Thursday, April 5, 2012

Kinoko Gohan

The Japanese are great mushroom lovers. Even the Japanese word for "mushroom" has a wonderful etymology. It's comes from 木 (ki =tree) and 子(ko derived from kodomo =child.) It means "child of tree" since mushrooms grow under trees.

This is a mushroom lovers' dish. It's a basic every day dish in the same vein as asari gohan except that it uses mushrooms instead of clams.

There is a trick here though.

A variety of mushrooms all of varying textures are first cooked in umami-laden dashi, and then separated. The rice is then cooked in the doubly umami-laden mushroom broth.

There is a synergistic effect from the glutamate ions in the dashi and the 5'-ribonucleotide guanosine monophospate that is found in mushrooms. When foods rich in glutamate are combined with ingredients that have ribonucleotides, the resulting intensity of taste is far far higher than the sum thereof!

Completing the experience, you have a textural addition of seaweed and scallions.


1 3/4 cup japonica rice

1 package shimeji mushrooms
8 shiitake mushrooms
3 eringii mushrooms
1/2 cup oyster mushrooms
1/2 cup maitake mushrooms
1/2 cup enoki mushrooms

1 piece aburaage (fried tofu)

1 piece ginger (julienned as fine as you can)
1 cup dashi
2 tbsp shoyu (soy sauce)
1 tbsp sake
1 tbsp mirin
2 tsp sugar

1 bunch scallions (sliced at a steep diagonal)
nori (julienne strips)


Wash and "polish" the rice in cold water until the surface starch is eliminated and the water runs clear. Takes between 4-6 washings. Drain and let sit wet for at least 30 minutes.

Soak the aburaage in boiling water to remove the oily part. Remove after 10 minutes, and cut up.

Boil the mushrooms and aburaage with the dashi, ginger, soy sauce, sake, mirin, sugar and salt for just 3-4 minutes. The mushrooms should still have a bite.

Separate the mushroom broth from the mushrooms.

Cook the rice in this broth till done. Top with the mushrooms, cover the lid and let sit for 7-8 minutes.

Top each portion with the sliced nori and scallions.

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