Japonica rice sometimes called sinica rice, is one of the two major domestic varieties of Asian rice varieties
Japonica Rice Around the Globe
Japonica rice sometimes called sinica rice, is one of the two major domestic varieties of Asian rice varieties. Japonica rice is extensively cultivated and consumed in East Asia, whereas in most other regions indica rice is the dominant type of rice. Japonica rice originated from Central China, where it was first domesticated along the Yangtze River basin approximately 9,500 to 6,000 years ago.
Japonica rice grains are rounder, thicker, and harder, compared to longer, thinner, and fluffier indica rice grains. Japonica rice is also stickier due to the higher content of amylopectin, whereas indica rice starch consists of less amylopectin and more amylose. Japonica rice plants are shorter than indica rice plants.
Japonica rice can be classified into three subgroups, 'temperate japonica', 'tropical japonica' (also known as 'javanica') and 'aromatic'. Temperate japonica is cultivated in East Asia (China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Taiwan), while tropical japonica is in Indonesia, Madagascar, and also the Americas.
In Japan japonica rice is further categorised as uruchimai (ordinary rice) and mochigome (glutinous rice).
Uruchimai is recognisable for its short to medium translucent grains and has a number of uses including sushi and sake, while the short, round, opaque grains of mochigome are usually used in desserts or soaked and ground into a paste to make mochi, the chewy rice cakes.
The Niigata Prefecture, known by many as the rice capital of Japan, is famed for the quality of its output, particularly Uonuma which produces high quality Koshihikari rice.
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