Chicken in Grilled Rice Cake Soup

Tori Zōni

Grilled cakes of glutinous rice taffy in a rich chicken broth make a very satisfying soup. It’s really a small colorful meal in a bowl, with its generous garnishes of chicken shreds, snow peas, carrots and mushrooms.

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken breast, skinned and boned
  • 1 teaspoon saké (rice wine)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 omochi (glutinous rice cakes)
  • 3–3½ cups Oriental Chicken Broth
  • 8 large fresh button mushrooms
  • 3–4 inches carrot
  • 12 fresh snow peas

Method

Season the chicken breast with the rice wine and salt, and grill or broil it over moderate heat for 8–10 minutes. It will char and dry slightly on the outside, but be moist inside. Shred the chicken with your fingers (the irregular strips will absorb the soup and thus be more flavorful here than if evenly sliced), and put it aside.

Keep the grill or broiler going and place the rice cakes about 2 inches from the source of heat. Grill them until slightly golden and well puffed. Turn the cakes once or twice during the grilling. Depending upon their freshness, it will take from 5–10 minutes for them to puff out and begin to split, exposing a soft, sticky, taffylike interior. While grilling them prepare the rest of the soup.

Heat the chicken stock through and add the shredded grilled chicken. Wash and pat dry the button mushrooms, then cut them in half before adding them to the soup. Peel the carrot and cut it into 12 rounds. Then cut each to resemble flowers (hana-gata cutting) for a special effect. Add the carrot flowers to the soup and continue to simmer for 3 more minutes.

Wash and trim the snow peas, removing the string down the back of each. Blanch in boiling salted water for 1 minute, then drain them well.

When the rice cakes are done, place a single cake in each of the 4 individual bowls. Pour hot soup over and garnish each bowl with strips of chicken, 2 mushrooms, halved, 3 carrot flowers and 3 snow peas. Serve immediately.

,