07 August 2010


Having been on a no-rice (maybe a little) diet since god-knows-when, I felt guilty reverting back to a sometimes-rice lifestyle. I blame it on the very long over trip to Japan I took about 2 years ago, but then I might have fallen off the wagon anyway with or without the trip. My fever for anything Japanese has since elevated, especially since my Japanese language skills have increased, and it has affected my choice of food and cooking. But that's also mainly because I've been reading Japanese food blogs.

炊き込みご飯 or takikomi-gohan, is basically rice cooked with ingredients and therefore having the rice flavoured and seasoned in the process. I much favour richer flavours and frankly, don't like white rice. Addition of seasonal ingredients (read: whatever you have and like) makes for a more exciting bowl of rice! And I like exciting.

Reading the fancy-schmanzy name might be the hardest part of cooking takikomi-gohan. Technically, you dump put everything into a pot and just let it cook. I have a feeling my way of seasoning the rice is a little unorthodox (I used mentsuyu, mirin and individual seasoned hotate or scallop snacks) but it's not like it bothers me.

This recipe is for a mushroom takikomi-gohan and I used a mixture of eryngii and buna-shimeji. My first attempt at takikomi-gohan with Japanese sweet potato and nagaimo have yielded equally good results. I'm waiting to get my hands on takenoko (bamboo shoots) and kuri (chestnuts) so that I can use them in my takikomi-gohan ventures.

If you haven't realised by now, my recipes tend to be really "free-form" and serves fairly little. I usually cook 1 serving if not 2 for the next day or a bento. This time round I prepared a pumpkin and sweet potato curry and yaki tamago (sweet egg omelette) with my takikomi-gohan but I imagine it just as nice with anything you would serve with normal rice.

きのこの炊き込みご飯 (Mushroom Takikomi-gohan)
2 Servings

1 medium eryngii
1/2 pack buna-shimeji
1/2 cup rice
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp mentsuyu (or 1 Tbsp light soy sauce and 1/2 tsp sugar)
1 Tbsp mirin
4 seasoned scallop snacks (optional)

- Gently wipe mushrooms with damp paper towel or give them a very brief rinse to remove any dirt. Trim off the ends and discard.
- Break the cluster of buna-shimeji into smaller portions and cut eryngii into bite-sized pieces.
- In a heavy-bottom saucepan, wash the rice twice.
- Layer the mushrooms over the rice and add the water, mentsuyu and mirin.
- Put the individual scallops, if using, in between the mushrooms.
- Cover the pot with a lid and simmer over low heat for 30 mins or until the rice is tender. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. You might need to add more water depending on the rice you use.
- Alternatively, you can cook everything in a rice cooker.
- Serve hot with your favourite side dishes.

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