The last couple of days I was thinking up what to say about Sasanishiki rice. There isn’t a lot of information on this type of rice so I’ll be the first to give my own personal opinion.
What does rice do to food ? First, it enhances other food and what I mean by that is though rice may generally taste the same, give and take texture and some mild flavors, do to food what macaroni does to a nice cheese, it embellishes it.
Rice absorbs the flavor of whatever you are cooking, it adds to its texture and balance. Many experts grade rice according to its water retentive qualities while some other experts judge a rice by how masticable it is in the mouth; higher water retention, better quality of rice; firm and doesn’t fall apart in your mouth is also another good sign of a high quality rice.
Most people nowadays associate “koshi-hikari” rice as the holy grail of rice in the world and because of it people are trying to mimic how to grow it, but everyone knows the best koshihikari grains are grown right here in Japan. With all the hype a lot of other rice grains are overlooked like sasanishiki of Miyagi prefecture in the Tohoku region of northern Japan. Sasanishiki is also a delicious rice grain that’s grown by a lot of local farmers for a few reasons:
1) higher resistant grains can withstand Japan’s winters
2) Less expensive for the consumer to buy and even grow
3) An all around hardy rice that goes well with just about anything. However, there’s clearly a difference between sasa-nishiki and koshi-hikari.
The latter being more starchy and fluffy. Sasanishiki is less sticky and more flavorsome, I think, and then there's the tooth stickiness, which is another way rice is evaluated. Sasanishiki is a good second to Koshihikari in overall taste, but a sasanishiki is a better buy and is hardier.