Takikomi gohan, which literally translates to “cooked with rice”, refers to a style of Japanese rice dish in which short-grain rice is seasoned with soy sauce and dashi and cooked with other ingredients such as vegetables, mushrooms, meats, and seafood.
Takikomi gohan is commonly eaten in autumn, as autumn is the season when the rice harvest occurs. As a result, takikomi gohan often features seasonal ingredients like mushrooms, chestnuts, and sweet potatoes. In this recipe, we keep things simple by sticking to mushrooms, but you can also add ingredients such as carrots, burdock root, bamboo shoots, peas, hijiki seaweed, and abuurage (fried tofu). Feel free to mix and match to create your own mixed rice creation!
Our version of takikomi gohan uses dried shiitake mushrooms, which are known for their earthy and umami flavor. Soak them in water for at least 15 minutes to rehydrate, then slice them into thin pieces. The soaking liquid is now shiitake dashi! Combine the shiitake dashi into a saucepan with sake, mirin, and soy sauce, then simmer the thinly-sliced shiitake mushrooms in the liquid for five minutes. If you are using additional vegetables, add them to the pan during this step. The ingredients will soak up the liquid and become imbued with a slightly sweet and savory flavor. Then, add in either a pinch of katsuobushi (bonito flakes) or dashi powder and stir to combine.
Next, we are ready to prepare the rice. Make sure your rice is well-washed, then strain in the simmering liquid over the top. Slowly pour in water until there is enough liquid to cook the rice, then layer the strained mushrooms over the top along with a splash of sesame oil. You can cook takikomi gohan directly in a rice cooker or on the stovetop; we provide instructions for both below.Once the rice has finished cooking, fluff it with a rice paddle and sprinkle chopped negi (green onion) over the top.
This hearty, traditional rice dish is the perfect way to celebrate autumn!
- 200ml shiitake dashi
- 2 tbsp sake
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 2½ tbsp soy sauce
- 3-4 dried shiitake mushrooms (rehydrated in plenty of water then sliced)
- Pinch of katsuobushi or 1 tsp soda bushi dashi powder
- 2 cups uncooked rice (300g) (washed and rinsed 3-4 times and drained)
- 200-250ml of water
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- Choppednegi (green onion) (garnish)
- Heat the shiitake dashi, sake, mirin and soy sauce in a pan. Add the rehydrated sliced shiitake mushrooms and simmer over low heat from 5 mins. Turn off the heat and add the katsuobushi/dashi powder. Let it sit for 1½ mins, remove the katsuobushi and let it cool slightly.
- If using a rice cooker, add the rice to the rice cooker pot then strain in the liquid from step 1. Add the extra water then add the strained shiitake mushrooms and the sesame oil. Mix gently then cook as per your rice cooker directions. If cooking on a stove top, add the rice to a pan then strain in the liquid from step 1. Add the strained shiitake mushrooms and the sesame oil. Mix gently, cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and cook covered for 12-13 mins or until the liquid has completely absorbed. Remove the pot from the stove and let it sit with the lid on for another 10 mins to steam.
- When the rice has finished cooking, fluff and mix from the bottom, and serve in bowls topped with chopped negi.
Introduction courtesy of Britney Budiman
Britney Budiman (@booritney) is a writer, minimalist, aspiring effective altruist, and runner-in-progress with a penchant for saying “yes.” Previously, she has worked in Cambodia at a traditional arts NGO, in Brazil as a social sciences researcher, and in San Francisco at a housing start-up. She currently lives in the countryside of Kagoshima, Japan, where she teaches English. Her favorite thing in the world is good conversation.