Rice with Savory Oysters, Japanese Style

Kaki Gohan

The Japanese often make a meal out of a flavored rice dish by adding a miso soup and some pickled vegetables to the menu. You could also serve this oyster and rice pilaff as an accompaniment to a poultry or meat entrée.

Ingredients

  • cups raw short-grained rice
  • 1 strip (2-3 inches) dashi kombu (kelp for stock making)
  • ½ cup water
  • 8-10 oysters, about 8-10 ounces, shucked but in their natural liquor
  • 2 tablespoons saké (Japanese rice wine)
  • 1 tablespoon usukuchi shōyu (light soy sauce)
  • 1-1¼ cups dashi (basic sea stock)
  • 1 slender scallion, green part only
  • 2 sprigs parsley

Method

  1. Wash the rice until the water runs clear, then drain it well.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the kelp, water, oyster liquor, and rice wine, and bring it to a simmer. Poach the oysters in the seasoned liquid until they just barely firm up, about 1 minute. Strain the liquid through a cloth- or paper-lined strainer into a measuring cup, and set the oysters aside.
  3. Season the strained liquid with the light soy sauce, and add enough sea stock to make cups. Place this liquid with the washed and drained rice in a straight-sided 2-quart pot with a lid that fits snugly.
  4. Cook the rice over high heat for about 5-6 minutes, or until you hear the liquid in the pot boiling furiously. The lid may begin to dance about and some foam may even escape. Lower the heat to maintain a steady but not especially strong boil.
  5. Continue to cook the rice over a medium-low flame for another 6-7 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed.
  6. Remove the pot from the heat, toss in the blanched oysters, place a thin cloth or tea towel over the pot, and replace the lid immediately. Allow the oysters and rice to self-steam for 10—12 minutes.
  7. Finely mince the green part of the scallion and the parsley; scatter this over the rice and toss in. The rice on the bottom of the pot is usually more colored by the soy-seasoned stock than that on the surface, so mix and toss to distribute evenly. Eat hot, warm, or cooled to room temperature.

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