Although a variety of mushrooms are available at grocery stores year-round, mushroom season in Japan is still regaled as a highlight of fall. To commemorate the fall season, try incorporating a mix of Asian mushrooms into a seasoned rice dish for your next Japanese meal.
Japanese mushroom (kinoko) rice (gohan), is also known in Japanese as either “kinoko gohan”, or “kinoko no takikomi gohan”. In general, takikomi gohan refers to any type of steamed rice dish which incorporates seasonings, vegetables, and proteins.
This particular kinoko gohan recipe is seasoned with a mixture of dashi, soy sauce, mirin, and sake. For this recipe, recommended mushrooms include shiitake, shimeji and maitake (hen of the wood) or hiratake (oyster mushrooms), all of which are aromatic. When the rice is steamed together with the seasonings and mushrooms, the rice imparts a mild mushroom flavor and aroma. It’s a delicate, yet wonderful autumn side dish.
- Substitute katsuo (bonito fish) dashi with konbu (kelp) dashi for a vegan rice dish.
- Other aromatic Asian mushrooms to try with this recipe include: enoki (golden lily) or matsutake (pine).
- The liquid seasonings (soy sauce, mirin, sake) plus the dashi stock together, should equal the total amount of liquid needed to steam the rice on its own, without the mushrooms. In other words, 3 cups of rice need 3 cups liquid, as indicated on the inner bowl of your rice cooker.
- 3 cups Japanese premium short-grain rice (or substitute with brown rice)
- 3 cups dashi stock (substitute with 3 cups water mixed with 1 teaspoon dried bonito dashi powder)
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce (shoyu)
- 2 tablespoons mirin (sweet sake)
- 1 tablespoon cooking sake
- 2 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1/2 cup water (for reconstituting dried shiitake mushrooms; this reserve liquid is to be combined with the dashi stock)
- 1 cup of fresh mixed mushrooms (shimeji mushrooms, maitake mushrooms, and hiratake mushrooms)
- Wash and rinse rice until water runs clear. Drain and set aside in rice cooker. (Note: Dashi broth and reserved shiitake soaking liquid will be added later.)
- Rehydrate dried shiitake mushrooms in 1/2 cup of water for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Remove shiitake mushrooms and squeeze excess water from them. Reserve the soaking liquid. (Note: This soaking liquid will be added to the dashi stock to steam the rice later.)
- Slice rehydrated shiitake mushrooms and either slice or break apart fresh mushrooms with your hands into large bite-sized pieces.
- Add soy sauce, mirin, and sake to the washed rice in the rice cooker. (Note: These liquid ingredients will replace some of the dashi stock used to steam the rice.)
- If one is accessible, use a large 4-cup measuring cup. Add reserved shiitake liquid to the large measuring cup. Next, add water to the reserved shiitake liquid until a total of 3 cups is measured. Otherwise, measure a total of 3 cups of liquid, combining the reserved shiitake liquid and water.
- Next, add 1 teaspoon dried bonito dashi powder (or konbu dashi) and dissolve the powder in the water and reserved shiitake liquid mixture to make a dashi stock.
- Add this combined dashi stock to the rice cooker to make 3 cups of liquid according to the measuring guide indicated within the inner bowl of your rice cooker. If more liquid is needed to meet the 3-cup marker indicated on the inner rice cooker bowl, add water. (Note: If you have excess stock, set it aside to use with another dish. Do not add the excess stock to the rice cooker, or the texture of the rice may become too wet and sticky.)
- Add dried shiitake slices and fresh mushroom mixture to the rice. Gently incorporate all of the ingredients. Steam the rice according to the instructions provided with your rice cooker.
- After the rice is steamed, allow it to rest in the rice cooker for 10 minutes. Gently mix the rice, serve and enjoy!