Vegetables and Seasoned Rice

Kayaku Gohan

This is a subtly flavored rice dish that goes particularly well with grilled meat, fish or poultry. It will be welcomed by the many Westerners who find “plain white rice” uninteresting. It is also a fine way to use up bits of Oriental vegetables left over from other recipes.

Ingredients

  • 2 slices abura agé (fried bean curd)
  • ½ cake konnyaku (gelatinous cake made from a tuber vegetable)
  • 5–6 inches gobō (burdock root) or 1 small boiled bamboo shoot
  • ½ small carrot
  • cups raw rice
  • cups water
  • tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin (syrupy rice wine)

Method

Blanch the fried bean curd slices in boiling water to remove excess oil. Drain the slices before cutting them into thin strips about inch wide and 1 inch long. Slice the konnyaku cake in julienne strips of approximately the same size. Blanch the konnyaku strips for 1–2 minutes and drain them thoroughly.

Wash and peel fresh burdock root and cut into julienne strips of approximately the same size as the konnyaku and fried bean curd. Soak the burdock strips in a bowl of cold water, to cover, for 5 minutes before draining them (this is known as akunuki, a technique the Japanese frequently employ to rid certain root vegetables of a bitter aftertaste). If using canned burdock root or bamboo shoot, drain it before plunging it into boiling water, which helps remove the canned taste. Drain again before slicing it.

Peel the carrot and cut into strips of the same size and shape as the other vegetables.

Wash the raw rice (for master recipe), place in your cooking pot, add the measured water, and stir in the vegetables. Season with soy sauce and mirin, stir again for even distribution, and cook as you would plain white rice.

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