Takikomi Gohan (mixed rice) is one of those comfort foods that fills the kitchen with an earthy aroma. I love cooking this in the winter and coming home to the flavors of shiitake mushrooms and hijiki. I also throw in mushrooms that happen to be in season for an extra layer of flavor. Matsutake mushrooms would do wonders for this recipe. But when you aren't lucky enough to catch the season, shimeji or maitake mushrooms would also harmonize with all these ingredients. Note that if you are using dried mushrooms, you'll need to reconstitute them in water for 8-10 hours before cooking, so do this a day before you plan to cook this recipe!
You can use regular soy sauce for this recipe, but I highly recommend using the Haku Matsutake Shoyu for its aromatics and potent salty flavor. And since it's a white shoyu, it will keep the rice looking relatively light in color.
Makes 6 servings
2 cups (uncooked) white rice
4 dried shiitake mushrooms
2 tbsp dried hijiki
1/2 cup carrots, julienned
2 oz maitake, shimeji, enoki, or matsutake mushrooms
5 tbsp Haku Matsutake Shoyu
3 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp sake
1-1/2 cups dashi, or 1-1/2 cups of water from reconstituting dried shiitake
Dash of Umami Salt
1. Reconstitute dried shiitake mushrooms. It'll take about 10 hours of soaking in water. Before soaking, rinse them off with some cold water. Submerge them in a resealable container with water.
Place lid on top and put in the refrigerator for 8-10 hours, or overnight. Here is a photo of the shiitake after they have been reconstituting for 10 hours.
2. Once the shiitake mushrooms are ready, drain them and remove the stems. Slice caps into thin slices.
3. Here is what dried hijiki looks like.
To reconstitute the hijiki, boil around 2 cups of water. Turn the heat off and place the dried hijiki in the water for about 10 minutes. Drain.
5. Julienne the carrots and cut the maitake, shimeji, enoki, or matsutake mushrooms into bite-sized pieces.
6. Wash the rice and place in the rice cooker.
7. Add the shoyu, mirin, and sake on top of the rice. With the dashi or leftover water from reconstituting the dried shiitake, fill up to the marker for "2 cups" on your rice cooker (or 1-1/2 cups of either dashi or shiitake water, if you don't have the marker). Mix the rice and liquids together.
8. Place the shiitake, hijiki, mushrooms, and carrots on top of the rice. DO NOT MIX.
I encourage you to add your own flair and add different toppings like burdock root or diced lotus root. I added a handful of peeled gingko nuts here.
9. Close the rice cooker and steam.
10. Once the rice has steamed, let sit for at least 10 minutes.
11. Open the steamer and mix well. If you need more flavor, sprinkle a dash of Umami Salt and mix.
Takikomi Gohan is best enjoyed fresh, but it reheats really well. It's also very good at room temperature, so it's ideal for enjoying at the office. This dish will make your home smell like a cozy winter den.