Sunday, January 01, 2006

Crispy mixed rice (gomoku gohan): take 2

One of the great things about gomoku gohan is that it's a very flexible recipe. Our first version seemed a bit vegetable-light, so last weekend we made a vegetable-heavy version.

Gomoku gohan - ready to cook Gomoku gohan - cooked
Gomoku gohan, ready to cook (left) and cooked (right). This has to be one of the prettiest dishes we make.

2 1/2 cups short-grain rice
1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and sliced
2/3 cup frozen green beans
2/3 cup frozen corn
6 small red round radishes, thinly sliced
1 chicken thigh (we used a boneless skinless thigh)
3 1/4 cups water (1/4 to 1/2 cup less if your rice is very fresh)
1 packet (0.35 oz) instant dashi powder (or use 3 1/4 cups homemade dashi instead of the water)
1/4 cup sake
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1) In a large bowl, wash the rice and drain it, repeating until the water that drains off is almost clear.
2) Let the rice sit in the bowl, covered with a moist kitchen towel, for one hour. [note: we do not know how essential this step is, but it is apparently traditional for Japanese rice cooking; you might be able to skip it in a pinch.] You can start preparing the other ingredients before the hour is up.
3) If you are making dashi from scratch, prepare it now.
4) If using frozen green beans and corn, defrost them (using the microwave or hot water).
5) Mince the chicken; this is easier if the chicken is somewhat frozen.
6) Add the rice, vegetables, water, dashi powder, soy sauce, sake, sugar, and salt (the chicken and oil will be all that's left) to either a rice cooker or a pot you will use to cook the rice on the stove.
7) Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan over high heat; once the oil is hot, add the minced chicken and cook until the chicken has lost its raw color.
8) Add the cooked chicken to the rice cooker or pot on the stove, stir to mix (the vegetables may float), and cook the rice. If you have a rice cooker, all this entails is turning the cooker on; for stove-cooking instructions, see my first version of this recipe for instructions.
9) Once the rice has cooked (the rice cooker clicks off), let the rice cooker stay on (on the "stay warm" setting) for another 10 minutes to let the rice brown (the longer you leave the cooker on, the more the rice will brown).
10) Gently mix the rice and serve it hot, being sure to include some of the crispy rice from the bottom in each serving.


To compensate for the additional vegetables in this version, we added extra flavorings; we thought the extra amounts worked well. We were out of burdock root when we made this, so we substituted radishes; it seems as though burdock root would have gone well with this mix.

The butternut squash we used was about a pound to begin with; we peeled it with a sharp paring knife. The squash cooked perfectly in the rice cooker; there is no need to pre-cook it.

For more information, see the notes in the original recipe.


Yamaoka, Masako. 1984. A First Book of Japanese Cooking: Family-style food for the home. Kodansha International, Tokyo.

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