Multigrain Rice (Japgokbap)
Korean Multigrain Rice, also known as Japgokbap, is a wholesome blend of oat, barley, millet, sorghum, brown rice, legumes, and white rice. This nutrient-rich dish offers a harmonious combination of grains and legumes, creating a well-rounded and satisfying meal.
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If you enjoy Korean cuisine, you’ve likely noticed that many Koreans prefer multigrain rice (japgokbap, 잡곡밥) over white rice. Mixing grains and legumes in your rice offers numerous benefits.
Multigrain rice offers a healthier alternative to white rice by incorporating a variety of grains and legumes. It provides greater nutritional value and avoids the rapid sugar conversion associated with white rice.
While the advantages of consuming multigrain or wholegrain are abundant, transitioning directly from white rice to 100% brown rice can be challenging. Brown rice alone may not offer the desired flavor profile. That’s where the mixture of white rice and assorted grains comes in.
By gradually increasing the amount of multigrain and reducing the white rice portion, you can ease into the transition. My preferred ratio is about 70% multigrain and 30% white rice. This flavorful option complements many Korean main dishes.
What Is Multigrain Rice?
Multigrain rice, also known as japgokbap (잡곡밥), is a nutritious and flavorful rice dish that combines various grains and legumes. It offers a variety of textures, flavors, and health benefits compared to traditional white rice.
Here are some common grains that are often included in multigrain rice:
- Brown rice
- Glutinous brown rice
- Black rice
- Rice bran
- Various beans (green, red, black, kidney, black-eyed, soy, etc.)
- Split peas
By incorporating these diverse grains, this mixed wholegrain rice provides a wholesome and well-rounded meal option. Experiment with different combinations of grains to find your preferred blend and enjoy the nutritional advantages of this rice.
Jeongwol Daeboreum Tradition and Ogokbap
Korean mixed grain rice is not only a staple in Korean cuisine but also holds cultural significance during Jeongwol Daeboreum (정월대보름), a traditional celebration that takes place on January 15th of the lunar calendar.
During Jeongwol Daeboreum, Koreans traditionally prepare ogokbap (오곡밥), which translates to “five grain rice.” This special version of multigrain rice consists of five key grains, including glutinous rice, black rice, millet, sorghum, and beans. The combination of these grains symbolizes abundance, good fortune, and health for the upcoming year.
Tips for Selecting and Preparing Multigrain Rice
When selecting a multigrain rice package, I recommend avoiding those with an excessive amount of kidney beans. In my experience, beans in such packages can be too dried out or overpowering in flavor.
Instead, feel free to add your preferred beans of choice. Personally, I enjoy incorporating fresh beans and even nuts like walnuts or almonds for added texture and taste.
For today’s recipe, I’ll be using 1-1/2 cups of these mixed grains along with 2 cups of white rice. If you’re new to multigrain rice, this ratio is a great starting point.
As you become accustomed to the flavors, you can adjust the amount of grains to suit your personal taste preferences.
Choosing the Right Cookware
When it comes to preparing japgokbap, having the right kitchen appliance is crucial for achieving optimal results. One of the best options is a pressure cooker, which ensures that your grains are cooked to perfection with a soft yet chewy texture.
Here are two options to consider:
- Electric pressure rice cooker: This fully automated appliance requires just a push of a button, taking care of the cooking process for you. However, it comes with a higher price tag (around USD$400 and above). If you frequently cook multigrain rice, it can be a worthwhile investment.
- Stovetop Pressure Cooker: This option is much more affordable (around $70 for a good-quality one). With a stovetop pressure cooker, you have the flexibility to manually adjust the cooking time and heat. While it may require a bit of practice initially, you’ll soon become comfortable using it.
Update: Another popular option these days is using an electric pressure cooker, such as an Instant pot. The cooking method is similar, where you manually set the cooking time (around 15 minutes) and release the steam manually as well.
Pressure cookers offer versatility beyond just cooking rice. You can also use them to prepare porridge, oatmeal, beans, and more. With the right cookware, you’ll be able to achieve the perfect texture and flavor for your rice dishes.
How to cook multigrain rice
Rinse 1-1/2 cups of mixed grains several times and soak in water for at least 30 minutes (I soaked mine for 1 hour). Drain the soaked grains.
In a separate bowl, rinse 2 cups of white rice. Combine the drained mixed grains and rinsed white rice together.
Pour 4 cups of water into the rice mixture. The ideal ratio of rice (un-soaked) to water is 1:1.5 based on regular white rice cooked in a regular cooker. Adjust the water amount according to your desired texture.
Note: Adjust the water amount and cooking time based on your preferred texture and the type of cooker you are using. Experiment with different water amounts for stove top cooking to find your ideal result.
If using an electric pressure cooker, select the multi-grain option or set the cooking time to approximately 35 minutes.
If using a stove top cooker, bring the mixture to a boil over high heat until you hear the hissing sound and the tab on the lid shakes.
Then, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Turn off the heat and wait until all the steam has been released.
Once cooked, fluff the rice with a fork. Serve and enjoy the nutritious and wholesome grains.
If you have leftover rice, it’s a great idea to store it in the freezer for later use. Simply place the rice in a ziplock bag and freeze it. When you’re ready to enjoy it again, remove the rice from the bag and reheat it in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. It will taste just as delicious as freshly cooked rice.
Keep in mind that if you plan to use the rice the next day, storing it in the fridge is an option. However, rice tends to lose moisture quickly after one day, which can make it become crumbly and tasteless. So, freezing is the best way to preserve its quality.
Stay tuned for my next post, where I will share an amazing recipe for “Ssambap” a Korean rice wrap filled with an assortment of lettuce and a delectable topping sauce. It’s the perfect complement to enjoy with this delicious rice.
More Korean Dishes to accompany japgokbap
- Spicy Pork Bulgogi (Jeyuk Bokkeum)
- Classic Bulgogi Recipe (Korean Beef)
- Classic Doenjang Jjigae (Soybean Paste Stew)
- Authentic Pork Kimchi Stew (Kimchi Jjigae)
- Grilled Mackerel Fish in a Parchment Paper
Multigrain Rice (Japgokbap)
- 1-1/2 cup assorted mixed grains, short grain brown rice, black rice, millet, barley, sorghum, oat, legumes etc
- 2 cups white short grain rice
- 4 cups water, use less if you prefer firm and chewier texture
- Rinse 1-1/2 cups of mixed grains several times and soak in water for at least 30 minutes (I soaked mine for 1 hour). Drain the soaked grains.
- In a separate bowl, rinse 2 cups of white rice.
- Combine the drained mixed grains and rinsed white rice together. Pour 4 cups of water into the rice mixture. The ideal ratio of rice (un-soaked) to water is 1:1.5 based on regular white rice cooked in a regular cooker. Adjust the water amount according to your desired texture.
- If using an electric pressure cooker, select the multi-grain option or set the cooking time to approximately 35 minutes. If using a stove top cooker, bring the mixture to a boil over high heat until you hear the hissing sound and the tab on the lid shakes. Then, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Turn off the heat and wait until all the steam has been released.
- Once cooked, fluff the rice with a rice paddle. Serve and enjoy the nutritious and wholesome grains.
- For using an instant pot: cook multi-grain rice on manual setting for 15 minutes. Then release the steam on natural venting for 10 minutes, and turn the knob to quick release to escape all the steam.
- Freezing Tips: If you have leftover rice, simply place the rice in a ziplock bag and freeze it. When you’re ready to enjoy it again, remove the rice from the bag and reheat it in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. It will taste just as delicious as freshly cooked rice.