Rice packed with flavour, nutrition

 02 Mar 2017 - 17:02

Rice packed with flavour, nutrition
Takikomi gohan with tuna and broccoli (The Yomiuri Shimbun)

The Japan News/Yomiuri

TOKYO - When cooking for one, it's really tiresome to prepare rice and other items separately. Cooking expert Keiko Iwasaki suggests cooking takikomi gohan (boiled rice with seasonings and various ingredients) as a way to prepare everything in one dish. Adding meat or fish as well as vegetables makes it more nutritious.

"Takikomi gohan is like a mixture of rice and another dish after meat or fish is added. It's also easy to prepare and doesn't take much time," Iwasaki said.

Takikomi gohan can be prepared in a stainless steel pot, which is less time-consuming than using a rice cooker. Unlike a donabe earthenware pot, a stainless steel pot can also be used for other processes such as stir-frying.

Iwasaki recommends a mid-sized pot about 18 centimeters in diameter, because a small pot can easily boil over.

Iwasaki prepared three styles of takikomi gohan - Japanese, South Korean and Western.

The Japanese-style takikomi gohan with tuna and broccoli has a vibrant colour and the pungency of ginger. The South Korean-style is similar to bibimbap. The rich flavours of sesame oil and beef make this dish appetizing.

The Western-style dish, similar to pilaf, has a good combination of the sour taste of tomatoes, the rich taste of chicken and the sweetness of onions.

Iwsasaki uses 1 go, or 150 grams, of raw polished rice for each dish, which makes a little over one portion. Leftovers can be refrigerated.

Once the rice and water come to a boil in the stainless steel pot, turn the heat to medium and cook for five minutes. Turn it lower and cook for another five minutes. Then turn off the heat and let the rice steam for 10 minutes. This method is used for all three dishes.

Keep to the recommended cooking times, and note that the rice will burn if the heat is kept at medium.

A good balance of ingredients among meat, fish and vegetables is recommended.

One fish that can be used in this dish is sashimi-ready sea bream. When using carrot, burdock and daikon, chop them finely. Potato, pumpkin and taro should be cut into bite-size pieces.

Iwasaki added broccoli and nira garlic chives just before steaming the dish. Other kinds of vegetables that cook quickly are also suitable for this treatment. Mizuna (potherb mustard), komatsuna (mustard spinach) and asparagus can be used as replacement vegetables.

In addition to ginger and sesame oil for flavoring, Iwasaki also offers the option of adding curry powder, consomme stock or herbs for an appetizing aroma.

"You can prepare a simple vegetable soup or cold tofu if you wish to complement it with another dish," Iwasaki said.

Takikomi gohan with tuna and broccoli

Wash 2/3 cups of rice and drain the water. Soak the rice in 200 milliliters of water in a pot for 30 minutes. Mix 1/3 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce and 1/2 knob of finely chopped ginger into the rice. Drain the oil from a can of tuna (1/3 cup), and put it on the rice. Cover the pot with a lid and cook over high heat until boiling, then turn the heat down to medium and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to low and cook for 5 minutes. After turning it off, add 3 large broccoli florets, broken up, and steam for 10 minutes.

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