Many cuisines throughout the world combine peas with rice and so do the Japanese. This dish is meant to replace plain white rice at the dinner table and is really not any more difficult to make. Use fresh peas, if available, since their flavor, color and texture are far superior to those of frozen or canned. A very nice alternative would be to use fresh lima beans or soybeans, though these require 2–3 minutes more blanching time than peas.
Blanch the peas for 1 minute in boiling salted water to cover and drain them immediately. Rinse quickly under cold water to stop the cooking process and drain them again.
Wash the rice several times, draining it after each rinsing. Place the washed rice in a sturdy medium-sized pot and measure in the water. Allow the rice to sit in the water for 10 minutes or so; then add the mirin. Stir to distribute evenly and cook the rice according to the master recipe. Just before drying off the rice with a final exposure to high heat, remove the lid and quickly add the blanched peas. Replace the lid, cook over high heat for 10–15 seconds and remove the pot from the heat. Let the rice and peas self-steam, tightly lidded, for about 10–15 minutes.
Before serving, dampen a wooden paddle in cold water and gently toss the rice and peas. Scoop out individual portions and sprinkle some of the sesame-and-salt mixture over them.
© 1986 Elizabeth Andoh. All rights reserved.