Monday, October 25, 2010

Donabe Matsutake Gohan (Matsutake mushroom rice)


Since my last purchase of this year's American matsutake, I'm going crazy about it and buy these super-seasonal mushrooms almost every day. This year has an unusually huge harvest and the price is crazy cheap. At Nijiya Market, they were only $15/ pound (later, they increased the price to $20/ pound, but still insanely cheap). I also learned that this year, people are enjoying an abundant crop of matsutake this year, too. The retail price of domestic matsutake Japan this year can go between $100 - $400/ pound depending on the grades, the lower end of which is 1/10 of regular years! I hope I can eat a lot of matsutake when I go back to Japan next week. Japanese matsutake boasts the most premium quality and has the bigger aroma (very earthy and cedar-like) compared to matsutake from other countries.

This evening, I made Matsutake Gohan (matsutake mushroom rice) with the double-lid donabe rice cooker, "Kamado-san". Matsutake Gohan is probably the most famous matsutake dish for Japanese people and our favorite. I sliced more than 1/4 pound of matsutake for this decadent!

Making the dish is very easy. Also, what you want to be careful about (when cooking any matsutake dishes) is not to play too much with it. You don't want add the heavy seasoning or mix with too many ingredients. It's because we want to smell/taste the natural earthiness of Matsutake itself without masking it with other flavors too much. So, the only other ingredient (besides seasoning) I used for the dish is thinly sliced blanched abura-age (fried tofu pouch) for its texture and gentle flavor. When the rice was ready, the aroma was indescribably wonderful.

I would've also sprinkled some yuzu zest, but I didn't find a good yuzu at a market. So, I simply topped the rice with some chopped mitsuba herbs. The dish totally hit my heart and soul. The "okoge" crust was perfect, too. Here's the recipe.

Matsutake Gohan

1/4 pound matsutake mushrooms, cleaned (*) and thinly sliced
*To clean matsutake, use a damp paper towel to wipe off the dust. Shave off the very thin layer of the hard bottom part.
1 piece rectangular abura-age (fried tofu pouch), blanched, squeezed out excess moisture, and thinly sliced
2 rice-cups (360 ml) short grain rice
2 tablespoons sake
2 tablespoons light color soy sauce ("usukuchi shoyu")
1.5 teaspoon mirin
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
320 ml dashi stock

some chopped mitsuba herbs
some yuzu zest, if available

1. Rinse and drain the rice.
2. Combine the rice, sake, soy sauce, mirin, salt, and dashi stock in "Kamado-san". Let stand for 20 minutes. Cover the rice with the sliced abura-age and matsutake.
3. Place both lids on "Kamado-san", so that the holes of the lids are positioned perpendicular to each other.
4. Set "Kamado-san" on the gas stove and turn the heat to medium-high (medium-heat for the professional use high calorie burner). Cook for 12-15 minutes. (Or, cook until 2-3 minutes after the steam starts puffing out of the top lid.)
5. Turn off the heat and let it stand for 20 minutes.
6. Toss the ingredients with a spatula. Serve the rice mixture into individual bowls and top each with chopped mitsuba and yuzu zest.

I also posted the recipe on toiro's website.
Happy donabe life.