Seafood Pilaff, Japanese Style

Umi no Sachi Gohan

Here, bits of seafood sausage and vegetables are cooked with rice to make a delicious accompaniment for almost any entrée. I like to make a large pot of this pilaff and then use the leftovers as poultry stuffing or filling for an omelet.

Ingredients

  • cups raw rice
  • 3-4 sticks chikuwa (roasted seafood sausage)
  • 1 small carrot
  • 3-4 large button mushrooms
  • cups dashi (basic sea stock) or water
  • 1 tablespoon mirin (syrupy rice wine)
  • tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions, green part only
  • 1 teaspoon ao nori (sea herb flakes), optional

Method

  1. Wash the rice well until the water runs clear. Drain, and set aside.
  2. Cut the seafood sausage in half lengthwise, then across into thin crescents. You should have about ¾ cup.
  3. Peel the carrot and cut it in half lengthwise. Slice the carrot into thin half-circles. You should have about ⅓ cup.
  4. Wipe the mushroom caps to remove any soil. Cut each mushroom in half, then across into thin slices. You should have about ⅓ cup.
  5. In a small saucepan, combine the sea stock with the syrupy rice wine and soy sauce. Simmer the fish sausage and vegetables in this mixture for 5 minutes. Strain, and reserve the cooking liquid, adding water or more stock if necessary to measure 1⅓ cups. Set aside the sausage and vegetables.
  6. Combine the washed and drained rice with the reserved cooking liquid in a 2- or 3-quart pot. Cover, and cook over high heat until the liquid begins to bubble, about 5 minutes. Adjust the heat to maintain a steady but not very vigorous boil, then continue to cook, covered, until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 5 minutes more.
  7. Quickly toss in the simmered sausage and vegetables, and stir to distribute well. Re-lid the pot immediately and let it stand, self-steaming, for another 10–15 minutes.
  8. Just before serving, sprinkle the rice with the scallions. If you want to add an extra sea aroma, sprinkle with sea herb flakes over it too. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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