as being the best of both worlds in white-meets-brown rice. This could just well be the perfect rice. I wouldn’t say it’s THE BEST rice I’ve ever had, as I’ve had my share of top-shelf Sushi-grade rice (served as Sushi of course) in Japan, but this is way up there. Totally, totally worth the higher price, and the perfect example of paying for what you get in a high quality product.
What I like most about this Gen-Ji-Mai besides, well, everything, is that it’s still sticky like white rice, and not so loose like regular brown rice. So I had no problem making a couple Ume Musubi out of it without it falling apart…
The mild taste of the bran layer gives this rice a slightly nutty dimension to its flavor profile, which compliments nicely with the nori wrapped around the omusubi.
So the verdict is in, where I hereby grace Gen-Ji-Mai Nutri-Whole Grain Premium Brown Rice with The Tasty Island’s very first 5 Ume Musubi rating!…
Wait, what was that? Do we have a new rating system icon here? Why YES! Yes we do! Introducing my friends, The Tasty Island’s newest family member, the Ume Musubi Rating Icon. After contemplating a number of different food items to use for my new health-themed posts, I decided to go with Ume Musubi. At first I was reluctant, as white rice isn’t at the top of my health and fitness list. But now that I have this here very healthy Gen-Ji-Mai Brown Rice, an Ume Musubi made with that is ALL GOOD, tastes good, and is good for you!
Don’t worry, the SPAM Musubi rating will remain as it has since day one, and will still be used to rate food products and dishes that are, should we say “Hungry themed”, while the Ume Musubi will be used for food products and dishes that are Health-themed.
Hungry Choice Rating System:
Healthy Choice Rating System:
Learn more about The Tasty Island rating system on the ‘About’ page here.
In the next post, we’ll begin part 1 of a multi-part series titled “The Great Tsukemono Shootout“, where I’ll compare side-by-side ALL the various Tsukemono I can get my hands on from Oahu’s four main Japanese import stores: Don Quijote, Marukai, Shirokiya and Nijiya Market.
Have a great King Kamehameha Day.
P.S. Here’s a couple more photos of King Kamehameha taken this past Saturday…