Six of the best rice bowl recipes


Powered by article titled “Six of the best rice bowl recipes” was written by Tim Anderson, for The Guardian on Thursday 8th February 2018 14.30 Asia/Kolkata

For each recipe, you need 400g Japanese white rice, cooked by the absorption method: rinse the rice until the water runs clear, put in a saucepan with 520ml water, then cover with a lid and bring to a boil on a high heat. Listen to check that it’s boiling – do not remove the lid – then reduce the heat to low and simmer for five minutes, until the water has been absorbed. Remove the pan from the heat and let sit, still covered, for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes is up, gently stir up the rice and serve with your chosen recipe.

Beef, onion and sweet soy (main picture)

Gyudon – a humble bowl of beef on rice – is a bit like Japan’s answer to a burger. Cooking off the onions releases an irresistible “hotdog stand” aroma, so it’s comforting even before you tuck in. Sweet and beefy and savoury and satisfying.

Prep 30 min
Cook 15 min
Serves 4

500g skirt, hanger or flank steak (or any other cheap and fairly lean cut)
2 tbsp oil
4 small onions, peeled and thinly sliced
2cm piece ginger, peeled and finely julienned
100ml soy sauce
100ml mirin
50g dark brown sugar
150ml beef stock
2 spring onions, sliced
40-50g red pickled ginger
Toasted sesame seeds

Put the beef in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm up, then cut against the grain into very thin strips.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium flame, then add the onions and sweat, stirring, until they are soft and brown, about 10 minutes. Add the ginger and cook for a few minutes, to soften.

Add the soy, mirin, sugar and stock, and cook until the sauce has reduced to a syrupy consistency – about 10 minutes. Stir the beef through the sauce, and cook together for just a few more minutes, until the beef is no longer pink.

Scoop the rice into deep bowls, top with the beef mixture, and garnish with spring onions, pickled ginger and sesame seeds.

Chicken and egg

This comforting recipe has a name (oyakodon) that is kind of cute and kind of disturbing if you translate it directly: “parent-and-child” rice bowl. Which, I suppose, is a little more poetic than chicken and egg. Whatever you call it, it’s very delicious. This doesn’t traditionally contain butter or mushrooms, but I find the combination of butter, eggs, mushrooms and sweet soy irresistible.

Prep 10 min
Cook 20 min
Serves 4

Tim Anderson’s oyakodon (chicken and egg) rice bowl recipe.
Tim Anderson’s oyakodon (chicken and egg) rice bowl recipe. Photograph: Jonathan West for the Guardian

80g butter
2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
4 boned and skinned chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
100g shiitake mushrooms, destemmed and thinly sliced
200ml chicken stock
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp sugar
8 eggs
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 pinch chilli powder

Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat, then add the onions and cook until they soften and brown – about 10 minutes.

Add the chicken and mushrooms, and cook for another five to 10 minutes, until these brown as well.

Pour in the stock, soy, mirin and sugar, and cook for 10 minutes, or until the liquid reduces and coats the chicken.

Lower the heat and crack in the eggs. Break the yolks and stir gently. When cooked to a semi-scrambled consistency, take off the heat.

Scoop the rice into deep bowls, top with the chicken and egg mixture, and garnish with spring onions and chilli powder.

Salmon poké

Poké, arguably the state dish of Hawaii, is having a moment in the UK. Although it isn’t a Japanese preparation, the combination of raw fish, soy sauce and sesame oil will please any fans of sushi or sashimi.

Prep 15 min
Cook 10 min
Serves 4

Tim Anderson’s salmon poké is not unlike sushi.
Tim Anderson’s salmon poké is not unlike sushi. Photograph: Jonathan West for the Guardian

4 limes, zested and juiced
1 small red chilli, thinly sliced
4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 small onion, peeled and diced
500-600g very fresh boneless salmon
1 ripe avocado
½ cucumber
50g samphire (optional)
100g cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp wakame (or similar dried seaweed), rehydrated
40g macadamia nuts, toasted and roughly chopped
Toasted sesame seeds
2 spring onions, finely sliced

Make the dressing: stir together the lime juice and zest, chilli, soy, sesame oil, sugar and vinegar.

Toss the diced onion with a big pinch of salt and leave to sit while you get on with everything else.

Cut the salmon into 2.5cm cubes, and cut the avocado and cucumber into 1cm cubes. Break the samphire (if using) into bite-sized pieces, discarding any woody bits.

Rinse the salted onion thoroughly under cold water, then mix with the salmon, vegetables, seaweed and dressing.

You can serve it up immediately but, if you have the time, it’s better if left to marinate for at least an hour. To serve, scoop the rice into dishes and top with the salmon mixture. Garnish with the macadamia nuts, sesame seeds and spring onions.

Mapo tofu

Lately I’ve been obsessed with this dish. It’s a Sichuan classic that marries the silky-soft blandness of tofu with bold, spiky hot-and-numbing Sichuan flavours. Although it is a tofu dish, it isn’t actually vegetarian because of the inclusion of pork mince for flavour and texture, but you can use mushrooms instead and it’s still pretty good.

Prep 10 min
Cook 15 min
Serves 4

Tim Anderson’s mapo tofu is a Sichuan classic.
Tim Anderson’s mapo tofu is a Sichuan classic. Photograph: Jonathan West for the Guardian

700g firm or extra-firm silken tofu, cut into 2.5cm cubes
2 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
2 tbsp oil
2 anchovy fillets (optional)
1 finger or bird’s eye chilli (or more, to taste), finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
10g ginger (peeled weight), finely shredded
300g pork mince (or 400g shiitake mushrooms, destemmed and diced)
1 tbsp preserved black beans
80g doubanjiang or gochujang paste (available from many Asian and online supermarkets)
1½ tbsp sugar
500ml chicken or vegetable stock
1½ tbsp corn flour, mixed with a little water
Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce, to taste
1 handful coriander leaves, roughly torn
Toasted sesame seeds

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a simmer, carefully drop in the tofu (it’s very delicate), poach for 10 minutes, then gently lift out with a slotted spoon.

Toast the Sichuan peppercorns in a dry frying pan until aromatic, leave to cool, then grind to a coarse powder and set aside.

Heat the oil in the same pan, add the anchovy (if using) and chilli, and fry for two or three minutes.

Add the garlic, ginger and pork (or mushrooms), and fry until the pork is browned, then add the black beans, gochujang (or doubanjiang)paste, sugar and Sichuan pepper and cook for a few minutes, stirring often, so the flavours meld.

Add the stock, bring to a boil, then stir in some of the corn flour mix. Let the sauce boil and thicken (add more corn flour if you want it thicker). Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with Worcestershire or soy, then gently stir in the tofu to coat.

To serve, scoop the rice into deep bowls, top with the tofu mixture and garnish with coriander and sesame seeds.

Japanese curry gratin

This obscure dish of Japanese curry topped with molten cheese is a speciality of the port city of Mojiko, in the south of the country. Nobody really knows how it became so ubiquitous there, but it’s generally believed that one restaurant invented it, and dozens of others simply copied it after seeing how popular it was.

Prep 10 min
Cook 50 min
Serves 4

Tim Anderson’s Japanese curry gratin.
Odd but delicious: Tim Anderson’s Japanese curry gratin. Photograph: Jonathan West for the Guardian

3-4 carrots, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
½ cauliflower, broken into bite-sized pieces
500g potatoes, peeled and cut into 2.5cm cubes
4 tbsp oil, plus extra to coat the vegetables
250g onion, diced
15g ginger (peeled weight), minced
1 green chilli, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
½ green apple, peeled and grated
½ banana, roughly chopped
30g mild madras curry powder
2 tbsp garam masala
750ml chicken stock
60g butter
6 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp soy sauce
100g cheddar, grated

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Toss the carrots, cauliflower and potatoes in oil and salt, then roast in a casserole for 40 minutes, until soft and brown. Then lift out of the dish and set aside.

Heat four tablespoons of oil in a deep saucepan, add the onion, ginger and chilli, and fry until the onions are soft and brown. Add the garlic and cook until it softens, then add the tomatoes, apple and banana, and cook until soft.

Add the spices and cook for a few minutes, stirring all the time, until they turn aromatic. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Boil for about 10 minutes, for the flavours to come together, then transfer to a blender and processuntil smooth.

In another pan, melt the butter, add the flour and stir until the mixture turns amber in colour. Add the curry sauce and whisk to thicken. Add the ketchup and soy sauce, taste, and adjust the seasoning with more salt, as needed.

Scoop the rice into the casserole dish, top with the roasted veg, then the sauce and finally the cheese. Put under a high grill until the cheese melts and starts to brown.

Sweet miso-grilled aubergine

Nasu dengaku don is one of the most popular of all Japanese dishes. The fudgy texture and earthy flavour of the aubergine is a perfect vehicle for the moreish dengaku (sweet miso) sauce. The pine nuts and pomegranate seeds are not traditional, but they add a lovely, textural contrast to the nutty-sweet flavour of the aubergine.

Prep 10 min
Cook 20 min
Serves 4

Tim Anderson’s sweet miso-grilled aubergine.
Tim Anderson’s sweet miso-grilled aubergine. Photograph: Jonathan West for the Guardian

4 aubergines (or 2 if they’re really big)
Oil, for shallow frying
150g miso (white or red are both OK, but avoid anything very dark)
3 tbsp mirin
3 tbsp sugar
1 ½ tbsp water
¾ tsp vinegar
30g pine nuts, toasted
40g pomegranate seeds

Cut the aubergines in half lengthways and score the flesh in a diamond pattern about 0.5cm deep.

Pour enough oil into a deep frying pan to come 1cm up the sides, and heat over a medium flame. Add the aubergines and cook on both sides until the flesh has browned and softened and the skin goes glossy and brittle. Carefully lift out and drain on a plate lined with kitchen towel.

Stir together the miso, mirin, sugar, water and vinegar, then spoon this over the scored side of each aubergine half. Put the dressed aubergines under a hot grill for five to 10 minutes, until bubbly and caramelised, then cut into bite-size pieces. Scoop the rice into bowls, top with the aubergines, and garnish with the pine nuts and pomegranate seeds.

  • Tim Anderson is chef/owner of Nanban in Brixton, London SW2. He is a former winner of MasterChef and the author of Japaneasy (Hardie Grant, £20). Get it for £17 at the Guardian Bookshop,
  • Food styling: Ellie Mulligan. Prop styling: Anna Wilkins. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Six of the best rice bowl recipes | NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE

Rajesh Ahuja

I am a veteran journalist based in Chandigarh India.I joined the profession in June 1982 and worked as a Staff Reporter with the National Herald at Delhi till June 1986. I joined The Hindu at Delhi in 1986 as a Staff Reporter and was promoted as Special Correspondent in 1993 and transferred to Chandigarh. I left The Hindu in September 2012 and launched my own newspaper ventures including this news portal and a weekly newspaper NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE (currently temporarily suspended).