Zakkoku has become increasingly popular these days. Cooking regular rice with a blend of zakkoku can boost its taste and nutritional value substantially. Eating zakkoku rice can help you feel great and stay healthy every day. Just combine organic brown rice or white rice with a variety of zakkoku. Proper blending is the key to delicious zakkoku rice. Assorted zakkoku packets are also available.


What Is Zakkoku?

Zakkoku is a collective term for grains of the grass family that bear small fruit seeds. There are other types of grains with similar fruit seeds that aren’t part of the grass family. These grains are called ruiji zakkoku, which includes amaranthus and quinoa. The variety of zakkoku differs from country to country: Drought-resistant zakkoku are found in arid regions, and those resistant to cold are generally cultivated in cooler climates. In the old days, zakkoku was a staple for people in Japan. Times changed and demand for it decreased. However, natural foods and traditional foods have recently attracted renewed attention due to their health benefits, and zakkoku has become wildly popular as a convenient healthy food source.

The Significance of Zakkoku Rice

Zakkoku are rich in minerals and dietary fiber and far more nutritious than white rice. Zakkoku are also believed to have a property that effectively absorbs and removes toxic substances, such as environmental endocrine disrupters, from the body. Eating zakkoku rice in place of regular rice can significantly improve your nutrition.

Zakkoku rice is white or brown rice cooked with grains such as awa millet, hie millet, kibi millet and oomugi (barley). It can be made easily, simply by adding your favorite variety of zakkoku grains.

Wide assortments of zakkoku grains are available, and each one has a different taste and texture, as well as different nutrients and health benefits. Learn their characteristics and create your own blend according to your family’s health conditions and preferences (for instance, harmonizing it to the side dishes you serve). By mixing your zakkoku blend with white or brown rice, you can add variety to this staple food, which can enrich the entire meal. With a bit of ingenuity, you can also incorporate zakkoku into side dishes. By familiarizing yourself with these grains, you will be able to expand your range of food choices that are both healthy and delicious.

Rather than relying on expensive supplements or health products to make up for the nutrients we lack, we should first try to have a proper diet by choosing healthy foods. Nijiya believes that eating zakkoku rice is a simple way for everyone to develop healthy eating habits.

Kinds of Zakkoku

Kibi Millet

Kibi millet Kibi contains about three times more dietary fiber, two times more calcium, four times more magnesium, three times more iron, and two times more potassium than white rice.


Amaranthus Amaranth us is dubbed as a super grain because it contains far more minerals than other types of grains. Originating in the area spanning Mexico down to the Andes Mountains, amaranthus has been cultivated for 2,000 to
4,000 years. It contains an abundance of proteins, lysine, minerals such as calcium and iron, and dietary fiber. Amaranthus has a more complete nutrient balance than other varieties of grains; consequently, it’s considered by NASA to be “the health food for the twenty-first century.” Because it doesn’t share the same allergens as the grass family, it’s now considered to be a potential alternative for people with grain allergies. Amaranthus is also characterized by its uniquely firm, crunchy texture. Since its pericarp (or outer layer) is thin, it can be eaten whole, like sesame seeds. Compared to white rice, amaranthus contains about 15 times more dietary fiber, 32 times more calcium, 12 times more magnesium, 12 times more iron, and seven times more potassium.


Quinoa is the seed of an annual plant belonging to the Chenopodiaceae family. It is native to the mountain regions of Peru and Bolivia, in South America. It was a staple item in the ancient Inca Empire. It looks similar to awa and kibi, and can be considered a type of ancient grain. A quinoa seed is rich in high-quality proteins, essential amino acids, calcium, iron, vitamins E, Bl and B2, niacin, soluble dietary fiber and micronutrients. Quinoa is wonderfully nutritious and can be an excellent diet food as well. Compared to brown rice, it has about two times more dietary fiber, three times more calcium, and 1.5 times more magnesium. Moreover, it can be a great alternative for people who need to avoid gluten as it contains none. Quinoa is usually cooked with white rice. By adding a large quantity of it to your white rice or rice porridge, you are reducing the amount of rice you eat while still being able to secure essential nutrients.

Oomugi (barley)

Oomugi contains about 19 times more dietary fiber, three times more calcium and two times more potassium than white rice. Its soluble dietary fiber is believed to help prevent blood-sugar and blood- cholesterol levels from rising too high.

Oshimugi (pressed barley)

Oshimugiis refined oomugi that is steamed, flattened with rollers, and dried. It’s rich in dietary fiber, protein, and minerals and has a smooth, firm texture and the distinctive aroma of hops. An easy way to take oshimugi is to make mugimeshi (rice cooked with barley) by adding 10% to 30% oshimugi to white rice.

Hatomugi (Job’s tears)

Hatomugi is the largest zakkoku variety and so visibly stands out from the rest. It has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine. This grain has a fluffy texture and despite not being very flavorful it’s filled with energy-enhancing benefits.

Kamut Wheat

Kamut wheat, a type of ancient wheat that has been cultivated for over 6,000 years in Egypt, is believed to be the ancient precursor of durum wheat (which is used in pasta). Compared to regular wheat, kamut wheat is more nutritious. It contains an abundance of vitamin E, minerals such as magnesium and zinc, and selenium, which is a natural antioxidant.


Oats have about five times more iron, nine times more calcium, and 22 times more dietary fiber than white rice. Oats contain a good balance of fats and proteins, which provide amino acids and energy for the body. Additionally, they’re rich in vitamins B1 and B2, which help accelerate sugar and fat metabolism.

How to Cook Zakkoku

The Best Zakkoku Rice Recipe (recommended by Nijiya)

The optimal ratio of rice and zakkoku is 10:1.

Ingredients (Serves flexble)

  • Organic brown rice
  • Zakkoku (black beans, amaranthus, kamut, kibi, and quinoa)

Cooking Directions

  1. Presoak black beans in water overnight.
  2. Presoak brown rice in water for 7 to 9 hours.
  3. Lightly rinse the zakkoku, and then add to the black beans and brown rice. Add 1.5 to 1.8 times more water compared to the volume of rice, and cook.
  4. Once the rice is done, cover and let stand for about 30 minutes to steam before serving.

Gochiso Magazine, Nijiya Market

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