I went to a restaurant not long ago - Machiya - in London's West End. One of the items on Machiya's menu was Kinokodon, which translates into English as a Mushroom Rice Bowl. One of my co-diners ordered it and said after a few mouthfuls, "this could be so much better." Of course, that planted a little seed in my brain and here is the result.
Kinokodon makes a great vegetarian / vegan option (and it's a gimme if you happen, like me, to be a mushroom lover.). It's quick and simple to make and has only a few ingredients. My recipe uses three different kinds of mushrooms: shiitake, king oysters and large buttons but any mushrooms will work in this dish although I happen to like shiitake because they have a slightly strong flavor than buttons and oysters. Together with the mushrooms, I use some sliced spring onion and a few slices of fresh chilli pepper. The spring onions give some crunch and flavour and the chilli pepper adds a little heat depending on how much chilli you use to throw in. Oh, and of course, you'll need a couple of servings of freshly cooked rice. (This dish is also a greatway to use up some leftover rice too!)
The key to this dish is how to flavour it as the mushrooms themselves don't have a lot of flavour. My solution is to use a combination of sugar, soy sauce and mirin to give the mushrooms and delicious sweet / umami flavour. I add a tbsp of potato starch to thicken the sauce as the mushrooms will give up a lot of liquid when yout stir fry them in the next stage.
The cooking takes no time at all. Just heat a tbsp of sesame oil in a medium pnd and pile in the mushrooms. Stir frying for 4 - 5 minutes will shrink the mushrooms as they surrender their water content. At this stage, you simply pour in the sauce and stir everything together for around 30 seconds and the mushrooms are ready.
Now, it is simply a matter of assembling your dish and you are ready to serve. Pile your fresh rice into serving bowls and ladle the mushrooms over the rice. Sprinkle with a generous garnish of spring onions and a few slices of chilli..or more if you like more heat. As I said above, if you like mushrooms, you are going to like this dish - it's ready in a jiffy and a tasty little treat for lunch or supper. What more can I say?
If this is something you like the sound of, you can find the Youtube tutorial by clicking Kinoko Donburi or by scrolling to the bottom of the page. The written recipe is just below.
Happy cooking! Kurumi XXXX.
(makes 2 servings)
150g / 5 oz button mushrooms
100g / 3.5 oz fresh shiitake mushrooms
130g / 4.5 ozking oyster or oyster mushrooms
2 spring onions, rinsed
a little chilli
for the sauce:
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp mirin
1tsp potato flour
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 portions of cooked rice
* you can use any varieties of mushroom for this recipe
* I used a piece of fresh chilli pepper but you can use fried chilli or chilli powder if you wish
* if you need a “how to” see my recipe on how to cook Japanese rice in a saucepan
clean the mushrooms, trim the bottoms and slice into 1cm / 1/2 in pieces
thinly slice the spring onion diagonally and slice some chilli for your topping
combine the sugar, soy sauce, mirin & potato flour in a bowl and stir well
heat the sesame oil in a frying pan. add all the mushrooms and stir fry for 4-5 minutes
when the juice from the mushrooms begins to ooze out, stir the sauce once more and then add to the frying pan
stir again for around 30 seconds until the sauce and mushroom juice thickens a little
pile the cooked rice into serving bowls. ladle over the mushrooms before sprinkling the spring onion & some chilli on top