Jan 14

Zakkoku Mai—Japanese Rice With Mixed Grains

in Japanese, Recipes By Region, Recipes by Type, Rice & Noodles, Side Dish

A favorite discovery of mine while living in Japan was zakkoku mai—Japanese rice mixed with seeds and grains.

Zakkoku Mai

Zakkoku mai is a great addition to a meal in place of regular rice. Not only is it nutritious, adding nutrients and fiber to the rice, but it’s delicious. It has a wonderful subtle nutty flavor and added texture.  In Japan you can buy little packets of mixed seeds and grains to add to your rice, but here in the US these packets are a bit harder to find.

Zakkoku Mai Package

So why not make your own? It is SO easy!

How to make your own zakkoku mai mix:

Just gather up your favorite grains and seeds, mix them together in a container, and keep the mix in a sealed container in a cool, dry, dark place on one of your pantry shelves.

Mixing grains for zakkoku mai

In my most recent mix, I just used whatever I could find already in my pantry. I mixed:

2 tablespoons poppyseeds
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
2 tablespoons quinoa
2 tablespoons flaxseed
2 tablespoons rolled oats
2 tablespoons bulgur wheat

How to prepare zakkoku mai:

Preparing the rice is even easier.

Add 1 tablespoon of mix for each cup of (rinsed) raw rice. Increase the amount of cooking water by 1/2 teaspoon for each tablespoon of mix added.

These aren’t hard and fast rules! I suggest going to a store where you can buy grains/seeds in bulk (like a health food store) and buying a little bit of a large variety of things to try. You could add more or less of your mix to your rice, depending on what you like.  What to serve it with?  Whatever you want!  We recently ate some with roasted chicken and vegetables, but it’s delicious with anything you would normally eat rice with.

Coming Next: How to use up leftover zakkoku mai.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

jenjenk January 14, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Love that!!! My cousins sent me a ton of those mixes!!


diva January 14, 2010 at 2:05 pm

i usually love mixing my rice through with furikake but this looks like a really nice alternative too! all the little seeds and grains to nibble on :)


Juls January 14, 2010 at 2:54 pm

I’m a maniac about seeds and grains, and I have just started discovering japanese food: this is a very good dish to start making some healthy delicious japanese food!
Have a great weekend!


Bob January 14, 2010 at 4:52 pm

I need to try that, it sounds great! Plain white rice just doesn’t interest me but I can totally get behind that.


Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction January 14, 2010 at 5:50 pm

This sounds fantastic… I don’t really enjoy plain rice, but lately I have been on a bulgur wheat kick. I love the mix of textures and flavors.


Dawn January 14, 2010 at 6:21 pm

LIke the others, I think plain rice is so boring. I know I should try to eat it more instead of my standard potatoes. I think I like the creaminess of potatoes but I also like crunch so the addition of seeds might just do the trick. This will go on my to try list. Thanks!


Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite January 14, 2010 at 6:40 pm

Oh Rachel I LOVE this recipe! Rice grains and seeds? Perfect!


the lacquer spoon January 15, 2010 at 1:55 am

Beautiful! Esp, Japanese ladies are keen on zakkoku-mai. I name it “Japanese muesli” :)


Diana@Spain in Iowa January 15, 2010 at 7:34 am

This is great Rachael! I love the addition of grains and seeds! Adding a nutritional punch!


Ellen March 24, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Really interesting recipe, I’ll be sure to try it! But you say to add 1/2 teaspoon of cooking water for each tablespoon of seeds/grain, are you sure it’s not supposed to be 1/2 tablespoon? Half a teaspoon just sounds so little that I wanted to be absolutely sure before I tried it…

Love the site btw! I’m glad I found it!


Grace September 3, 2012 at 8:30 pm

I read this post and am inspired to make my own multigrain rice too! We love rice in our household, and multigrain is a great way to add more healthy stuff in what we eat almost everyday!
Just a question though: do you wash the rice with the mixed grains or wash the rice and throw the mixed grains in?


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