Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Donabe Inari Okowa (stuffed mochi rice in fried tofu pouch)

I was in a mood for "okowa", which is a rice dish made from mochi rice (sweet rice). Instead of making typical okowa dish to serve the cooked rice straight into a bowl, I made a unique "inari" style (stuffed in fried tofu pouch). The recipe was inspired by one of a Japanese cooking magazines and I made it into my style.

And, yes, this dish was cooked with the double-lid donabe rice cooker, "Kamado-san"!

After seasoning the mochi rice and mixed with ginkgo nuts, carrot, gobo (burdock root), and chicken tender, the rice mixture was stuffed in the fried tofu pouches and the broth was poured. Then, just like cooking a regular donabe rice, "Kamado-san" was set on the medium-high heat and cooked for 15 minutes.

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After resting for 20 minutes, the dish was ready. I cut it in half to see the inside. The mochi rice was so shiny and cooked to perfection. The seasoning was very nice, too. It was such a satisfying dish and I definitely want to make it again. Here's the recipe:

Donabe Inari Okowa (Stuffed mochi rice in fried tofu pouches)

4 rectangular pieces abura-age (fried tofu pouch), blanched in boiling water and drained (make sure to squeeze out all the excess moisture)
1.5 rice-cups (270 ml) mochi rice (sweet rice), rinsed and drained
1.5 oz ginkgo nuts, shelled
1.5 oz carrot, sliced into short matchsticks
2.5 oz gobo (burdock root), thinly sliced and soaked in water for 5 minutes, then drained
2.5 oz chicken tender, coarsely minced

2 tablespoons sake
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

1.5 cups dashi stock
2 tablespoons sake
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons light color soy sauce ("usukuchi shoyu")
1 tablespoon raw brown sugar

1. Cut the blanched abura-age in half and carefully open each piece to make a pouch. Set aside.
2. In a bowl, combine the rice, ginkgo nuts, carrot, gobo, chicken, and the ingredients for the seasoning. Mix well.
3. Divide the mixture into 8 and stuff into tofu pouches. Use a toothpick to secure a tight seal of each pouch.
4. Arrange the stuffed abura-age in Kamado-san in one layer.
5. Combine the ingredients for the broth and add to Kamado-san.
6. Place both lids on "Kamado-san", so that the holes of the lids are positioned perpendicular to each other.
7. 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.)
8. Turn off the heat and let it stand for 20 minutes.

Enjoy them warm or at a room temperature.

Happy donabe life.