Plain cooked Japanese rice is delicious on its own. But seasoned rice with Japanese flavour is super delicious and addictive. Learn the Japanese way to season rice with dashi, soy sauce, sake, mirin, and sugar. Easy one-pot cooking makes this seasoned rice recipe with Japanese flavour a new weeknight favourite!
What is this Seasoned Rice Dish Called in Japanese?
This Seasoned rice dish is called “Takikomi Gohan” or also known as “Gomoku Gohan” in Japanese. Takikomi translates to seasoned and cooked, Gohan is cooked rice. It is seasoned with Japanese flavours such as Dashi, soy sauce, mirin, sake and sugar with vegetables and proteins.
What Do I Need?
- Short grain Japonica rice such as “ Koshihikari “. Read more about the types of rice in How to Cook Rice Japanese way post.
- Protein source – chicken, a-ge(deep fried tofu), pork, beef etc.
- Vegetables – carrots, shiitake mushrooms, konnyaku, snow peas etc.
What to Season Japanese Rice with?
- Dashi – I used Awase dashi, but you can also use Katsuo (Bonito) dashi, Kombu Dashi and Niboshi Dashi.
- Soy sauce
How to Cook Seasoned Rice the Japanese way?
- Rice Cooker – If you have a rice cooker add all ingredients including seasonings, and press the cook button.
- Cast iron pot – I used STAUB Cast Iron 1.5-qt Graphite Grey Petite French Oven. The same as using a rice cooker, place all ingredients in a cast-iron pot over medium heat. Place a lid on and heat to boiling. Once it boils, turn the heat down to medium and cook a further 15 min. Never open the lid. After 15 minutes, leave it for 10 minutes to steam cook without opening the lid.
- Clay pot – You can also cook it with a clay pot in the same way as using a cast iron pot.
Preparation is the Key to Successful Seasoned Rice
Rice – Wash rice and let it soak for 30 minutes (1 hour in winter) in order for the rice to absorb the water fully. We do this because we are going to add seasonings. The seasonings prevent the rice from absorbing water sufficiently which in turn keeps the rice from cooking to the core.
A-ge – Deep fried tofu is a little oily when it is cooked as it is, and it also has an acrid taste too. So we need to prepare the a-ge by pouring boiling hot water over it.
Konnyaku – As I explained in the Konnyaku Steak recipe post, Konnyaku has a fishy odour. To remove the fishy smell, cook Konnyaku piece in boiling water for a few minutes. Read more about Konnyaku also known as Konjac by clicking the link.
Tips to Make Takikomi Gohan Deliciously
- Wash the rice 30 min prior and let it soak in water for at least 30 minutes.
- Water and rice ratio is 1:1 which is the same as cooking plain white rice. Except the liquid in this recipe is made of water and seasonings (soy sauce, sake and mirin) So if using two cups of rice then the water and the seasoning should together equal 2 cups)
- Add the seasonings just before you start to cook the rice.
- After turning the heat off, leave the lid on to steam cook.
- After steam cooking, remove the lid and turn the rice and ingredients to mix so that they will spread evenly. It also allows any excess moisture to evaporate to prevent making the rice soggy.
Okoge: Blackened bottom part
Because of the seasonings, the rice may have blackened at the bottom of the rice cooker, especially when you cook with the cast iron or clay pot. In my humble opinion, it is not failing. Actually the soy sauce and other seasonings which cause the blackened bottom is the best part! When I was a young child back in Japan, we often fought for that part with my siblings.
What to serve with?
A: I would suggest making either Onigiri or Yakimeshi Fried Rice with the leftovers. It is already seasoned so it makes delicious fried rice. I usually make scrambled egg and set aside. Using same frying pan fry the seasoned rice leftovers. Then add the scrambled egg and toss them all together. Maybe a pinch of salt to taste too. Or you can divide it into one portion size and freeze individually. It will last for a month in the freezer.
A: You can substitute sake with dry sherry or Chinese wine. Mirin can be substituted with sherry and sugar or honey. Read more about this in my Japanese food substitution post.
A: You can use any pot you have, just cast iron has very good heat distribution and cooks rice evenly. And a Rice cooker is the easiest, because you just add everything in it and the rice cooker will do the rest for you. You can also use an instant pot too.
Seasoned Rice with Japanese Flavour (Takikomi Gohan)
- 400g/14oz short grain white rice (2cups) *1
- 150g/5oz g Chicken meat (2 chicken tenders strips) *2
- 30g/1oz g carrot (1/4 cup chopped carrot)
- 1 sheet deep fried tofu (It is also called "Aburaage" *3
- 1/4 piece Konnyaku (konjac) *3
- 410ml/14floz Dashi stock (1 & 2/3 cups + 2 tsp)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbs soy sauce *4
- 2 tbs sake *4
- 2 tbs mirin *4
- 1 tbs sugar
- 30 min prior to cooking, wash the rice a few times and let the rice soak in water for at least 30 minutes. *5
- Meanwhile, cut the chicken into about 1 cm sized dice, and slice the carrot, deep fried tofu, and konnyaku. *6
- Set the chopped ingredients aside.
- Drain the rice and place it in the rice cooker.
- Add all the seasonings in a measuring cup and add water to make a total of 2 cups (that is, the water and the seasoning should together equal 2 cups) and pour onto the rice in the rice cooker. *7
- Place the rice cooker over high heat. When it boils, turn the heat down to low-medium with the lid on. From this point forward, do not open the lid and cook a further 15-20 minutes.
- After 15-20 minutes, turn the heat off and let it stand for further 10 minutes without opening the lid to steam cook.
- Open the lid and turn the rice and ingredients to spread evenly and also let the excess moisture evaporate.
- Serve the seasoned rice in a rice bowl.
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