Kinoko-gohan is one of my autumn favorites. I have used a frying pan with a lid to cook the rice since I often get asked for Japanese recipes from friends who don’t have a Japanese rice cooker.
My basic ingredients are mushrooms and rice. I have selected three mushrooms: shiitake, shimeji and maitake. They are commonly available in markets outside Japan. However, you can substitute them with any mushroom you like and can find in your local market.
For this recipe, I use 2 tbsps of Japanese rice wine (sake). If you can’t get sake, you can substitute it with a dry white wine. I also use 2 tbsp of mirin, which is similar to sake, but sweet. You can substitute mirin by adding a bit of sugar to dry white wine or sherry.
Before I start, let me tell you more about my choice of mushrooms.
Shiitake is perhaps the most popular type of mushroom in Japan. Soft, with a meaty, chewy texture. The flavor is rich with earthy, pine, and smoky overtones.
Shimeji is firm with a slightly crunchy texture and somewhat nutty flavor. Shimeji is an excellent choice for all types of stir-fries, soups, stews, and any seafood.
Maitake is tender, with a semi-firm body with a luscious flavor which ranges from fruity to earthy and slightly spicy. Maitakes are curious looking mushrooms, but they are quite a treat.
Ingredients (Serves 4~6)
- Rice (short grain): 400 ml (use your measuring cup)
- Water: 450 ml
- Mushrooms: 250 grams (shiitake 50 grams, maitake and shimeji 100 grams each)
- Garlic: 1 clove
- Fresh ginger: A chunk (to taste)
- Olive oil: 1~2 tablespoons
- Soy sauce: 2 tablespoons
- Mirin: 2 tablespoons
- Sake: 2 tablespoons
- Salt: A pinch
- Rinse rice and drain well. Leave it for at least 10 minutes. Then, soak in plenty of water for at least 30 minutes (this is important!)
- Mix water, soy sauce, mirin and sake in a jar.
- Separate or slice the mushrooms into small pieces.
- Mince garlic, and slice ginger very thin.
- In a frying pan, put olive oil, garlic, ginger, and mushroom mix and then turn the heat on. Stir over medium heat and sprinkle a pinch of salt. Sauté mushrooms mix until wilted.
- Drain rice well and add it to the mushroom mixture. Sauté over medium-low heat until rice becomes semi-transparent.
- Add the liquid mixture (water, soy sauce, sake, and mirin) into the pan.
- Cover the frying pan with a lid. Simmer over low to medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Do not open the lid!
- Turn heat off and wait for 5-10 minutes (with the lid still closed).
I usually add fresh Japanese parsley (mistuba) as a topping. You can also use a sprinkle of green onions or similar.
If you can get powdered kombu or bonito, add a dash to the mixture of water, soy sauce and mirin. Your kinoko-gohan will taste more vibrant.