Zakkoku (雑穀) means mixed grains/cereals in Japanese and with rice being such a fundamental part to meals here incorporating Zakkoku in your cooking means you benefit from lots nutrients and fibre when cooking with white rice. I love Genmai brown rice (玄米)with it’s nuttier flavour and obvious health benefits that you lose when you use white rice. I love white rice too however. Although it gets bad press for taking more time to process, therefore being environmentally worse as uses more energy. And due to all this processing loses much of it’s goodness, it is cheaper, softer and much quicker to cook. Zakkoku is the magic solution! As most things in Japan it is sold in convenient packets and there are lots of varieties. You can get white mixes that often include barley, sesame seeds, millet and sprouted brown rice and a more colorful set that can include azuki beans, black rice, red rice, and any number of extra goodies. I love the subtle flavour that it adds, clearly the health benefits and it looks pretty too. You can buy this outside Japan, I know it is available in the UK at the Japan Centre and your nearest Japanese grocery might stock some. If you can’t find any, you can easily make your own mix and keep it in a ziplock bag adding whenever you need to. Some things you could add include beans, sesame seeds, barley, quinoa, mung beans, lentils, black rice, red rice, poppy seeds, flaxseeds..  anything you like! If adding bigger beans that look like they might take longer to cook you might to pre-soak the mix before you use it, overnight or in the morning.

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