Marking a world first for the Fukushima region, the Japanese Agricultural Association of Aizu Yotsuba, Inawashiro Town Office of Fukushima Prefecture and Japanese External Trade Organisation (JETRO) announced today in Doha that it will export Tennotsubu rice to Qatar. The order placed by Qatari company Musashi International Co WLL will see rice products from the area affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake available in store for local customers.
While the 2011 tragedy affected much of the region, the Fukushima Prefecture Government has conducted environmental radiation testing on agricultural products with Tennotsubu rice proving radiation free throughout all tests. The region’s abundant water, fertile soil and farmers’ experience provided ideal growing conditions for Tennotsubu rice since 2011. In 2015 Japan farmers harvested around 8 million tonnes of brown rice from 1.5 million hectares of paddy fields. In the same period 10 thousand tonnes of the unique Tennostubu rice was harvested from 1,600 hectares of paddy fields in Inawashiro Town.
HE Shingo Tsuda, Japanese Ambassador to Qatar said:
I expect that today’s event will be a good occasion to introduce Japanese rice and its promising business opportunities in Qatar as a step on the way to expanding Japanese food products in the market of this country. I am very delighted it is the first time to export Fukushima-produced Tennotsubu rice to the Middle East, five years since the Great East Japan Earthquake.’
Takao Igarashi, Representative Director and Senior Managing Director of JA Aizu Yotsuba expressed gratitude to Musashi International Co WLL said:
We thank you for your immense support of our Aizu Yotsuba, Inawashior Tennotsubu rice. The order to export to Qatar is very encouraging to our famers who are working hard to dispel rumours following the earthquake and subsequent nuclear disaster. Through farming instruction systems and rigourous training and testing we believe that we can deliver safe and appealing rice to customers.’
During the event, and on behalf of the Japanese farmers, Igarashi handed over ceremonial bags of rice to Farhat Sebastien, Regional General Manager of Monoprix in Doha said:
We’re delighted that Monoprix will be stocking Tennotsubu rice. These new products from Fukushima mean that we can continue to offer a wide and high quality range of food to our discerning customers.’
Tennotsubu rice is now available in Monoprix in Doha in 1kg bags.
On the sidelines of the eventMasami Ando, JETRO Dubai and MENA Managing Director said:
I am very happy that we could support the transaction of exporting Tennotsubu. This deal has been made during the Gulfood Exhibition earlier in 2016 and Qatar is the first country to import Tennotsubu rice from an earthquake affected area. We hope that today’s event would be a good opportunity to introduce the safety and delicious taste of Japanese rice to the Middle East.’
With Musashi International Co WLL first to place an order during the Gulfood event in this February, exports of Tennotsubu from Japan will also be made to the United Arab Emirates courtesy of subsequent deals. According toMichiyasu Kumagai, Mushashi International’s General Manager said:
Musashi has imported quality food and grocery products to Qatar for almost 10 years. We’re proud to be the first international supplier to import rice from the Fukushima prefecture and we’re certain that customers will enjoy the tasty Tennotsubu rice.’
Tennotsubu rice has been available domestically in Japan since 2011 and the order by Musashi International marks the first time the rice has been exported. The rice, from the Fukushima prefecture, is renowned for it’s delicious taste, maintaining it’s structure within the cooking process and pleasant smell whether served hot or cold. The short-grain Tennotsubu rice is used within Japanese-style cooking as the sushi rice for preparing Maki (rolled sushi). It can also be used to prepare a Japanese take on biryani or to provide an alternative to Arborio rice when making risotto.
Sushi rice for Maki (5 people)
- Tennotsubu Rice – 700g
- Water – 700mL
- Vinegar – 115mL
- Sugar – 100g
- Salt – 15g
- Sushi nori (edible seaweed pieces) – 50g
- Choice of smoke salmon, canned tuna, avocado, cucumber strips
- Pickled ginger
- Wasabi – optional
- Soy Sauce
- Place Tennotsubu rice in a large sieve. Rinse under cold running water, stirring occasionally with your hand to remove any excess starch, until water runs clear. Drain well.
- Place the rice and water in a large saucepan, covered, keep it on high heat until it starts boiling. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 10 minutes (The water should be absorbed.) Remove from heat. Set aside, covered, for 10 minutes to cool slightly.
- Combine the vinegar, sugar, salt and dry kelp in a small bowl. Heat them all together.
- Transfer the rice to a wooden bowl. Use a wooden paddle to break up rice lumps while gradually adding the vinegar mixture, gently folding to combine. Continue folding and fanning the rice for 15 minutes or until rice is cool.
- Place a sushi mat on a clean surface with slats running horizontally. Place a nori sheet, shiny-side down, on the mat. Use wet hands to spread rice over the nori sheet leavinga 3cm border along the edge furthest away from you
- Place selected fillings along the centre of the rice. Hold filling in place while rolling the mat over to enclose rice and filling. Repeat with remaining agreements.
- Use a sharp knife to slice sushi into 1.5cm-thick slices. Place on serving dish with pickled ginger, soy sauce and wasabi.