Last night, I made donabe, also known as Japanese claypot rice. I’ve never cooked rice in a claypot before, so I was wary of doing it, but it was pretty easy and came out well. Claypot rice is such a good one-meal dish because you get your carbs, protein, and veggies all in one go without having a ton of dishes to do.
For the claypot rice (for either 4 people, or 2 people plus leftovers for lunch for both people), I used:
- 1/2 cup of mixed grains/beans from some package I got at the Japanese market
- 2 1/2 cups of white rice.
- 3 cups of water
- 1 tbs soy sauce
- 1 strip of kombu
- 1 tbs Chinese cooking wine (or sake)
- a cup of chopped up fried tofu
- a handful of chopped up Japanese mushrooms
- About 2 cups of chopped greens — I used some Japanese green for this.
Other than the rice, water, soy sauce, and sake, the topping is pretty up to your preference. Next time, I think I’ll use shiitake to add more savory flavor to the rice.
I rinsed and drained the rice, then soaked it with the measured amount of water, sake, soy sauce, and kombu for 30 minutes. During those 30 minutes, I roughly chopped everything else. After the soaking period, I put the claypot on the stove, put all the toppings on top, and turned the heat onto medium-low for about 10 minutes, then to medium-high until steam started coming out. Once steam started coming, I turned it to medium-low again for about 7 minutes, never opening the top (don’t want the steam to escape!). After 7 minutes, I turned the heat completely off and just left the pot there to steam for 20 minutes with the cover on.
I wasn’t sure if this was actually going to work, but at the end of 20 minutes, when I took the cover off, I was greeted with the pleasant fragrance of cooked rice! I mixed everything on top together with the rice and was thrilled to see there was even a nice brown rice crust on the bottom. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as crunchy as I had hoped.
The end result was still good nonetheless. While the rice was steaming, I also made a quick chawanmushi, which is basically a savory steamed egg custard.
The ingredients for chawanmushi (feeds 2 people):
- 4 small eggs or 3 regular sized ones
- 1/2 the amount of veggie broth as eggs. So if you have 2 cups of eggs, you just need 1 cup of broth.
- a couple leaves of the raw greens from the donabe above. Or you could use green onion.
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp mirin
- 1 tsp cooking wine/sake
Beat all the ingredients together and then pour into small ramekins. The ramekins should be about 2/3 full. Place into a steamer and steam for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, poke a toothpick through the middle. It shouldn’t be too yolky in the middle.
Other than the chawanmushi, the dinner was completely vegan. But for meat-eaters, I could see Chinese bacon or sausage adding a lot of flavor for the donabe. For the next day’s lunch, I had leftover donabe with natto and bonito flakes mixed in. Delicious.