Japanese Rice – Kayaku Gohan
I enjoy my electric rice steamer so much. In the past, when I was still a student and I already loved to cook a lot, I used my gray ordinary steamer for gas. My housemates always wondered what kind of crazy pan I had there.
A few years ago I switched to an electric steamer. When I lived in Burma I used a big electric steamer every day. I baked cakes and complete loaves of bread in my steamer. What a great machine! Once in the Netherlands, I really had to have a strong electric steamer too.
I only have a small kitchen so a pan less on the gas stove is convenient. My steamer makes perfectly cooked rice, but a delicious yellow rice (nasi kuning) too! I just add all the ingredients a nasi kuning needs (coconut milk, turmeric, lemongrass etc) turn it on regular setting and that’s it!
Now I have come up with a new recipe for you: a Japanese rice with pork belly or pork chops, tofu, mushrooms and sweet potato. It is called a kayaku gohan (ご は ん か や く) and it is my interpretation of a recipe that I have seen on NHK. The English-language Japanese channel (for tourists and expats). They broadcast great cooking shows and they are all available online for a short period of time. Watch online here.
I love this rice because, like the nasi kuning, you just need to add everything to the steamer close the lid and it is done in the normal amount of time. ?
This kayaku gohan is enough for 3-4 people and is ready in 40 minutes.
350 grams of rice
350 ml dashi
1 pork belly or pork chops
6 shiitake mushrooms
150 grams of drained tofu
200 grams of sweet potato
2 tablespoons of mirin
2 tablespoons of salty soy sauce (for example, kikkoman)
flat leaf parsley or spring onion
A few ingredients may be unknown to you, such as dashi and mirin. Dashi is a Japanese broth that adds the flavor umami. You can make one yourself or buy it at an Asian store. I like to make it myself because it’s not difficult. You need kombu (thick seaweed) and bonito flakes (super thin tuna flakes). I will show you how to make dashi another time.
Mirin is Japanese cooking wine. It contains a little bit of alcohol (but is evaporated once you’ve cooked the rice). It has a kind of fatty, delicate flavor. Mirin is used in many Japanese dishes and sauces. I buy a bottle at my Asian store.
You can use any type of rice. Japanese make this kayaku gohan with short grain rice, but I also like it with Jasmine rice, for example.
I usually have dried shiitake in my pantry. I let them soak in hot water. With fresh shiitake, that is of course not necessary. The water from the dried shiitake changes in color while the mushrooms suck it up. The water gets a lovely flavor too. I sometimes add this water to my dashi as well.
From here on it is super easy. Cut the pork belly or pork chops into small pieces. Bring a little water to the boil and add the meat for 3 minutes. Remove the meat and rinse with cold water.
Wash the rice briefly, pour it into the steamer pan, add the dashi, add 2 tablespoons of mirin and salty soy sauce. Stir briefly.
Cut the potato into pieces. Not too small otherwise they disappear in the rice. The tofu and the mushrooms can also be diced. I chop up the spring onions and the parsley too. They are sprinkled on top when the rice is done.
On top of the rice, I add the meat, the potatoes and I spread evenly. Then on top of that spread the mushrooms and the tofu. Do not MIX! Leave it layered while cooking.
Place the pan in the rice steamer and boil the rice on regular setting until tender. Because the rice is at the bottom of the pan it cooks perfectly, just like the rest of the ingredients.
Ready? Remove the pan from the steamer and scoop al the ingredients through. The rice on the bottom has a beautiful brown (fried) color because of the soy sauce and dashi. That’s exactly how it is supposed to be. Sprinkle the springs onions and flat parsley over your rice and it is done!
We eat this kayaku gohan with a vegetable dish of cabbage and a piece of fish. Delicious!