Rice Cooked with Autumn Season Vegetables Gives Off Rich Flavors

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Takikomi gohan cooked with mushrooms and sweet potatoes

As autumn vegetables begin appearing in stores, cooking expert Shimpei Kurihara has recommended a dish of rice cooked with mushrooms and sweet potatoes. The rich flavor of the mushrooms and the sweetness of the sweet potatoes stand out in this dish.

Kurihara said he often prepares “takikomi gohan,” or rice cooked with meat, seafood or savory vegetables at home during this time of the year. “Autumn is when there is an abundance of ingredients. Takikomi rice is the best way to enjoy them,” he said.

For this dish, he chose to use maitake and shimeji mushrooms, which have a savory aroma. He also added sweet potatoes that gain sweetness when cooked.

Kurihara said that the key to making takikomi rice with mushrooms is the amount of water used when cooking. “The mushrooms release water, so if you cook the rice and mushrooms with the usual amount of water, the rice tends to get soggy,” he said. “The amount of water is adjusted depending on the number of ingredients added.”

The basic amount of water needed to cook 2 cups of white rice is 360 cc. Mushrooms also contain water, so to take this into account, you should subtract 30 cc from this amount

Put all of the seasonings into a measuring cup and add the bonito broth later so it comes to a total of 330 cc. Place the rice in the rice cooker, sprinkle the mushrooms over the rice, then pour the broth over the rice and cook.

For the sweet potatoes, it is important to cut them into 2 centimeter cubes and boil them separately. “If the sweet potatoes are cooked together with rice in a rice cooker, they will be overcooked and become soft inside. By cutting them into larger pieces and boiling them separately, the outside will be soft and the inside will keep its chewy texture,” Kurihara said.

To cook the sweet potatoes, put them in a pot along with 200 cc of water, sugar, salt and other seasonings, and boil over a medium heat. The sweetness of the potatoes is brought out by adding salt.

When the rice is cooked, add the sweet potatoes and mix briefly.

The light color of the rice and the bright yellow texture of the sweet potato make the dish look very appetizing. The flavor of the mushrooms and the sweetness of the sweet potatoes spread in the mouth. You can sense the strong taste of both the mushrooms and the sweet potatoes, and the different textures make the dish tasty and enjoyable.

Takikomi gohan

Ingredients (Serves 3 to 4)

  • 2 cups rice
  • 100 grams shimeji mushrooms
  • 100 grams maitake mushrooms
  • 250 grams sweet potatoes
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sake
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Appropriate amount of bonito broth
  • Appropriate amount of black sesame seeds

  • Directions:

    1. Rinse the rice and drain in a colander. Trim the shimeji mushrooms and maitake mushrooms and break into small pieces.

    2. Add the light soy sauce, mirin, half of the sake and 1/3 teaspoon of salt into a measuring cup, then fill the cup to 330 cc with bonito broth.

    3. Put the rice into a rice cooker and top with the mushrooms. Pour the contents of the measuring cup over the rice. Cook on regular mode.

    4. Peel the sweet potatoes, cut them into 2-centimeter cubes, and rinse in cold water. Place them into a small saucepan. Add 200 cc of water, 1 tablespoon of sugar, the remaining sake and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook over medium heat. Simmer until all the water is absorbed, then remove from heat.

    5. When the rice is cooked, add the sweet potatoes and stir briefly to combine. Serve in a bowl and sprinkle with black sesame seeds.