Japanify: Shiojake Donabe Rice
A few weeks ago, Kayoko and I were invited to our friend Mariko's house. Along with her partner, two twin boys, and Frenchie, their house was warm, inviting, and lively. I always find it restoring and inspiring to visit friend's houses and eat together. Good food, conversation, and drinks is the recipe for life!
And plenty of good food we had at their abode. One of the most inspiring dishes we had was a salmon rice that was colorful and full of umami. It inspired me to make rice in a donabe and dress it up with shiojake (salted salmon), green onions, and yuzu. We also always get asked at the shop if you can make rice in the donabe we carry, and the answer is "yes!".
I live in a part of town where there isn't much choice as far as fish. The only fish I can always depend on being available is salmon, so that's why I make shiojake quite often. In addition to the salmon, this recipe calls for rice, green onions, and yuzu (which can be substituted with lemon).
2 cups uncooked short grain rice
1/2 lb salmon fillet
2-3 cups cooking sake
4 stalks green onions
2-3 yuzu or lemons for zest
Kosher or sea salt
1. Prepare the salmon up to a day before cooking the rice by soaking in sake for 10 mins. Dry with a paper towel.
2. Salt the salmon liberally and tightly wrap in saran wrap and leave 8-12 hours in the fridge.
3. Wash the rice until water runs clear.
4. Soak the rice in water for 30 minutes. Drain and put rice in donabe.
5. Add 2 cups of rice to the donabe. Cover the donabe and cook on the stove at high heat.
6. While you wait for the donabe to start steaming and boiling, unwrap the salmon and place in the oven or toaster on the broil setting for 20 minutes.
7. When the donabe starts steaming, adjust the heat to the lowest possible setting. Let simmer for 18 minutes.
8. Meanwhile finely chop the about 2/3 of the green onions from the white base.
9. Remove salmon from oven or toaster after 20 minutes and let cool.
10. After the rice cooks for 18 minutes on lowest setting, turn heat off and let rice sit for 10 minutes.
11. Uncover the donabe and mix the rice with a shamoji (rice paddle).
12. Break up the salmon with your hands while removing bones, if present.
13. Mix in the salmon and chopped green onions into the rice.
14. Finish by zesting the yuzu or lemon over the rice.
Eating with friends is calming and healing. I also love seeing what my friends cook – it gets me thinking outside of my usual box. Thank you Mariko for the inspiration and hospitality!