Let’s Hear It For Haiga!

White rice and haiga-mai (half-milled) rice

A few years ago, I discovered an Asian-style rice that combines the nutrition of brown rice with the mouth-feel and flavor of white rice. I’m talking about haiga-mai, a product developed in Japan.

Haiga-mai (“rice germ” in Japanese) is processed so that the hull of each individual grain is completely removed, while the germ is left intact. This results in a product that is flavorful and as easy to cook as white rice, but with the B-vitamin content of brown rice. Nishiki makes a nice medium-grain haiga, while Tamari makes a sushi-grade haiga. The Nishiki product is easier to make, as it requires no rinsing or soaking prior to cooking. But I prefer the latter product because I enjoy making sushi with it. (We’ll talk more about home-made sushi when the weather gets a little warmer. It’s easier than you think!) You can purchase both brands of rice on amazon.com.

I should warn you ahead of time that Tamaki haiga is rather pricey. It lists on amazon.com at approximately $21 per 4.4 pounds. However, if you want an Asian rice with superior flavor and consistency, this stuff is great.

Here’s how I prepared my haiga rice this week. By the way, this is something you can do on the weekend, in preparation for your workweek.

HAIGA RICE (2-3 large servings)

  1. First, I placed one cup of rice in a sieve and gently rinsed it under the tap for about one minute. This process removes excess starch and makes for a better consistency.
  2. I placed the rice in a rice cooker and added one cup plus two tablespoons of distilled water. (I can’t emphasize enough that the water you cook your food in makes a big difference in flavor.)
  3. I let the mixture sit for 30 minutes in the rice cooker.
  4. I then turned on the rice cooker. (These devices are a must for habitual rice eaters. They ensure that your rice is cooked perfectly every time.) I should mention Tamaki provides directions for cooking haiga rice in a conventional saucepan
My Black + Decker rice cooker. Works like a charm!

After cooking and cooling the rice, I prepared it for storage. Packaging rice in an airtight container ensures that it will be moist and tasty when reheated. I prefer to use a vacuum food bagger for this purpose. In order to prepare individual servings, I cut a quart-size vacuum bag in half, crosswise. This left one portion of bag with two open ends. I sealed one end of the portion with my bagging device. Then I placed the rice in the two “mini” bags, vacuumed, and sealed. Finally, I put the rice in the freezer until I needed it.

Rice sealed in vacuum bag.

To use, open the bag and dump the rice into a microwave-safe container. Cover and cook on high for two minutes.

Personally, I like to use my Hot Logic mini oven/portable lunch bag to warm up rice. Turns out I had one leftover frozen portion of Chinese chicken and beef. Today, I heated this up with some frozen haiga in the Hot Logic for two hours. Here’s the result. The rice was delicious with a little soy sauce.

Chinese-style meat and haiga rice

For those who are interested in finding out more about the Hot Logic device pictured above, please read about it in my “Gadgets” section. Otherwise, you can look up the device on https://myhotlogic.com. It’s convenient, easy to carry, and for me it has always delivered great results.

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