Gen-Ji-Mai Quick Cooking Nutri-Whole Grain Premium Brown Rice

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…


Comments

Gen-Ji-Mai Quick Cooking Nutri-Whole Grain Premium Brown Rice — 19 Comments

  1. Dude, I think it’s time for the Tiger JKCR18U 10 cup induction rice cooker… along with a bag of Gen Ji Mai 12 grain rice or the sprouted Gen Ji Mai (more GABA which is like rice Valium… )…

    • I remember you mentioning that before. I had a brief discussion not long ago with the manufacturer’s rep’ for Tiger while he was on duty at DQ-Kaheka, where he SWORE by the Induction Rice Cooker unit, saying he’d never go back to rice cooked any other way at home but in an induction rice cooker.

      I suppose that’s like saying, “I’d never go back to a mechanical button flip-phone after owning an Android or Mac-IOS touch-screen smartphone.”

  2. I remember you mentioning that before. I had a brief discussion with the manufacturer’s rep’ for Tiger while he was on duty at DQ-Kaheka, where he SWORE by the Induction Rice Cooker unit, saying he’d never go back to rice cooked any other way at home but in an induction rice cooker.

    I suppose that’s like saying, “I’d never go back to a pager after owning an Android or Mac-IOS smartphone.” LOL!!!

  3. First off, congrats on your recent weight loss. I’m sure you’ll meet all of your goals sooner than expected! がんばって!!!

    Personally I don’t like brown rice despite the health benefits. Although I can eat it on occasion but no way could I eat it every day. In Japan, I’m fortunate enough to secure brown rice after the harvest and then polish the rice as needed. There’s nothing like freshly polished rice – wicked. I’m sure you’re well aware that after rice is polished it starts to oxidize and lose it’s flavor. Thus the reason the high-end sushi-ya’s polish their own rice as needed.

    I would strongly suggest investing in a Zojirushi rice cooker. You will immediately taste the difference and save time. I can program my Zojirushi for white rice, brown rice, mochi rice, etc. along with setting the timer to always have fresh fluffy rice whenever I want it like when I wake up or get home from work. It’s so easy! Wash the rice then immediately push cook when the alarm sounds the rice is ready. There is no soaking time or waiting after the rice is cooked plus the warmer feature doesn’t dry out the rice.

    One thing is you said “the non-stick liner in the pot is kinda’ scratched up.” Don’t wash the rice in the rice pot! Use a separate bowl or strainer to wash the rice then transfer to the rice pot.

    When I was in Honolulu I found a 6-cup Zojirushi rice cooker at Hawaii Kai Costco for less than $100. What a bargain!

    • Milo-San, domo arigato gozaimasu.

      I was really trying to convey in this review that this particular brown rice is closer in flavor and texture to white rice, not the harder, “woodsier” flavor of regular brown rice. Now polishing your own rice sounds “hardcore”, and beyond what I’m willing to go through just for a good bowl of (or sushi) rice. I’ll take everyone’s suggestion – including yours – and invest in a Zojirushi as soon I get REALLY tired of the “economy” Aroma model I’ve currently got.

      Speaking of the Zojirushi in Costco, I seen it only ONCE for brief time, but it’s no longer available there. As I suspected, the $89 price was “too good to be true”, where just as I suspected, that model was made in China, not Japan. If you go to any store that carries BOTH the made in Japan and made in China models (especially Tiger brand), you’ll notice the Japan models’ pot in particular has its teflon completely integrated with the stamped metal pot. Whereas the made in China models, the teflon is sprayed on after the stamping process. The build quality of the Japan models also appears up several notches compared to the others.

      As for washing rice in the pot, that’s the exact same advice the Tiger rep’ gave me when we were talking about high-end rice cookers – to wash the rice in a separate container. Obviously the rice acts as “beads of sand” and prematurely wears out the teflon lining.

  4. I have a not so fancy basic Zojirushi model NHS-10 rice cooker/steamer. Never had any burnt rice in it from stay warm function.

  5. The Zojirushi rice cooker in Costco (Kapolei) is a model: NS-WPC10; 5.5 cups capacity with fuzzy logic controller and replicable Lithium battery that keeps the clock working when you unplug the power cord and any special programed preferences you created in storage. It does white/mixed, rinse free, quick cook, sushi, porridge, sweet and brown rice. It also has two warming settings.

    I purchased it for under $90 Costco (Kapolei) before tax to update. I’ll use the old 12 yr. old Zojirushi 6 cup NHS-10 rice cooker/steamer as a steamer.

    The Zojirushi rice cooker model NP-HTC10/18 is Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker & Warmer and the Zojirushi rice cookers models: NP-HBC10/18 & NP-GBC05 are Induction Heating System Rice Cooker & Warmer. All other models are a standard heating system which has been working fine with me for the old basic model: NHS-10 rice cooker/steamer.

    • Hmmm, weird, the Iwilei Costco doesn’t carry it, nor have I seen it at Hawaii Kai. Maybe they’re merchandising it on an end cap I missed? Almost IMPOSSIBLE in Costco! lol

      According the manufacturer’s rep, the induction (electro-magnetic) heating method provides a much more even cooking throughout every single grain of the rice, also making it more effective in the “keep warm” mode, for longer keep times in that mode.

      I like the way the timer seems to work out with, well, coming home from work for a fresh hot pot. Nice! The Aroma model I have has a ‘Delay Timer’ to delax the cooking process, but like I said, its ‘Keep Warm’ a.k.a. ‘Keep Burnt’ function negates its timer function.

  6. Pomai, people in Hawaii are the largest comsumers of rice and brown rice is now getting easy to cook. Try the other one which is take longer. Making rice patties with other ingedients instead of buying meatless patties save money taste good also.

    • Kelike, I’ll stick with Gen-Ji-Mai. It’s the right price, with most (not all) the pros of both white and brown rice. Like many, I don’t really ENJOY eating regular brown rice, but will do so, if that’s all there is, just for the sake of its health benefits.

  7. I bought our Zojirushi rice cooker from Japan almost 10 years ago and it is still going strong. Although it was slightly more expensive than the average rice cooker, it has proven to be a good investment based on the number of years it has lasted us and the overall better quality of rice. Like another poster mentioned above, there is no required resting time after washing and on keep warm mode it never burns or even browns our rice.

    As for brown rice, we’ve recently switched to a brand called Tsukuyaka (or something like that; it’s sold at Don Quijote and Marukai). It has the benefits of brown rice but is the closest thing to white rice I’ve found.

    • I’ll have to look for that Tsukuyaka brand on my next treck to either of those stores (soon). I suppose it really comes down to just how much of the Haiga and outer bran layer are milled off. No matter what, there’s going to be trade-offs in taste, texture – and at least for me – most importantly, nutritional value.

      Point being on a – ehem, cough-cough – “diet”, the last thing anyone should do is completely burden themselves from what they enjoy eating. If you can find the same foods you enjoy in even a slightly healthier version, all the less you’ll fall off the wagon and go back to bad eating habits. Products such as Gen-Ji-Mai Rice are a perfect example of meeting the dieter half-way, if not more than that in health benefits.

  8. We use the Tsukuyaka rice. Very expensive, so we get it at Walmart. It is very moist and cooks fine in regular rice cooker. We do a light wash, but that is just to ensure moisture.

  9. I got around to buy this and it was really good. I think I have a new brand of rice from here on out. Good job friend.

    • I was just in Shirokiya yesterday, where one of the shops in their food court was ALL ABOUT RICE. I couldn’t believe how SERIOUSLY the chef took just mixing his rice. As if it was his child. UNREAL. The Japanese spirit and detail in how they prepare their food is by far without equal.

      I’ll DEFINITELY blog Shirokiya’s new food court in an upcoming post. By far one of the best “foodie” destinations on this island.

  10. I am going to order some of this rice from Amazon when I get back from vacation (Hawaii!), it sounds like what I have been looking for. I like regular brown rice, but it’s so completely different from what I’m used to with white rice. I have always added a couple of teaspoon of rice vinegar (mirin) to the pot before starting the rice cooker…would you recommend that I do the same with this type of rice? Either way, I’m looking forward to trying this out. Thanks for the great review!

    • Japanese sushi chefs always add vinegar, salt and sugar to the rice, called “Sushi-Su”, AFTER the cooking process, where they fan it to cool and combine, very articulately. I do the same in a casual way, mixing just about a tablespoon or so of vinegar to the fresh-cooked rice, which indeed helps preserve it, if not a tad. HOWEVER, I’m finding this here Gen-Ji-Mai brand spoils much faster than any other rice we’ve had. GREAT fresh. Next day, still OK. By the third day, if there’s still any left, it’s gotta’ be thrown out. Weird.

      I think it’s either our cheap rice cooker, or the climate where we live. We seriously need to go get a Made in Japan Zojirushi induction model.

      • Thanks for the reply. I bought a couple of small bags of this rice from Uwajimaya (Beaverton, OR) and will try it out via stove-top since my old rice cooker is pau for good. Do you know if a rice measuring cup, the ones that come with rice cooker, and a regular measuring cup are the same? I usually use the one that came with rice cooker, but not sure if it makes a difference from package instructions.

  11. Ann, great question and topic burner! It always amuses me when I see the difference in capacity of the plastic measuring cups included with various rice cookers.

    From Wikipedia:
    United States customary cup

    United States customary cup is defined as half a U.S. pint.
    1 U.S. customary cup = 1⁄16 U.S. customary gallon
    = 1⁄4 U.S. customary quart
    = 1⁄2 U.S. customary pint
    = 8 U.S. customary fluid ounces
    = 16 U.S. customary tablespoons

    I say ratio is ratio of rice-to-water as a general rule, no matter what the actual cup size, if you cook your rice by mathematical formula. Then you have the finger-digit water level measuring technique for cooking perfect rice, whether in a modern rice cooker or “old school” back-to-basics covered pot. Then you have grandma’s method. Then you have the 10-years trained sushi chef method. Rice is deep!

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