I am making a Japanese feast this Sunday and—with my family’s dietary concerns—I need to make the starch dish separately. In most Japanese rice dishes the rice is cooked and then things are added to the plain rice. Takikomi gohan is “similar to Japanese maze gohan (mixed rice), but where maze gohan involves mixing cooked ingredients and seasonings into precooked rice, to prepare takikomi gohan, ingredients and seasonings are combined with uncooked rice and [then] cooked together.”
For one of my other dishes I was using a lot of green onions, but only the white parts. This left me with a pile of green onions tops in need of a culinary home. This reminded me of my mother Claudia’s baked green rice.
I was making dashi for several other dishes for this Sunday’s dinner. If is difficult to make just a little dashi, so I had plenty left over. I decided to adapt mother’s green rice into a Japanese takikomi gohan using this flavorful soup base.
When I was at the local farmer’s market, I saw some red shishito chile peppers. This are nothing more than fully ripe shishito peppers. They are usually mild—although you might get a “hot” one—and a bright fire engine red. I bought a couple planning to use them as a garnish on at least one of my dishes for Sunday.
After Dinner Note: To please my son-in-law—who is avoiding starches—I have been making them as dishes separate from my meat dishes. While I though this dish could have been better, my family loved this dish. Chris had two large servings, “It’s Sunday.”
If I had made plain steamed rice, my family might eat a small serving each. There was very little of this rice left after the meal. As far as my family was concerned this was a success—they especially liked the tahdig—the crusty layer of rice that formed on the bottom.
I was less satisfied with my results. When my mother made this dish she always use long grain rice—which cooked up light and fluffy. Japanese short grain rice needs less liquid to fully cook. By using three cups of fluid, the rice was overcooked and a bit gummy.
In planning this dish, I was concerned about over seasoning the dish. I limited the amounts of sesame oil and dashi, that I was replacing the butter and chicken broth of the original dish. I could have safely increased both. The recipe below includes tweaks to correct these flaws.
Karl’s Takikomi Gohan
1+ cup green onions, green parts only
1½ Tbs. dark sesame oil
1½ Tbs. vegetable oil
2 cup dashi (use vegetable broth for Vegan)
1½ cup short grain Japanese rice
1 red shishito chile pepper, sliced into rings and seeded
1. Slice the onions finely.
2. Put the oil in a small sauté pan and sweat the green onions.
Tip: While I was using the green parts only you could use the whole green onion.
Note: You could also safely increase the amount to one and a half cups.
3. Add some of the dashi to the pan and remove it from the heat.
4. Wash the rice and put it in a Pam-ed casserole.
5. Stir in the contents of the pan and rinse the pan with the rest of the dashi.
Tip: You can safely leave the rice to soak for an hour, before putting it in the oven.
Note: I had used three cups of liquid and this turned out to be too much.
6. Cover the casserole and bake at 350° for 20 minutes.
Tip: If you wish, you could use a rice steamer, but I was going for the chewy texture of my mother’s rice dish.
. Stir the rice, recover the casserole, and continue baking for another 20-30 minutes.
Tip: The onions will float on the surface at the beginning and will end up on top of the rice. Stirring mixes them into the rice.
7. Remove the cover and bake the rice for 10 minutes more.
8. Just before serving fluff the rice and garnish with the shishito pepper.
Note: Chris thought that the peppers should have been cooked into the dish, rather than being served raw as a garnish. Chris thinks there is never enough spice, he even puts sriracha in miso soup.
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