The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Friday, 20 October 2006

My first attempt at takikomi gohan

Takikomi means 'boiled with' and gohan means 'rice'. Takikomi gohan is sorta like fried rice, where you can use whatever ingredients you think will go well together (or whatever you have on hand). However, it is quite a bit more healthier without all the grease and oil because the rice is cooked with the ingredients. I suppose you can also liken takikomi gohan with risotto, paella and pilaf - all rice dishes from different cuisines also cooked with various ingredients (obviously using different rice grains).

Traditionally, takikomi gohan is cooked using a special claypot, but many Japanese utilise the rice cooker which makes it a whole lot more convenient. Tonight, I attempted to make this dish using our tiny rice cooker. In hindsight, this would work much better with a bigger pot - I live and I learn. It was quite tasty though - I especially liked the charred crunchy chewy rice at the bottom of the pot (apparently, this burnt bit is called okoge and is considered by a lot of Japanese to be the best part).

Ingredients (for four servings)

2 cups short-grain rice, washed
400g chicken breast fillets, cubed
1.5 tablespoon each of shoyu (soy sauce) and mirin (sweet cooking sake)
enough dashi (stock) to make up a total of 2 cups liquid ingredients
100g kuro konnyaku (dark devil's tongue jelly), sliced
1 carrot, julliened
4 kinoko (mushrooms), sliced
200g daikon, julliened


Put everything into the rice cooker and turn on the rice cooker. Just make sure that the capacity of the rice cooker is sufficient for the quantity you're using. It's that simple. When the rice cooking process is done, stir and serve immediately (you might end up with mushy rice if you leave it in the rice cooker for too long).

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