I always smile at the Japanese word for mushrooms – ‘kinoko’. It means the child of the tree, which I think is so cute. As its autumn, I’ve chosen to use seasonal Japanese mushrooms: maitake, shimeji and shiitake. The aromas are just incredible as you open the lid of your cooked mushroom rice!
What’s great about this dish is that you can make it all year round, choosing different seasonal mushrooms and each time, enjoying different aromas and flavour profiles. I’d recommend making it with a side of our saba no miso ni dish ~ miso-ginger mackerel.
Photography: Safia Shakarchi
300g of a mix of mushrooms: maitake, shimeji and shiitake
150g Japanese rice (recommend Koshihikari or Akitakomachi)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp dashi powder
1 pinch of salt
1 sprig of chives
Start by washing the rice in cold water until the water runs clear. Just leave the rice to soak in a bowl of cold water while we prepare the mushrooms.
Next, we’re cooking the assorted mushrooms in the butter and soy sauce in a frying pan on high heat. Just break up the mushrooms with your hands and then roughly slice them up. It takes a couple of minutes to cook, just let the mushrooms soak up the melted butter and soy sauce and you’re done. Half of it is going in with the rice and half we’ll keep to top the rice at the end.
Once the mushrooms are cooked, drain the rice and pop it into a small boiling pan. Add half the mushrooms and 350ml of water. I use a donabe pot so go ahead and use that if you have one, but most of you will use a small boiling pan and that’s completely fine. Sprinkle the dashi powder and add a pinch of salt and turn the heat on medium heat until you start to see it bubbling away.
While keeping an eye on the rice, let’s chop some chives finely for sprinkling at the end.
The water in your rice pot is probably bubbling by now so just turn the heat down to low and pop a lid on it. It’s important to leave it alone for about 15 minutes as you want to retain that steam in there to cook through. Let’s set an alarm so you know when to come back to it.
Once the time is up, take the lid off and using a soft wide paddle, give your rice two big stirs, flipping the rice from the bottom to the top gently, trying not to smush the rice. Pop the lid back on and turn the heat off and let it rest for a couple of minutes.
Taste it and check it’s cooked, then serve it in a bowl, topping it with the rest of the mushrooms and a sprinkle of chives! I luckily have a sansho tree in the garden so I tore some leaves into mine but if you can’t get hold of any, it’s still amazing without.